How To Get a US Student Visa?

Unless you are a Canadian you need to visit an embassy for a student visa before you board any  flight to come study in the  US.

The US government specifically categories all prospective Student Visa seekers as “non immigrants” and subject them to those conditions and limitations.

We know that like most people in the developing world you are probably terrified of any visa or immigration process to the US. Much of your entire hopes and dreams depend on your ability to make a positive impression to the US consulate and obtain a Student Visa. That can be a huge burden to bear. However, if you follow our guidelines and tips that follow, you will join the ranks of the hundreds that we successful helped navigate the immigration and  Student Visa process.

Step 1 – Understand the Student Visa Categories

There are several categories of student visas available. But since we are dealing with university degree seekers, we will focus the discussion on two:

  1. F Visa (Student Visa)
  2. J Visa (Exchange Visa)

Step 2 – Understand the Student Visa Application Process

Once you understand these two broad student visa categories and have a sense for which one you will be required to get, the next step is Understand the Student Visa Application Process.

Step 3 – Student Visa Interview

A key part of the overall student visa process is your visit to the US embassy or consulate, for the student visa interview.  This is where as we say in the US “the rubber meets the road”.  This is where you have a chance to make a great first impression and get the US consulate to grant you a student visa to pursue your dream of attending a US university.

Drawing on numerous interactions with hundreds of students that have successfully walked that path, we compiled a list of  Student Visa Interview Tips to ready you for that big day.

Before we leave this topic one final word …

Maintaining Student Visa Status – key to the jewels

The Student Visa is really the key to the jewels that can come from studying in the US. Here’s why:

All the post graduation immigration options will be yours if you maintain the terms and conditions of the student or exchange visa.

Optional Practical Training(OPT), Academic Training, and permission to work, on campus during your school years, are all significant immigration benefits characteristic of the United States.

You have the opportunity to earn a significant part of your study cost in the USA with your student visa status. Guard and protect that status. If it is your desire to eventually settle in the USA, maintaining your student status clears a direct path to permanent resident status and even citizenship. Keep that in mind throughout your student career, and under NO circumstance should you violate your student visa status.

{ 39 comments… read them below or add one }

Nayas January 7, 2014 at 11:35 am

Hello prof…i recently went for an students visa interview and was refused after i was asked to define bachelors degree but the definition was not adequately defined…i am planning on revisiting the embassy but this time i have been accepted by a different university which i stated during my earlier interview that i applied to when i was asked whether i applied to any other university apart from the one i was planning to go.This present uni relatively cheaper and with a partial scholarship.do think its advisable to return for an interview after barely one week?

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Professor_B February 5, 2014 at 5:18 am

Sorry to not answer timely. NOT advisable until the next semester. We are willing to counsel students individually prior to going for a visa. Indicate if you want such help.

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alex December 10, 2013 at 11:04 am

i was refused visa at the us embassy from nigeria,i think it was my fault i did not go with my transcript and any exam score result and i did not go with my original waec result.i want to get it and reapply.

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Professor_B December 18, 2013 at 11:59 pm

Which place? Abuja or Lagos? Did they specifically ask for it? Or did they ask other questions. Don’t assume that is the reason.

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Yomi December 5, 2013 at 3:05 pm

Hi Professor,
I am 17 yrs, No SAT, no TOEFL because the college didn’t require it. Accepted with my WAEC and I had to translate it.
Tuition is $6200 annually and my UNcle statement of account boast of 22,000000 which is over $150,000.
I just went for an interview today and I was denied but for what reason other than not being able to convince the VO that I’m actually going there to study? That I’m not sure.
The interview goes thus…
What’s your name?
Me: gave her my name
What school are you going?
Houston community college
Were you accepted in any other colleges?
No, I only applied to HCC because it’s the most cost effective way to start college plus my uncle leaves their and that eliminate housing expenses. MY UNCLE IN THE STATE IS A CITIZEN.
What are you studying?
Business Information Technology
Who is paying for your tuition?
My uncle who works at NNPC IN ABUJA NIGERIA as an Engineer and has more than surplus in his account.
Are you going alone?
Yes…
She gave me a paper. She denied me and said I can reapply for the interview.
SHE DIDN’T EVEN OPEN ANY OF MY DOCUMENTS NEITHER DID SHE ASK FOR ANYTHING.

