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Steps on Applying for a US Student Visa

Applying for a US student visa requires adequate preparation, including knowing which documents are needed and preparing for the visa interview. Let’s look at the step-by-step process of obtaining a US student visa.

  1. Obtain admission into a US university

You must apply and get accepted into a SEVP-approved school in the US. This will help you to obtain either the Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status (Form I-20) or the Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status (Form DS-2019). These forms are issued by the US school or exchange program you plan to attend. They confirm your acceptance and details of your course of study.

  1. Complete online nonimmigrant visa application

Then, you’ll fill out an online nonimmigrant visa application, Form DS-160. When completing the application, be very thorough and honest in providing the requested details about your identity, purpose of travel, course of study, proof of funds, etc. Any discrepancies or false information could lead to a denial of your student visa.

The online application process should take you around one and a half hours to complete. Once you’re done with the application, remember to print the confirmation page which will be required during your visa interview. 

  1. Pay the application and SEVIS fee

Next, you’ll need to pay $185 for the visa application and the I-901 Student and Exchange Visitor Information System or SEVIS fee which is $200. The SEVIS fee covers the cost of the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) to maintain records of nonimmigrant students and exchange visitors. You can pay this fee online, by mail, or by Western Union. Be sure to have your I-20 or DS-2019 form handy, as you’ll need information from them to process your payment.


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  1. Schedule your interview

Once you’ve submitted Form DS-160, you’ll need to schedule an appointment for a visa interview at your nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. At the appointment, a consular officer will interview you to determine your eligibility for a student visa. Be prepared to provide documents like:

  • Your passport
  • I-20 or DS-2019 form
  • SEVIS fee payment receipt
  • Admission letter from your US school
  • Transcripts and diplomas from previous schools
  • Proof of financial support for your studies

You may be asked for more documents to support your application and prove that not only will you be able to support yourself during the study period, but you will also return to your home country after your studies.

  1. Prepare for and attend your interview

It’s normal to feel nervous about your visa interview, but going in prepared will help you feel more at ease. Review the details of your educational plans, proof of funding, and other documents. Be ready to explain why you chose your school and course of study. Try to make eye contact, speak clearly, and keep your answers concise and honest.

In summary, to get a student visa in the United States, you must first be accepted to a SEVP-approved school. You will then ensure that you have all the required documentation and pay the necessary fees to move to the next stage. Finally, you must schedule and attend a visa interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate. Following these essential steps carefully will set you on the path to obtaining your US student visa.

This article appeared in it’s original version on the Global Scholarships website