If your main purpose for coming to the US is to study, you will need a student visa. A full-time student should take at least 18 hours of class per week. A student visa allows you to study full-time and stay in US legally.
There are different types of Student Visas.The common types are:
- F-1 visa
- M-1 visa
- J-1 visa
Requirements for applying to a Student Visa
Mere applying early and providing the required documents do not guarantee that the student will receive a visa, because each student’s personal and academic situation is different.
All applicants should be prepared to provide:
- Transcripts and diplomas from previous institutions attended;
- Scores from standardized tests required by the educational institution such as TOEFL, SAT, GRE, GMAT etc.;
- Financial evidence that shows you or your parents who are sponsoring you have sufficient funds to cover your tuition and living expenses during the period of your intended study.
Returning Student Requirements
If you depart the US with an expired visa, you will need to obtain a new one before being able to return to America and resume your studies. A student visa cannot be renewed or re-issued in the United States; it must be done at an Embassy or Consulate abroad.
All applicants applying for renewals must submit:
- A passport valid for at least six months;
- An application Form DS-156, together with a Form DS-158. Both forms must be completed and signed. Blank forms can be had from US consular office free of cost and also on the Visa Services website under Visa Application Forms.
- A receipt for visa processing fee for each of the applicants (if the family is accompanying)
- A new I-2- or an I-20 that has been endorsed on the back by a school official within the past 12 months.
All applicants applying for renewals should be prepared to submit:
- A certified copy of your grades from the school in which you are enrolled.
- Financial documents from you or your sponsor, showing your ability to cover the cost of your schooling.
The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) is a web-based system for maintaining information on international students and exchange visitors in the United States. SEVIS is administered by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP), a division of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the largest investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). SEVIS is designed to keep US safe while facilitating the entry and exit process for foreign students in the United States and for students seeking to study in the United States.
All schools and organizations which accept F-1, M-1 or J-1 students or exchange visitors have to comply with new rules imposed by the SEVIS regulations. Internet tracking is mandatory for all such institutions on January 30, 2003.