Please Professor, any advice be? I don’t want to go there again and get denied.

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Professor_B December 19, 2013 at 12:06 am

Ah yes….familiar. This is the proverbial uncle story….essentially a cliche to the ears of a visa officer. The sad reality is that there are so many Nigerian students who arrive in the USA underfunded with a low probability of ever returning that the consulates are cracking down. Although most Nigerians who enter the USA as students eventually become productive citizens, in many instances, the student visa is a handy end around the immigrant visa process. You have likely been denied on the basis of sheer probability—a classic 214-B.

Here are the bad things against you— Community College; Houston; No SAT or TOEFL; Uncle and not parents as sponsor. ALL Bad.

Area with lots of Nigerians and a community for refuge or a “set up marriage.” Uncles are not seen as parents in American culture. Does not resonate as to why they would pay to educate you.

HERE is your chance…DO NOT go back to the embassy until…

You have done the SAT and the TOEFL;
You have an admission to a good four year institution
You have parents who can demonstrate that they are supporting you.

Since it is your SECOND time, you will need to show these differences in order to overcome the hurdles of your first denial. Take a year; put yourself together; and try again in August.

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allison mcclean October 6, 2013 at 12:24 pm

Hi, I am Irish, a mature Student wanting to get a teaching Primary degree. My husband and I want to move to the USA from Germany where my husband is an engineer. He will work in America and Support me financially whilst I hope to go and get my degree… However, is that possible as I would be a mature Student undergrade BUT I do have a lot of experience in working with children and in Schools. I am 40 yrs Young.
Many thanks for all you Prior Information.
Allison

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professor_b November 30, 2013 at 3:41 pm

A bit of confusion here. Will your husband be moving to the USA on a particular visa status pertaining to his job? Will you have Green Cards? Will you be applying for a student visa? One does not just move to the USA and start working….so I need some clarity.

As for you and school….do not be deterred by being “mature.” I have brought over 400 “mature” students to the USA—between 25 and 43 years old…and many have been more successful than the traditional age student.

The chosen profession is perfect for a mor mature student. So clarify how you plan to do this legally, and i will be hapy to suggest options. Definitely follow your dreams.

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ashik al mashrur haque April 27, 2013 at 10:23 pm

sir with all due respect again im applying but if my aunt who lives there sponsors me would that be a problem when i face the embassy because the agents say it is better if my dad is the sponsor…could you specify the problems i could face if my aunt is the sponsor??
Im applying from Bangladesh and my aunt is an U.S citzen and green card holder….

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ashik al mashrur haque April 27, 2013 at 10:25 pm

P.S i am applying for an university as an international student

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Illeasu Mohammed February 22, 2013 at 12:21 pm

hi im illeasu of Ghana, i have been offered admission to study an associate in pre nursing studies in a community college in u.s.
i have a high sch. cert. and a health training sch. cert. here in Ghana. without any standardise test core. do i have a chance to obtain f1 visa?

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Professor_B April 17, 2013 at 4:32 pm

Nursing is a tough area. Ghana is a tough countries. On raw data, the odds are against you. But it is not impossible. I think it is possible if you have a clear cut intent; a full admission with test scores etc; a strong financial statement, and possibly some travel history.

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Mira surkheti February 22, 2013 at 11:37 am

Dear sir/madam

I am permanent resident of Nepal. I want to study business in the university of usa. can i apply for american visa

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Professor_B April 17, 2013 at 3:55 pm

You can first get admitted to the university, show your financial ability, and the university will handle the documentation you need for your student visa. Work on getting admitted first.

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Mohamed Ahmed February 19, 2013 at 8:45 pm

Hi.
I’m a 16 year old boy who live in England,im hoping to get a student visa to go to america so i could do college and uni there.Could you tell me what subjects and courses i have to do to get more chance of a student visa

P.S
My Grandparents Live in America So Would that Guarantee A Visa ?
Thanks

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Professor_B April 17, 2013 at 3:54 pm

Your student visa is not linked officially to the subjects. As a British citizen, once you have been admitted to a college or university, and once you have the finances and academic qualification, providing you do not have any factors indicating an intent to live in the USA, you are highly likely to get a student visa. Grandparents are not typically a help or hindrance.

