United States Student Visa Guide

Whether it's the Ivy League universities or the allure of a diverse cultural melting pot, the United States has always been a prime destination for students from around the world seeking a top-notch education. Each year, the US welcomes hundreds of thousands of international students into its various educational institutions, offering a wide array of programs across every possible field of study. With this wealth of opportunities, the process of obtaining your student visa is your first stepping stone into this exciting new journey.

Student Visa Step-by-step

The US Student Visa process involves a series of important steps, carefully outlined below, to ensure you are well-prepared for a smooth and successful application.

  • Step 1: Apply to a School

    The fist step to attaining a US student visa is to Apply to a School in the US approved by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP). This is a crucial step because only SEVP-approved institutions can enroll students in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS).

    If you haven't already, Visit the Study Trekkers Guide on Applying to a US institution.

    Visit US School Search 
  • Step 2: Register with SEVIS and Pay Fee

    Once you receive acceptance from the SEVP-approved school, make sure you are registered with the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). After this, you'll need to pay the mandatory SEVIS I-901 fee. This registration process is essential for all international students planning to study in the US.

    Visit Website 
  • Step 3: Collect Form I-20

    After you've paid the SEVIS fee, your school will provide you with a Form I-20. This document is required for the next step in the visa application process.

  • Step 4: Apply for student visa (F or M)

    With your Form I-20, you can now apply for a student visa (F or M) at a US Embassy or Consulate. It's crucial to present the Form I-20 to the consular officer during your visa interview.

    Visit US Consulate List 
  • Step 5: Spouses & Children

    Are you planning to bring your spouse and/or children with you? If so, they must also be enrolled in SEVIS and obtain individual Form I-20s from your school. They will then need to apply for their visas. Thankfully, no additional fee is required for their SEVIS enrollment.

  • Resource: SEVIS

    Information on the Student and Exchange Visitor Program, including current fees.

    Visit Website 
  • Resource: US Department of State Student Visa Overview

    Information on the overall student visa process including visa types.

    Visit Website 
1 of 7