Documents Needed to Apply for a U.S. Student Visa

Even if you are accepted by a school, college or university in the United StatesĀ  and have been issued a Form I-20, you will still have to apply for your student visa at a U.S. Consular Post in your home country.


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Documents Needed to Apply for a U.S. Student Visa
Written by Jennifer Aranda.
Updated February 18, 2017 | United States of America

Even if you are accepted by a school, college or university in the United States  and have been issued a Form I-20, you will still have to apply for your student visa at the U.S. Embassy. 

When applying for a student visa, you must meet various visa requirements aside from the SEVIS.  Some of these requirements are:

  • Proof of identity such as your current and old passports and one photograph;
  • Proof that you have been accepted into a program. You will need both pages of the bar-coded, original SEVIS generated Form I-20 and payment of the I-901 SEVIS fee;
  • Academic credentials including relevant English language test results if required by the academic institution, transcripts of record, diplomas, certificates from the schools, colleges or universities you attended;
  • Financial evidence proving that you or your parents have sufficient funds to cover your tuition fee and other school fees and living expenses for the entire duration of your intended study, regardless of its length;
  • Proof that your primary purpose for your travel to the United States is for study.  Sometimes, people will apply for a student visa to join family member who have already immigrated to the U.S.  You cannot use the student visa as a shortcut for any pending immigrant visa petition;
  • Evidence that you will be departing from the United States after you complete your program of study;
  • Documents to prove that you will be returning to your home country after you have completed your studies.

In general, you may not be required to undergo a consular interview if you are 13 years of age and younger or 80 years of age and older.  A consular officer however may at his discretion, still insist on an interview even if you fall within these age brackets.

The current fee for the student visa application is USD160.  You may be required to pay a visa issuance fee, if applicable. 

Having a student visa will allow you to travel to a U.S. port-of-entry and request permission to enter the United States.  It does not however, guarantee you entry in the United States.  U.S. Customs and Border Protection (or CBP), an agency under the Department of Homeland Security officials at the port-of-entry have authority to permit or deny admission to the United States.

If you are admitted to the United States, the CBP official will provide an admission stamp or paper Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record.

Do you have a specific question about the application procedure or visa conditions?  Visit our Frequently Asked Questions segment for US student visas or read about your options to work while studying in the US as an international student

Got a question? Let us know - we're here to help.

About the Author

Jennifer Aranda

Jennifer Aranda

Jennifer S. Aranda is the COO of IVC Immigrant Visa Center, Inc.

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