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Cherry October 30, 2012 at 4:37 pm

Dear Sir/Madame,
I am a permanent resident of USA but a Canadian Citizen. My husband and my youngest daughter are both US citizen. I rec’d my green card in March 2011. I have 2 daughters from my previous marriage and they are 27 and 24 (both are single, Canadian citizen, working and graduated from university). They would like to live in US permanently so that we will be close to each other. Is it possible for me to sponsor them and how long would they have to wait to get a green card? I am a stay home mom and my husband is willing to give an affidavit of support so I can sponsor both of them. Please help ….

Thank you kindly,

Cherry

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Professor_B January 24, 2013 at 9:22 am

Sorry for the late response. This is a bit outside our purview. It is best to direct at a licensed immigration attorney. We can dispense advice to students on visa matters but they are just school counselor level expertise.

That said—generally, a US citizen can sponsor adult children much more effectively. And that is a fairly long process depending on country of origin. Canada would have a high immigration quota, so a visa number can take some time for that category.

As a permanent resident, the wait time would be too long to make it happen. If you are eligible for US citizenship, then consider it. The Canadian government would not disenfranchise you unless you voluntarily relinquish your citizenship there.

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Arnold Mbandi September 23, 2012 at 10:59 am

Hi I have been denied a visa two times I have a scholarship in tennis and soccer they told me that I don’t have enough ties cause my mum is a widow and my brother an american citizen so he will support my stay there. But apart from my brother I have an extended family here also my other brothers and sisters. Since my brother went he’s been going on com ming back every year. After the 2nd denial I enrolled in a college to get my diploma and I have a steady job with nice income. If I give it a another try how will it go? Also my brother has acquired land here and he’s building a house I’m supposw to go for the fall. I’m from Mombasa Kenya I’m majoring in speech rhetoric and communication and a minor in biblical ministries please help me. GOD BLESS YOU

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professor_b October 3, 2012 at 11:00 pm

See Answer below.

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Arnold Mbandi September 23, 2012 at 10:58 am

Hi I have been denied a visa two times I have a scholarship in tennis and soccer they told me that I don’t have enough ties cause my mum is a widow and my brother an american citizen so he will support my stay there. But apart from my brother I have an extended family here also my other brothers and sisters. Since my brother went he’s been going on comming back every year. After the 2nd denial I enrolled in a college to get my diploma and I have a steady job with nice income. If I give it a another try how will it go? Also my brother has accquired land here and he’s building a house I’m supposw to go for the fall. I’m from Mombasa Kenya I’m majoring in speech rhetoric and communication and a minor in biblical ministries please help me. GOD BLESS YOU

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professor_b October 3, 2012 at 10:59 pm

Several factors may need to be clarified. VERY UNLIKELY that any person will have a scholarship in two athletic disciplines. Does not happen. And a Kenyan with a US scholarship in Tennis? Or in Soccer for that matter? Both are rare. So my skepticism radar is up.

If you were a standard age athlete, with an NCAA clearing house pass, it is unlikely you would be denied a visa. That too, does not happen too often.

The course of study, probability that you are older, no clear source of income to support your studies, and the excessive US ties, all conspire against you.

How about giving me a CLEAR story about what school, what scholarship, what program, when you were denied, first, your age, etc…and I can be of more help.

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Arnold Mbandi October 5, 2012 at 4:52 am

Its not the ncaa its the naia but its also competitive. I was denied the first time in January. I’m 25yrs right now and when I went to the embassy I in january I was 24 then the second time I was 25 that time I didn’t have a letter to show I was in college and I heard no job I was doing voluntary coaching and helping in our church with the youth now I have a job not of good income and also I’m in school and I have got land which my late father left it for me. I have a lot of projects for the community which I want to start but without knowledge I can’t do that’s why I’m praying it works out. Also my relatives and siblings are here because I was born here my brother usually comes back every year to visit and the only reason why he’s there was a decision that was made by him and he’s wife but they visit every year.

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Ijeoma Eheduru September 4, 2012 at 2:02 pm

I need clarification on these issues: What is the difference between F1 visa and J1 visa? Which is most suitable for an International student who wants to study in USA? Also, I want to know the universities that easily accept International students to study Masters. Thanks

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professor_b September 10, 2012 at 3:51 pm

Read the site thoroughly. All of these questions are answered. Also refer to my answer in the other forum.

