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There are three types of student visas:

The F-1 visa is issued to students who are enrolled in an academic or English language program. This is the visa that is required for international students who wish to study at a US college or university. F-1 students must maintain the minimum course load for full-time student status. They can remain in the US up to 60 days beyond the length of time it takes to complete their academic program. They are expected to complete their studies by the expiration date on the I-20 form (Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status).

The M-1 visa is issued to students attending non-academic trade and vocational schools. This type of visa is valid for a maximum of one year.

The J-1 visa is issued to students who need to obtain practical training, which is not available in their home country, to complete their academic program.

You can contact Council on International Educational Exchanges

Street Address:

3 Copley Place
2nd floor
Boston 02116


+1 617 247 0350




+1 617 247 2911



You can apply to CIEE for the DS-2019 certificate of eligibility necessary to apply for the J-1 visa, which authorizes participants to work legally in the US . Once you obtain proper documentation you then come back to Global-Eyes and we will help arrange your work placement in the United States.

Applicants for international student visas should apply at the US embassy or consulate in their country of permanent residence. (To find the US embassy or consulate that is closest to you, click here.) Although international student visa applicants may apply at any US consular office abroad, it may be more difficult to qualify for the visa outside the country of permanent residence.

In most countries, first time international student visa applicants are required to appear for an interview. However, each embassy and consulate sets its own interview policies and procedures regarding these international student visas. Students should consult their local consular office for specific application instructions.

Applicants should keep in mind that June, July, and August are the busiest months in most embassies and consulates. Interview appointments are usually very difficult to get during that period. Students need to plan ahead to avoid repeat visits to the consular office. It is a good idea for students to bring all the documents described in the section Forms and documents on their first visit.

To allow time to overcome any unforeseen problems that might arise, students are encouraged to apply for their international student visa several weeks before they plan to travel. Students should not apply more than 90 days before the registration date noted on the I-20 form (Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status).

Applicants who are not eligible for an international student visa
The Nonimmigrant Visa Application Form DS-156 lists classes of persons who are not eligible to receive international student visas. In some instances an applicant who is not eligible, but who is eligible to enter the US as a student, may apply for a waiver and be issued an international student visa if the waiver is approved.


The following items are required from all applicants for a student visa.

Acceptance form (I-20)
Before applying for a student visa, the applicant must be accepted by a school or institution approved by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). The student can find out directly from the school whether it has that approval. If the student is applying for the F-1 visa, the institution must send the applicant a Form I-20A-B, (Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant [F-1] Student Status for Academic and Language Students). If the student is applying for the M-1 visa, the institution must send the applicant a Form I-20M-N (Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant [M-1] Student Status for Vocational Students). All four pages of the I-20 form must be submitted with the application. The form must also be signed by the applicant and by a school official in the appropriate places.

Application fee
Each applicant for a student visa must pay a nonrefundable application fee. Contact the consular office to find out the current amount of the fee.

Application form
Each applicant must submit a Nonimmigrant Visa Application Form DS-156, completed and signed. A separate form is needed for children, even if they are included in a parent's passport. Free blank forms are available at all US embassies and consulates. A copy of the form can also be obtained online from the US State Department website (http://travel.state.gov/DS-0156.pdf).

Each applicant must have a passport valid for travel to the United States and with a validity date that extends at least six months beyond the applicant's intended period of stay. If more than one person is included in the passport, each person applying for a visa must make a separate application.

Each applicant must provide one photograph 1 and 1/2 inches square (37x37mm), showing full face, without head covering, against a light background

Evidence of financial resources
Applicants must provide evidence that shows they (or their parents who are sponsoring them) have sufficient funds to cover their tuition and living expenses during the intended period of study. Applicants or sponsors who are salaried employees should bring income tax documents and original bank statements. Applicants or sponsors who own a business should bring business registration, licenses, and tax documents, as well as original bank statements. For more information on financial requirements, see the Financial proof section.

A student's spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 also can apply for visas to come with the student to the US . Applicants who wish to bring dependents with them to the US must also provide marriage and/or birth certificates as proof of the relationship with his spouse and/or children.

