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How to Obtain a US Student Visa

Updated on November 29, 2015

What is a Student Visa?

This visa is one that tells the immigration officer that you would like to go to the United States to become a temporary resident, and study. Although this is a Non-immigrant visa like the visitors visa or Business visa it has more benfits. For example with a student (F1) visa you will be eligible to obtain a US social security number. This will however not make you able to open Bank accounts. But you will be able to do alot of stuff that persons with other types of non-immigrant visas are not. So in short a F1 Student visa is one that allows a foreigner to study in the US. Please take note that once this visa is issued you must remain in school. Your visa will immediately become invalid and you will be liable for deportation.

If you were unable to follow the above information, please visit for more clarification.

Steps Involved in Becoming a Student in the US

Thoughout the years more and more students have been desirous of becoming a student in the United States. This process has become more difficult as US department of State has reviewed their laws.

Step 1

If you want to become a student in the United States you will first want to do is apply to a University. This step is extremely imperative and is mandatory to move on to the other steps. Common Universities in the United States require SAT scores. This test is made available in a wide array of countries. Ivey leagues which are the colleges for the elitestus usally require very high high school grades and higher SAT scores. A high school diploma and high school transcript is mandatory.

If you are unable to take the SAT you still have the chance of enrolling in a community college. These usually require a full credential evalution. Likewise for students who are presently in university and would like to transfer into a US college.

If you would like to seek your graduate degree in the US you must do the GRE.

Step 2

If you have been granted admission into a University in the US you must now take a very difficult step. You must file SEVIS i-20 form with the university that offered you admission. In order for this form to be approved you must show readily available funds to pay for the cost of study. Once you have been granted admission you will given the SEVIS application package to complete. This is sometimes a requirement of admission for some universities.

The i-20 application package consists of

This is the document that the person who is paying for your education and cost of living signs. This document usually contains information on how much cost of living and tuition will amount to. Tuition varies so the cost depends on the type of college that you apply to. So this amount will generally range from 30 000 USd-50 000USD. This cost must be declared by a family member, friend or sponsor with supporting bank statement certifying availability of sufficient funds attached.

  • Affivadavit of Support

The affidavit of support is the contractual document that certifies that the amount declared in the declaration of finances will be supplied as is necessary.

The situation changes if the applicant has recieved a scholarship, or has a certificate of an approved loan. The loan or scholarship must cover the total amout of education and living to get away from the declaration of finances and the affidavit of support. If it does not it reduces the amount that would have to be declared.

Step 3

Once the application package has been approved you will be sent the actual document i-20. With this document you are now able to apply for the F1 visa at the nearest US embassy to You will be informed by the university on what to take with you.

Step 4

As covered by my previous article a us visa is a document that takes a foreigner to whom it is a requirement, permission to travel to the border of the US. It does not guarantee entry into the country. You will be given permission by the immigration officer entry into the US.

Since the F1 visa is a temporary resident visa you will not need to buy a return ticket. You will be issued a social security number shortly after and your studies will begin. Be advised that persons with F1 visas who attempt to travel more than 30 days before their studies begin, except in cases of emergency, will be sent back home at the point of immigration.

Student Visas for Non-Degree Seeking Students

You might be wondering if you have a work permit or any other class visa and you have a child that needs to go to school, needs a F1 visa. The answer is no, your child would not need an F1 visa. you would simply need to apply for a suppliment visa for that child. That suppliment visa will give the dependent permission to attend school. For example an h1b work visa applicant would file for and h2 suppliment visa for his/her child.

Can Being a Student in the US Lead to Permanent Residency

So after going through the tedious process of applying for a Student visa you may be wondering if as a student, are you eligible or will be eligible to apply for a green card. The answer is yes some people may qualify. During your study in the US you may be able to get OPT (Optional Practical Training). This is where you work during the summer or part time for experience in the course of study that you are pursuing. The company that you are working with may like you and file a H1b visa for you.

An H1b visa is a dual intent visa. This means that at the time that you hold it you have two intentions. To home and to move to the United States permanently. Once this visa has been filed for you, you will be eligible to apply for permanent residency.

My Final Word

I hope that you are able to go through the tumultuous path of appliying for an F1 visa successfully, and even qualify for permanent residency for those who want it. For those who are unable to go though the path because they were unable to complete one of the above steps, my heart goes out to you. Try everything you can, or maybe just attempt to complete your studies in your home country. Hope this hub was helpful, thank you for visiting.


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    • profile image

      3 years ago

      Thank you for this information man! This is very helpful! I appreciate your work

    • d-richie93 profile image

      d-richie93 5 years ago

      You are certainly welcome. If by supporter you mean without a cosigner then unfortunately without a valid US cosigner, to the best of my knowledge it will be impossible to get a loan. Sorry.

    • profile image

      Muhannad 5 years ago

      thanks alot :)

      im wondering if u have more information about loans for international students and witout a supporter?

    • d-richie93 profile image

      d-richie93 6 years ago

      thank you hazelickes that is a very valuable contribution.

    • hazelickes profile image

      hazelickes 6 years ago

      I would like to add to this nice article.

      When you enter the United States on a student visa, you will usually be admitted for the duration of your student status. That means you may stay as long as you are a full time student, even if the F-1 visa in your passport expires while you are in the United States. For a student who has completed the course of studies shown on the I-20, and any authorized practical training, the student is allowed An additional 60 days, to prepare for departure from the U.S. or to transfer to another school.

    • d-richie93 profile image

      d-richie93 6 years ago

      Again thank you nancy for coming by.

    • nancymervin profile image

      nancymervin 6 years ago

      Added advantage of F-1 visa is that you can apply for social security number and also work on site or sometimes off campus too.