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Jones Osafo Jones June 30, 2012 at 5:57 pm

I have an HND certificate in Graphic Design and got admission to study the same course in Youngstown State University in Youngstown, Ohio. Is it also going to be difficult for me to get a visa to continue my education as a transfer student. Thanks

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professor_b July 21, 2012 at 7:36 pm

Well it depends. What is your country of origin? What is your financial situation? What is your age? Have you been to the embassy before.? Generically, I can infer that you are from West Africa, and given ONLY that information, I would say that it will be harder statistically for you than for another person, generically speaking, in another region. So expect a heavy burden of proof. If you give me more information, I can be more specific.

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Jones Osafo Jones July 22, 2012 at 7:38 pm

Thanks Prof_b. By God’s grace, i had a successful and shot interview though. I can say the simplest and the shortest interview ever not even a question about my University. It was God Prof..

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Professor-B August 13, 2012 at 6:18 pm

Glad it worked out. Few hard and fast rules when it comes to Embassies that is not subject to the law of happenstance.

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EWALEFOH EBOSETALE May 20, 2012 at 8:44 pm

Good to know that you are online to render assistance to people wanting to study in the US.I was offered admission to study in one of the University sometime ago,was however denied VISA,because the consular felt I was not going to return back to my country after my study,which I think is wrong.How do I make this DREAM of getting an AMERICAN DEGREE come through?

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Professor_B June 3, 2012 at 2:13 pm

This may not be what you want to hear, but given a 214B denial, especially when expressed in those terms. I would advise that you GO TO SCHOOL in your country for your first degree. Believe it or not, this will actually make your dream of the USA more plausible. How? First, it will cost you less—chances are you are financially challenged and that led to your denial. But getting that degree in your country, at lower cost, all you have to do is WELL….sky high grades. That OPENS UP the USA to you at the next level, master’s or PhD, and quite possibly completely free. Moreover, the embassy will be impressed that you actually went ahead to school, rather than persistently trying to get a US visa. So they will be much more inclined to honor your request at the next level—and you will not have the financial burden if you have done well. This is the definitive solution for the economically challenged and for folks denied a visa at the undergrad level. Don’t rush to force your way into the USA. It will just lead to multiple denials and a waste of time. Get that degree at home or in a neighboring country…do well…and the USA will be there for you.

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Siar April 2, 2012 at 6:18 pm

I was a student back in the US. I had F1(one entry) student visa valid until Aug 2012.
This January I came legally through Vive La Casa to Canada and made refugee claim.
A week after coming here I found out that I cant study which is really important to me. I talked to my college back in the US and they agreed to issue me new Sevis and I20 for Fall 2012.
I asked Canadian Immigrations for my passport to get new US visa but they said ” We would only give your passport if you withdraw you refugee claim”.
I talked to different lawyer in the States and here in Canada about my problem but no one showed me the right way.
During last two months I called all the US embassy numbers in Canada and US customs and borders but it didn’t work
Please guide me who to contact and how to solve this problem.

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professor_b May 15, 2012 at 10:07 pm

The Canadian authorities are correct….REFUGEES are not mobile and allowed to roam the world…when u enter a country and assert a refugee claim…it is based on a degree of desperation that would preclude what you are seeking…I would say that even making that request likely could (and probably should) doom your refugee claim. But this is beyond our purview. Contact a qualified immigration lawyer in Canada to represent you as this is a serious matter.

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Siar June 15, 2012 at 9:25 pm

So what are the ways to go back to US for me from Canada? What if get a new passport from my home country embassy and apply for US visa?is that illegal?
I contacted a lot of lawyers here but none of them showed me the right way.
If you know a qualified immigration lawyer please let me know.
thanks

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Azeez Akeem Ayodeji January 17, 2012 at 11:44 pm

I love america,i like to study economic there,i hope ya’ll we will help me because is very important to my future,how much amount he will course me??.may God continue to help and bless ya’ll.

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Professor_B January 25, 2012 at 3:59 pm

That all depends on the school and if it is a grad or undergrad degree. Do your research.

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sadi taradeh August 13, 2011 at 10:40 pm

i want to study medical physics in a good and cheap universities

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Forkuo Andrews January 27, 2011 at 11:31 am

hi can i apply for america visa

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Caleb March 7, 2009 at 4:01 pm

If you have been refused visa in another embassy, of a different country apart from the US is it going to affect the outcome of your US student Visa application?

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