How to apply for a Student Visa in the U.S.

The type of student visa required for those wishing to study in the United States varies depending on the type of training or program of study.

Basically, there are two types of U.S. Student Visas available to international students:
  • An F-1 student visa for those wishing to pursue academic studies.
  • A Class M visa for non-academic (technical and professional) students.
Student Visa Preparation
  • You must first start the application process and make sure that the university you have chosen has accepted your application (See the previous article on how to apply, here).
  • Upon completion of the application process and acceptance of your application, the University will send you a letter confirming your admission and an institution authorized by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for the registration (I-20 for an F-1 visa) of non-immigrant international students. You must read and sign this form.
For the student visa, also note the following:
  • In addition, according to U.S. law, you can get a student visa 120 days before the start of the course on Form I-20.
  • You will need to set an appointment for an interview at the U.S. Embassy in your country.
  • Each U.S. Embassy has a website where you can schedule an appointment. It also contains any other information about the visa. You can also find the website of the embassy in your country.
  • The embassy or consulate will give priority to student visas. Therefore, if you know that your course program will be starting soon, do not hesitate to pass this information on to them when you apply.
  • Information on visa application fees is also available on the country's embassy website. Often, it is around $140.
  • You also pay about $200 in computer fees to register your stay in the United States.
  • Payments must be made at the Embassy, Consulate or Bank designated by the U.S. Embassy in your country at least three days before the interview.
  • Try to apply for a visa at least three months before you plan to travel to the United States, if possible. In fact, this will give you enough time in case of any delay at the embassy or if you wish to appeal against the decision, in case your application is denied.
Personal Interview

An interview with the U.S. Consulate is one of the most important steps for which you should be well prepared and deal with in a professional manner. Below are some notes on how to prepare and simplify the interview.
  • You will have a few minutes to talk to the visa officer, so try to make a good impression.
  • Try to wear a uniform. If you do not have a uniform, you can wear simple, comfortable clothes. It is important to take good care of this aspect.
  • Be confident, willing and ready to respond, but not recklessly, but sensibly and intelligently.
  • If you cannot answer in English, you can ask for an interpreter if the employee does not know Arabic.
  • The visa officer is very interested in knowing what your real goal is after obtaining the visa.
  • Answer calmly, clearly and honestly. State your goals and reasons for studying in the United States.
  • "Studying in the United States is better than studying in my country". This answer is not enough when you have to answer the question of why you want to study in the United States, so talk about the characteristics of your study plan.
  • Remember that clear and precise answers are the best solution to obtain your visa.
In addition, the following is strongly recommended:
  • You must have adequate financial support, preferably from family, your employer or any sponsor in your country.
  • If your parents are going to finance you, you must prove it with documents showing the nature of their work and income.
  • Be careful, any exaggeration or inconsistency in papers and documents may prevent the officer from granting you a visa.
  • Intention to return to your home country. The visa officer will ask you to make sure that you intend to return to your home country. To do this, he or she will ask you questions regarding your interest in your home country, your future career plans, etc.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the following website of the U.S. Government Advising Centers office located in your country and around the world to learn more about how to obtain a U.S. Student Visa.