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If you want to study in the United States as an international student, you must first obtain a US visa. There are various types of visas, and determining which one is best for you and how to apply as an international student can be difficult. This article will explain what international student visas are and how to get one.

Visa Types Offered to International Students

To effectively study in the US, you need to have a student visa. The different student visas come with specific requirements and depend on the type of education you want. Here is a list of the different types of student visas that are needed to go to school in the United States.

1.      F-1 Visa

This is the most popular type of visa in the US and allows international students to attend an accredited college or university. You could also use this visa to attend an English language institute or any course that takes more than 18 hours to complete.

After completing your application to a US institution, you can start applying for an F-1 student visa. The Student and Exchange Visitor Program must have approved the school you want to go to and the school must issue you a Form I-20 before you can apply for your student visa.

International students holding the F-1 student visa can also gain work experience in the United States, but the job must be related to the academic program they’re enrolled in. Also, the program must be run by a non-profit organization chosen by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the Department of State.

2.      J-1 Visa

Another visa that confirms your student status in the US is the J-1 visa. This is also known as the “Exchange Visitor Visa” and is required if you want to carry out a work- or study-based exchange visitor program in the US.

Which is Better for International students: the F-1 or the J-1 Visa?

Choosing whether an F-1 or a J-1 student visa is ideal for you can be difficult for visa applicants. However, it heavily depends on your present situation and plans. Both visas allow students to study without restrictions in the US. However, the difference depends on whether you want to work during or after your educational program.

The F-1 visa category is best if you would like to work; it allows students to work for a year or two after their studies. Alternatively, J-1 only lets you work on campus. Note that you must wait a year before applying for off-campus jobs with your F-1 visa.

Application Procedure for an International Student Visa

You must meet student visa requirements to be eligible for a visa to study in the US. First, you have to apply to universities or colleges that accept international students and be accepted. Here are the documents you’ll need to get a student visa once you’ve been accepted to the school.

  • A valid passport
  • DS-160: A nonimmigrant visa applicant must apply for nonimmigrant status. You need your passport, resume, travel itinerary, and any additional documents requested.
  • I-20 form: A certificate of eligibility for nonimmigrant student status in the US. It demonstrates that you are enrolled in academic studies or other recognized nonacademic institution training courses.
  • School transcripts and official standardized test scores used on your application
  • The use of bank statements in your college application as evidence of sufficient funds.

Once you have these documents, follow the steps below to apply for a US international student visa.

  • Apply to a recognized university and get accepted.
  • Get the I-20 form and pay the fee required; you have to do this three days after submitting a visa application.
  • Fill out the DS-160 visa application form and send it along with the required documents and the visa application fee.
  • Schedule your visa interview, and prepare in the interim.
  • Attend the visa interview. There are visa interview documents you need to carry along for your interviews, like the payment confirmation for the visa and SEVIS, your DS-160 form, your I-20 form, and proof of funds.
  • After the interview, you’ll wait to receive a confirmation that your visa has been approved and you’re ready to enter the United States and start your studies.

Let Us Help

With a qualified immigration attorney handling your visa application, you have a higher chance of success. Elliott Immigration Law offers immigration services to students and professionals alike. We can help you obtain immigrant and nonimmigrant services in the US.

We’ll walk you through every step of the process, from selecting a visa to filing a visa application to even pursuing a green card. Contact us at (404) 890-0372 to begin the process.