Going to the United to study most times is not as tedious as people make it out to be, the important thing is to know what are the type of visas and start your visa process on time. Here is a guideline on how to do both.

Generally, a citizen of a foreign country who wishes to enter the United States must first obtain a visa. Your course of study and the type of school you plan to attend determine whether you need an F visa or an M visa.

There are three main types of study visas to use while applying to study in the US and they depend on the type of program you are applying for. They are;

F-1 Visa; These are the most common types of visa and they are issued to students who wish to study at any accredited university, high school, or elementary school or other academic institutions. Holders of this type of visas are given a grace period of 60 days after the visa expires

M-1 Visa; An M-1 visa is a non-immigrant student visa for individuals who want to pursue a full course of study at a non-academic institution or vocational school in the US.

J-1 Visa; This is a non-immigrant visa for individuals who will be participating in a work and study based exchange visitor program that promotes cultural exchange in the US, especially for medical or business training.

The first step in the visa process  is to apply to a SEVP (Student and Exchange Visitor Program) -approved school in the United States.( You can also visit the DHS https://studyinthestates.dhs.gov/ school search page to search for SEVP-certified schools.) After you have been accepted you will be registered for the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) and must pay the SEVIS I-901 fee.  The SEVP-approved school will issue you a Form I-20.  After you receive the Form I-20 and register in SEVIS, you may apply at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate for a student (F or M) visa.  You must present the Form I-20 to the consular officer when you attend your visa interview.


Complete The Online Visa Application: You must complete the Online Non-immigrant Visa Application, Form DS-160. You can access this form on https://ceac.state.gov/genniv/. After this has been done, print the application form.

Schedule an interview: Interviews are generally required for visa applicants except ones who are 13 years of age or below and 80 years and above. Schedule an appointment for your visa interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the country where you live. It may be difficult to do this outside the country where you reside. The appointed wait time for this student visa type is 2 months so it is advised that you apply on time, at least about 5 months before your program starts


Documents needed include;

  1. Passport valid for travel to the United States – Your passport must be valid for at least six months beyond your period of stay in the United States (unless exempt by country-specific agreements). Each individual who needs a visa must submit a separate application, including any family members listed in your passport.
  2. Non-Immigrant Visa Application, Form DS-160 confirmation page.
  3. Application fee payment receipt, if you are required to pay before your interview.
  4. Photo – You will upload your photo while completing the online Form DS-160. If the photo upload fails, you must bring one printed photo in the format explained in the Photograph Requirements
  5. Certificate of Eligibility for Non-immigrant (F-1) Student Status- For Academic and Language Students, Form I-20 or Certificate of Eligibility for Non-immigrant (M-1) Student Status for Vocational Students, Form I-20 – Your school will send you a Form I-20 once they have entered your information in the SEVIS database. You and your school official must sign the Form I-20.  All students must be registered in the Student and Exchange Visitor System (SEVIS). Your spouse and/or minor children, if they intend live in the United States with you, will each receive an individual Form I-20.


A consular officer will interview you to determine whether you are qualified to receive a student visa. You must establish that you meet the requirements under U.S. law to receive a visa, and after the visa is approved, you may need to pay a visa issuance fee (if applicable to your nationality), and make arrangements for the return of the passport and visa to you.  

Sometimes a visa does not guarantee your entry into the US, it will only guarantee you to the port-of-entry, where the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials at the port-of-entry have authority to permit or deny admission to the United States.  After you present all your documents, they will then make their decision.

Source: www.travel.state.gov also visit or more information.