Student Visa: Student Visas for International Students,
College Study in US and More
If you intend to participate in an exchange program, you will need a different US Visa. See J-1 Visa - US Exchange Visitor Visa for US Exchange Programs.
If you are visiting the US primarily for tourism but want to take a short course of study that is recreational or avocational, and less than 18 hours per week, you may be able to do so on a US Visitor Visa. If your course of study is 18 hours or more a week, you will need a US Student Visa.
Before you can come to the United States on a Student Visa, you must be accepted to a school and prove that you have sufficient financial resources (scholarships, loans, family or personal resources) to pay your school and living expenses. See College & University Study in the US - A Guide for International Students to learn about sources of financial aid, applying to a college or university, and organizations in your country that assist international students (foreign students) wishing to study in the USA.
F-1 Student Visa includes academic students in colleges, universities, seminaries, conservatories, academic high schools, other academic institutions, and in language training.
M-1 Student Visa is for people wishing to pursue nonacademic or vocational studies.
Am I Eligible for a US Student Visa?
To be eligible to apply for the F-1 or M-1 Student Visas, you must intend to stay for a temporary period of time and have proof of compelling ties (social, family, economic, professional or other) to a residence outside the United States to which you will return after the visit. You must also meet the following criteria:
You must have successfully completed a course of study normally required for enrollment. Unless you are coming to participate exclusively in an English language training program, you must either be sufficiently proficient in English to pursue the intended course of study, or the school must have made special arrangements for English language courses or teach the course in your native language.
You must prove that sufficient funds are, or will be, available from an identified and reliable financial source to defray all living and school expenses during the period of your study in the US. Specifically, you must prove that you have enough readily available funds to meet all expenses for the first year of US study, and that adequate funds will be available for each subsequent year of study. If you are applying for an M-1 visa, you must have evidence that sufficient funds are immediately available to pay all tuition and living costs for the entire period of your intended stay.
You must be accepted as a full-time student in a U.S. academic educational program, language-training program, or vocational program. The school must be approved by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and the school must send you a Form I-20 (which it receives from the USCIS).
If you are interested in the F-1 Student Visa, see:
F-1 Visa - US Student Visa for College & Academic Study in the US
If you are interested in the M-1 Student Visa, see:
M-1 Visa - US Student Visa for Vocational Study in US
For information on sources of financial aid, on applying to schools, and on organizations in your country that can assist you, see:
College & University Study in the US - A Guide for International Students
If you will be participating in an exchange program, you will need a different visa. See:
J-1 Visa - US Exchange Visitor Visa for US Exchange Programs.
If you are a school interested in being approved for nonimmigrant students, see:
SEVP Certification: Obtain Approval to Receive F-1 Visa or M-1 Visa International Students at My School.