Get your US Student Visa as an International Student

Studying in the US requires a foreign international student to be in possession of a student visa. This process requires the student to prepare all the requirements well in advance of time as it is quite a lengthy process that could take as long as three to five months. The process is broken down into 5 stages that the foreign students must complete before starting their studies.

Step 1

Requires them to register with an SEVP-approved institution that is offering the students the courses that they desire.  This means that the institution and the program selected is fully accredited by the United States government’s Student and Exchange Visitor Program, also is called SEVP. The government of the United States therefore only allow SEVP approved colleges and universities to enroll their students in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) and provide them with the required documents needed to complete the application for a student visa.

Once enrolled, the student will receive a SEVIS document, Form I-20 for F or M Visa. DS-2019 for J1 Visa.

Step 2

The payment stage.It is typically completed in 3 days before submission of the US visa application. To make the payment, a form must be completed either online or in a paper format. Students must fill details exactly as they appear on the I-20 or DS-2019 forms to avoid delays or rejections.The current fee for I-901 is $200 and J1 visa is $180 for the J1 visa. The exception is that an additional fee of $35.00 is payable by J1 visa holders working as camp counselors and summer workers

Step 3

International students must make an appointment with a US consulate or embassy in their home country to apply for the US student visa. The visa can be issued up to 120 days before the student plan to enter the USA.

In all cases, you will need to complete the DS-160 or online application form. The student must select location at which they will apply and have all documentation on hand are:

  • Name
  • Date of birth
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Passport details
  • Details of travel and travel companions, previous US travel, the point of contact in the US, family, work, and education.
  • Security, background and medical health information

Step 4

Paying the visa application fee or machine-readable visa fee, MRV fee, in one of the 3 acceptable ways. This fee is non-refundable and cannot be transferred to another student.

The payment can be completed in 3 different ways:

  • In person. Create a user account online, complete all the details and print the confirmation page. Attach your deposit slip and interview appointment confirmation and hand to approved bank.
  • By Phone. Create a user account online; complete all details up to payment page. Call the given number and follow the instructions in the card. The voice activated system will provide a fee confirmation number which must be retained.
  • Online payment. Create a user account online; complete all details up to payment page. Pay via electronic transfer or debit/credit card. Download and print the payment receipt.

The final Step

of the process is to schedule and attend the US student visa interview at the embassy or consulate. The interview can be scheduled either online or by phone. To arrange the interview, the international student must quote their MRV fee number and be interviewed by a consular officer. The barcode will identify the students DS-160 information on record.

Visa interview documents required:

  • Passport. It must be valid for at least six months beyond your period of stay in the US
  • Signed SEVIS Form I-20 / DS-2019 and Form DS-7002
  • SEVIS fee receipt
  • DS-160 application confirmation page, barcode and application ID number
  • MRV fee payment confirmation receipt
  • Copy of visa interview appointment letter
  • 1-2 photographs in the specified format
  • Transcripts and diplomas
  • Scores such as TOEFL, LSAT, GRE, GMAT.
  • Financial evidence showing sufficient funds to cover your tuition, travel and living expenses
  • A copy of birth certificate.
  • Visa

The student must be on time during the time of the interview as only applicants with a scheduled appointment will be admitted inside the US embassy or consulate. The consular officer will determine whether the international student is qualified to receive a student visa in the appropriate category. During the interview ink-free, digital fingerprint scans will be taken.

There is no guarantee that a visa will be issued and students are advised not to make travel arrangements before receiving their visa.

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