Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Student Visas

Student Applicants (for F-1 and M-1 visas) - Overview

If you are going to the U.S. primarily for tourism, but want to take a short course of study of less than 18 hours per week, you may be able to do so on a visitor visa. You should inquire at the appropriate U.S. Embassy or Consulate. If your course of study is more than 18 hours a week, you will need a student visa. Please read this information for general information on how to apply for an F1 or M1 student visa. For additional student related information, visit the created by the Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs to learn about educational opportunities for undergraduate and graduate study, opportunities for scholars, financial aid, testing, admissions, and much more.

In most countries, first time student visa applicants are required to appear for an in-person interview. However, each embassy and consulate sets its own interview policies and procedures regarding student visas. Students should consult Embassy web sites or call for specific application instructions.

Keep in mind that June, July, and August are the busiest months in most consular sections, and interview appointments are the most difficult to get during that period. Students need to plan ahead to avoid having to make repeat visits to the Embassy. To the extent possible, students should bring the documents suggested below, as well as any other documents that might help establish their ties to the local community.


Types of Student Visas

There are three types of student visas. For visa application instructions, forms, and more, select below.


Why Study in the U.S.?

"I would like to go to the U.S. for further education because there I would get a global exposure in my chosen field. In my opinion, the quality of education provided by the best universities in the U.S. is not found anywhere else in the world."
- Dhwanil Khandwala, from India

U.S. colleges are known worldwide for the quality of their facilities, resources, and faculty. Accreditation systems ensure that institutions continue to maintain these standards.

The U.S. education system features many types of institutions, academic and social environments, entry requirements, degree programs, and subjects in which you can specialize.

A U.S. degree offers excellent value for the money. A wide range of tuition fees and living costs, plus some financial help from colleges, make study in the United States affordable for hundreds of thousands of international students each year.

U.S. universities and colleges offer flexibility in choice of courses, but more importantly there is also the option for students to move from institution to another. Completing the first two years of a degree at one institution, usually a community college, and then moving to another, is very common.


Types of Visas

Nonimmigrant Visas

Nonimmigrant visas are for people with permanent residence outside the U.S. but who wish to go to the U.S. on a temporary basis – for tourism, medical treatment, business, temporary work, or study.

U.S. law requires that people who apply for nonimmigrant visas provide evidence that they don’t intend to immigrate to the United States. It’s up to consular officers at U.S. embassies and consulates to determine eligibility on an individual basis on the merits of each case.

Providing requested documents does not guarantee that you will receive a visa. There is no entitlement to a visa.

And, because each person’s personal situation is different, people applying for the same visa may be asked different questions and be required to submit different documents. Under U.S. law, the authority to issue or refuse visas is vested solely in consular offices abroad. Consular officers have the authority to decide whether the evidence submitted in support of an application is sufficient to establish an applicant's eligibility for a visa. Consular officers may request additional information or documentation depending on their assessment of each person’s situation.

Immigrant Visas

Several categories of people are eligible for immigrant status. Certain applicants can apply on their own behalf. All others must have a relative or potential employer apply for them.


What is a Visa?

If you’re a citizen of a foreign country, in most cases you’ll need a visa to enter the United States.

A visa doesn’t permit entry to the U.S., however. A visa simply indicates that your application has been reviewed by a U.S. consular officer at an American embassy or consulate, and that the officer has determined you’re eligible to enter the country for a specific purpose. Consular affairs are the responsibility of the U.S. Department of State.

A visa allows you to travel to the United States as far as the port of entry (airport or land border crossing) and ask the immigration officer to allow you to enter the country. Only the immigration officer has the authority to permit you to enter the United States. He or she decides how long you can stay for any particular visit. Immigration matters are the responsibility of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

There are two categories of U.S. visas: immigrant and non immigrant.

Immigrant visas are for people who intend to live permanently in the U.S. Nonimmigrant visas are for people with permanent residence outside the U.S. but who wish to be in the U.S. on a temporary basis – for tourism, medical treatment, business, temporary work or study.