In addition, student applicants may also be asked to provide :Transcripts and diplomas from schools they have attended.

Scores from standardized tests required by the US school such as the TOEFL, SAT, GRE, GMAT, etc.

Financial proof

Visa applicants must prove that sufficient funds are or will be available from a reliable financial source to pay for all living and school expenses during the entire period of study in the US . Specifically, applicants for the F-1 visa must prove they have enough readily available funds to meet all expenses for the first year of study, and that adequate funds will be available for each subsequent year of study. Applicants for the M-1 visa must have evidence that sufficient funds are immediately available to pay all tuition and living costs for the entire period of study. In some cases, schools will require proof of sufficient funds for the entire course of study even for the F-1 visa.

Funds outside the United States
If an applicant indicates that funds will be coming from a source outside the United States (for example, from parents living in the country of residence), the consular officer must determine whether there are restrictions on the transfer of funds from the country concerned. If restrictions do exist, the consular officer must require some evidence that these restrictions will not keep the funds from being available during the applicant's projected period of study.

Financial sponsorship and assurance of support
Various factors are important in evaluating assurances of financial support made by sponsors: The financial sponsor must ensure that the applicant will not need to seek unauthorized work while studying in the United States .

The sponsor must provide evidence (in the form of documents) of the financial resources that are necessary for the student to complete the course of study.

If the sponsor is in the US on nonimmigrant status, then the sponsor's financial situation will be examined with even greater care. Important issues include whether the sponsor may need to obtain unauthorized work to finance the student's education, and whether the sponsor will remain in the US at least as long as the student.

The factors that would motivate a sponsor to honor the financial commitment will be carefully considered. For example, if the sponsor is a close relative of the applicant, there may be a greater probability that the obligation will be honored than if the sponsor is not a relative.

Financial sponsorship by an American
If the student will be sponsored by a US citizen (such as a relative), the sponsor will need to complete Form I-134 (Affidavit of Support). This form requires the sponsor to pay for all expenses that cannot be covered by the student. The relationship between the sponsor and the applicant is an important consideration in this case. A sponsor who is not a relative of the student is generally less credible. A copy of the form can be downloaded from the INS website ( http://www.ins.gov/graphics/formsfee/forms/files/i-134.pdf ).

Funds from fellowships and scholarships
The institution that the student will attend may arrange for the student to conduct research, give lectures, or perform other academic functions as part of a fellowship or scholarship, so long as the student also maintains a full-time course load.


Educational qualifications
The consular officer reviewing the visa application is required to determine that the following items are true:

· The applicant has successfully completed a course of study equivalent to that normally required of an American student enrolling at the same school.

· The applicant has not submitted forged or altered transcripts of previous coursework to the school.

· The school has not incorrectly accepted an applicant's previous coursework as the equivalent of its normal requirements.

English proficiency
The applicant, unless coming to the US to participate exclusively in an English language training program, must have enough knowledge of English to pursue the intended course of study. If that is not the case, the school must have made special arrangements for English language classes for the student, or must teach the course in the student's native language.

In order to determine whether the applicant has the necessary knowledge of English, the consular officer must perform the visa interview in English and may require the applicant to read aloud from an English-language document, and to explain in English what was read. The officer also has the option to refer the applicant for language testing.

Ties to the country of origin

The student must prove intent to return to the home country after completing the coursework by showing strong ties to the country of origin. The student must demonstrate that he has no intention of abandoning those ties. Conversely, if the student has close relatives or other ties in the United States , those may affect the intent to return to the home country. Examples of ways to provide evidence of ties to the home country are given below.

· The names, addresses, ages, and occupations of close family members who remain in the home country.

· Financial interests in the home country.

· Evidence of job prospects in the home country.

Additionally, the INS may require the student to post a Departure Bond to guarantee departure after the course of study is completed.

Chosen Course of Education

The fact that the student's proposed coursework may not be of very practical use in the home country is not normally grounds for refusing a visa. It may, however, be a relevant factor in determining the likelihood of the student's return to the country of origin.