Scholarship and Student Visas for the US

To study in the United States, you need to have either the citizenship of the country or apply for a student visa. But how to get a student visa? Let’s figure it out today. In this article, we’re going to talk about the application process and visa requirements. 

Scholarship and Student Visas for the US

Student Visa

The student visa is necessary for international students who are attending an academic program or English Language Program at a US college or university. For international students looking to enter the US, the government offers several US student visa types, including F, M, and J. 

F-1 is for high school or college/university (including language program) study in the US, applying to both undergraduate and graduate students. This type of visa allows one to work on-campus for 20 hours a week or less, depending on the terms.

M-1 is for nonacademic or vocational study in the US. Such programs are usually short-term and career focused.

J-1  is given to those participating in exchange programs at the high school and university levels.

scholarship visa for america

In other words, F-1 is the most common type of student visa for long-term studies, while M-1 and J-1 are given for short-term programs. 

US Student Visa Requirements

Before you apply for your visa, you need to prepare certain documents. For starters, you have to provide documents that prove your financial situation or any financial support you will have during your studies. You will also need a passport with a validity date of at least six months beyond your intended period of stay in the US. Don’t forget to prepare transcripts, test scores, qualifications, and certificates from schools you have attended earlier as well. 

While applying you’ll receive some documents that you’ll need to keep. They include Certificate of Eligibility for a non-immigrant student (I-20), a printed receipt from your SEVIS fee, and a printed receipt from the online visa form (DS-160) for a non-immigrant student. 

We should also mention that visa and scholarship applications are not related – one does not guarantee the other. For your scholarship application, you’ll need to prepare a different set of documents. 

5 Steps to Apply for a Student Visa

If you’ve decided where you want to study and now want to figure out how to apply for a student visa, read the information below – here are 5 stages an applicant will have to go through when applying for a visa.

1. Apply for and get accepted by schools in the US

You may only apply for a student visa after you’ve applied for and been accepted to a SEVP-approved school. Accreditation is crucial for your degree to be recognized by other universities, professional associations, employers, and government ministries. Only SEVP-approved institutions can provide you with the documents necessary to apply for a US student visa.

2. Pay the SEVIS fee

Be sure to pay the SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) fee at least three days before applying for a US visa. The payment confirmation can be obtained and printed from the website at any time after processing your payment. You’ll need to keep it as proof of fee payment at your visa interview.

Once accepted at a SEVP-certified school, you will receive a Form I-20 or DS-2019 from the institution’s international student office.

3. Complete a US student visa application 

When you receive your SEVIS form and pay the SEVIS fee, you can make an appointment with a US consulate or embassy for a student visa application. You should apply as early as possible – visa processing times can be longer than you expect.

You have to complete the online visa application form DS-160 – select the location from which you wish to apply and make sure you have all the documents and information you need. 

As part of your application, you also have to submit a photo – it will later be uploaded and submitted with your online visa application. The picture has to meet all the US visa photo requirements – the specifications define the size, background color, face expression, etc. in your picture.

For example, your face expression must be neutral, the image has to be in color, and it should be taken within the last six months. As for the photo resolution, it’s stated that the US visa picture size has to be 2 x 2 inches or 51 x 51 mm. There are lots of details you should keep in mind – be sure to read this guide on the US visa photo requirements so you don’t make a mistake. This is one of the most common reasons for a rejected visa application, so pay attention to each point.

After you complete the visa application form, electronically sign your DS-160, and upload your application, you’ll be sent a confirmation page with a barcode, barcode number, and your application ID number. You have to print them out and take them to your visa interview. 

4. Pay the visa application fee

This fee is the same price regardless of your country of origin and where you apply. It’s non-refundable and non-transferable. You can pay the visa application fee at an approved bank, by phone, and online. You should bring your receipt as proof of payment to your interview appointment.

5. Schedule an appointment for your visa interview

Last but not least, you will need to attend a visa interview. But first, you have to schedule the appointment. This can be done online and by contacting the nearest US embassy or consulate by phone. You should check out the wait times to find a suitable location and time. Either way, you’ll be asked for the application fee number, so pay the fee in advance. 

Student Visas

Final Thoughts 

Finding the university of your dreams and pursuing your degree is one of the most adventurous and responsible stages of your life. So it’s especially important to follow all of the rules to achieve your goals. Today, we discussed types of the student visa, requirements including US visa photo requirements and the list of the documents you need for the application, and the main stages of the visa application process.

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