ExecutiveChronicles | Everything to Know About a Student Visa | Applying for a student visa takes effort. There are many different forms to fill out as well as financial requirements to fulfill to proceed with the application.
Depending on the visa you are applying for, as well as your plans once your schooling has ended, the approval process may take more or less time to complete.
To help you out further, here is everything you need to know about student visas.
How Can I Get Support Applying?
Planning to live abroad for school or work can be confusing, especially when the dominant language is not your first language.
You can get assistance by connecting with US visa support resources and researching organizations that can help you obtain a visa as an international student. Speak to representatives who can walk you through the process!
What Are the Options for Student Visas?
Depending on where you live, your options for student visas will differ. In the U.S., you have the option of getting an F1, J1, or M1 visa. Student visas are government I.D.s that permit international students to study in another country.
The first two permit students to work and study in a foreign country, while the M1 only allows for studying. Although permission to work is granted for the first two, employment is only guaranteed for teacher assistant positions, research assistants, and on-campus jobs.
The F1 Visa
- Students eligible for this visa must be enrolled in an academic or English language program full-time. The maximum amount of allowable working hours per week is 20.
- If you hold Nonimmigrant Student Status, you must finish schooling by the date listed on your Certificate of Eligibility.
- As an F1 visa holder, you can also enroll in public education courses. All unsubsidized costs pertaining to education and related fees must be stated on the Form I-20.
- Your immediate family can receive visas under the F2 or M2 visa if you are a holder of an F1 or M1 visa. It is preferred for all applicants to apply at the same time.
The J1 Visa
- Most holders are foreign exchange students looking to study abroad.
- Employment is permitted with the same provisions as F1 visa holders, so long as employment permission is granted via a sponsor of an exchange program.
The M1 Visa
- Those eligible for M1 visas are students seeking vocational or nonacademic education. No employment permissions are granted; thus, all applicants must prove they can financially pay for tuition and living expenses.
- Once accepted into an educational program, you will receive your Form I-20 and additional forms, depending on the visa.
- You must pay the SEVIS fee to get an I.D. number and complete the additional steps for enrollment.
- Once you’ve sent in your forms, wait to hear back following security clearances.
When Should I Apply?
Start your application at least three months before your academic program begins. During this time, schedule your interview on the U.S. Embassy website.
You will be expected to answer questions related to your academic background, home country, language speaking capability, school acceptance, financial means, and plans following your program.
From this point, you’ll be asked to complete a series of forms. If you apply for a nonimmigrant visa, you should also prepare for an interview with topics like those previously listed.
What Documents Do I Need?
Following your interview, you will be informed if your application requires additional processing. Ensure you have all documents for your visa interview, including your Form I-20, MRV receipt, proof of financial means, transcripts, and forms of identification.
Take Your Time
Applying for your student visa requires careful reading and review. Remember to take your time filling out forms and contact your local embassy with any questions about the process.