A visa is required to study in the United States
In addition, it is essential that all academic institutions record the admission of their students and the course data to be tracked in a follow-up system in an automated database known as the “Visitor Information System”. Students and exchanges (SEVIS).
Candidates must contact the institution directly to check in advance that registration information has been recorded correctly and quickly in this database before applying for the visa.
It is important to note that applications for F, M and J visas are only processed when the embassy has been able to confirm the student’s registration in this electronic database. This examination also applies to the families of the principal candidates and students who have already started studies in the United States.
There are two types of student visa for the United States. The so-called F-1 and M-1, which differ in the type of studies to be carried out, but both seek to obtain a degree, diploma or certificate. Fortunately, there are no limits on the number of student visas that can be awarded per year.
- F-1 Academic or Linguistic Studies
This is the most common student visa, intended for those wishing to study in institutions of higher education, or long language courses. Courses must be completed only at the specific institution that approved the application, although a change of career or establishment is permitted by duly notifying the immigration authorities. It is only allowed to work in academic institutions and for practical training or internship at the end of the course. This visa shall be for a duration equal to the estimated time the study program will take.
It is aimed at those who wish to pursue vocational studies (non-academic) or in areas of professional competence required by the labor market. The student will be limited to taking courses only at the specific institution that has approved the application and can never change career or study. In most cases, it is only allowed to work within the university or as part of a practical training program or internship. It is authorized for a maximum of one year.
Both types of visa allow you to travel and stay in the country with your immediate family (spouses and children), who have F-2 or M-2 visas. However, companions will not be able to work during their stay.
Procedures and Requirements
Student visa application procedures must be processed directly in the US consular authorities. In the “Authorities” section of this chapter, you will find all the information you need about the US Embassy and how to contact the immigration authorities.
Below, we will describe step by step the procedures that you must perform to apply for a student visa and the requirements that you must meet to achieve this goal.
Letter of acceptance from an American institution
Before you start processing the visa before the embassy, you must have a letter or proof of acceptance from a study house that has the approval of the US government to receive foreign students. Most universities and other institutions have this validation.
The first thing to do is to select at least 6 universities in which you can study the academic programs of your interest. Then you need to contact each of these study houses to let them know your desire to enter.
This first contact with the university of your choice can be made by mail or by e-mail and should be addressed to the admissions department. In a short text, you identify yourself by mentioning your full name (always write your name in the same way throughout the admission process, especially if you translate it into English, for example, Richard instead of Ricardo) Age, nationality, academic degree and your clear intentions to study in this institution. It is also important that you indicate the selected academic program and the date on which you wish to start your studies. You do not need to send any type of document. This letter is simply to formally ask the university to send you the application form and the information documents necessary to successfully complete the admission process.
If you wish to obtain financial assistance from the university, do not report this first contact about your intentions. Reserve the formal request for financial support when you submit the official application form.