What is the visa application process for study in the USA? 

Updated on: Nov 3, 2023

The visa application process for international students planning to study in the USA generally involves the following steps:

  • Receive Acceptance from a U.S. School: Before applying for a visa, you must first be accepted by a U.S. school or university and receive a Certificate of Eligibility (Form I-20 for F-1 visas or DS-2019 for J-1 visas) from the institution.
  • Pay the SEVIS Fee: Pay the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) fee online. You will need the SEVIS ID from your Form I-20 or DS-2019 for this.
  • Complete the DS-160 Form: Fill out the Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application Form DS-160 and print the confirmation page, which includes a barcode.
  • Pay the Visa Application Fee: Pay the Machine Readable Visa (MRV) fee, also known as the visa application fee. This is typically done online through the U.S. Visa Information and Appointment Services website.
  • Schedule a Visa Interview: Visit the U.S. Visa Information and Appointment Services website to schedule a visa interview at the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your home country. You will need the DS-160 confirmation page and the receipt for the visa application fee to schedule your appointment.
  • Attend the Visa Interview: Be prepared to provide the following documents:
    • Passport valid for at least six months beyond your intended stay in the USA.
    • DS-160 confirmation page with barcode.
    • Visa application fee receipt.
    • SEVIS fee payment receipt.
    • Form I-20 or DS-2019 from your U.S. school.
    • Admission letter from your U.S. institution.
    • Passport-size photographs.
    • Financial documents demonstrating your ability to cover tuition and living expenses.
    • Any additional documents requested by the U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
  • Visa Decision: After the interview, a consular officer will determine whether you are eligible for a U.S. student visa. If approved, you will receive a visa stamp in your passport.
  • Travel to the USA: Once you have your visa, you can make travel arrangements to the USA. Be sure to arrive in the USA no earlier than 30 days before the start date on your Form I-20 or DS-2019.

Edvoy's study abroad consultants can provide expert guidance on the U.S. student visa application process, help you prepare the necessary documents and ensure that you meet all the criteria for a successful application.