Your Visa Process: Simplified

You’ve decided to go to school in the United States.

You’ve been accepted into your school of choice and are enrolled.

Nothing else is needed, right?


Well, not really.  The most important steps in this process actually stand in front of you, otherwise known as the “not-so-interesting” application for a student visa.  While this process makes the typical student yawn (and let’s be honest, we can’t blame you) it is a crucial part of going to school in the United States.  Specifically, it’ll help US officials know th at you’re here for an education, and not to travel or just have fun (although these are typically nice benefits).

Next, you have to make an appointment for a visa interview at your local US embassy office.  You can check for your closest office here: first part of the visa application process is receiving an I-20 from your school, which is the legal acceptance document and verification that you have been accepted and enrolled at an approved US institution.  It’s EXTREMELY important that you check that your entire name and date of birth appears as it does on your passport.

Be sure that you make an appointment far in advance of when you’ll need to be in the United States, as appointments and visa processing times can vary.  Here’s another useful website that explains wait times for visas:

It’s important to clarify that there’s a few different types of visas that may be applicable to your program or what you’re looking to do while in the United States.  Namely, there are two nonimmigrant visa categories for individuals looking to study in the United States. The F visa is for academic studies, and the M visa is for nonacademic or vocational studies.

Now for a few more steps/tips:

  • You’ll need to pay $140.00 to apply for your visa, but be sure to check ( as you may be subject to pay for your visa issuance or other fees. Also, make sure you always receive a receipt after paying any fees, as you’ll likely need it later on in the application process.
  •  In your interview, dress nicely and state specifically why you want to study in the US.  You’ll need a better answer than simply saying “Well, I’ve always wanted to…
  •  Bring financial evidence proving you can cover your tuition, any fee receipts, transcripts and standardized tests that were required in your school application process.

Lastly, remember to always be in communication with your college or university, and talk to other students in your home country that have studied in the U.S.  It’s always a great idea to double check each step in the process, as it’ll bring you that much closer to being a student in the US.

Current students, how was your visa process?  What troubles did you encounter?

One Response to Your Visa Process: Simplified

  1. BraveHeart says:

    I got F-1 visa last year but due to work circumstances, I couldn’t attend the university that year. The university I applied to last year accepted my excuse and transferred my admission from Fall 2014 to Fall 2015.

    I am planning to apply for VISA interview between June 7, 2015 and June 13, 2015.
    I have a brother who has just got F-1 visa and planning to study in Texas but I don’t know exactly when he will be there. He is planning to travel between June 3 and June 9.

    A question: I guess my visa is no longer valid now, so I need to apply again for another visa even if I want to attend the same course of study at the same university?

    Another question: When I have started filling the Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application (DS-160), I had to stop on a question concerning if there is any family member in USA now. What should I choose?…I don’t know exactly what to choose because I am not sure whether my brother will be in USA before or after the visa appointment.

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