There are many noteworthy colleges and universities located in the United States, and it’s not uncommon for students in other countries to want to attend school in the U.S. However, in order to do so, the student must acquire a student visa that allows them to attend a college or university in the United States. As with any type of visa, there is a certain process you have to follow in order to be approved. In today’s post, we will discuss the process for acquiring a student visa in the United States.

If you are having trouble obtaining a student visa, our team of immigration lawyers at Raymond O. Griffith in Baltimore is here to help. We have years of experience helping people just like you obtain visas and residency within the United States, and our attorneys are ready to provide you with the high-quality legal counsel that you deserve. Explore our website to learn more about the services we offer, and give us a call to request an appointment today!

Type F or M Visa

Depending on what type of school you wish to attend in the United States, you will either need to obtain an F or an M visa. If you are a student who wishes to obtain a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, doctorate, or a professional degree, you will need to apply for an F visa. This type of visa also applies for students who wish to attend high school, elementary school, seminary school, a conservatory, or another type of academic institution. In most situations, the student will apply for an F visa. However, there are some circumstances in which a student will apply for an M visa.

Students who are seeking education at vocational or technical schools will usually need to apply for an M visa, unless the courses take place at an academic institution. Examples of the types of institutions that would require an M visa include, community college, junior college, or trade schools. If you have questions about which type of visa you will need, contact the Law Office of Raymond O. Griffith today.

How to Apply

Once you know what type of visa you will need to attend school in the United States, the next step is to apply. It’s important to note that while there are various steps required to apply for a student visa, the order of these steps may vary by U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Typically, the steps for applying for a student visa are as follows:

Required Documentation

As part of the application, you will need to provide a variety of paperwork and have it either with you or submitted before your interview. You will need:

  • Passport – Your passport must be valid for at least six months past your stay in the United States.
  • Nonimmigrant Visa Application, Form DS-160 confirmation page
  • Application fee payment receipt – This applies to applicants who are required to pay prior to their interview.
  • Photo – You will be asked to upload a photo when you complete your application online. If you fail to upload the photo, you will need to bring a printed copy to your interview.
  • Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Status either form F-1 or M-1

The list above is what documents are required when applying for a student visa. However, during your interview, you may be asked to provide additional documentation such as your transcripts and degrees, your plan for paying for your education, and more.

Preparing for the Interview

As part of the application process, most applicants are required to attend an interview, unless the applicant is 13 and younger or 80 and older, at which point it is generally not required. It is on the applicant to schedule their interview around the same time they fill out their application. To schedule your interview, you will need to schedule it through the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your country. It is possible to schedule your interview at another U.S. Embassy or Consulate. However, it may be more difficult to qualify for a visa. When applying for your visa, we recommend doing so as early as possible, as wait times and appointment for interviews vary by location, season, and visa category. Prior to your interview, you may be required to pay an application fee. As stated above, if you are not required to pay prior to your interview, you will need to bring the necessary fee to your interview.

Extending Your Stay

Students who have a type F visa will need to depart the United States within 60 days after their program end date. Those who fail to leave within that time frame will become out of status, meaning their visas will be automatically voided. Additionally, failure to leave the United States may also result in the individual being ineligible for visas in the future.

That being said, if a student wishes to extend their visa, they may request to do us through the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website.

Reach Out to Our Team

If you are having trouble applying for a student visa in the United States, our team of immigration lawyers at the Law Office of Raymond O. Griffith in Baltimore is here to help. We have years of experience working with people just like you, and we can provide you with the information and support you need. Explore our website to learn more about the services we have to offer, and when you’re ready, reach out to our office to schedule an appointment today!

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