How to apply for a Student Visa
Download the F-1 Student Visa Application Guide.
Select where in the Unites States of America you would like to live and study.
Choose the type of school you would like like to attend, such as: University, College, Graduate School, ESL (English as Second Language) or Vocational School.
Contact the school and start the admission process.
Upon acceptance by school, the school will issue you an I-20 form (the required document you need to apply for F-1 student visa).
With the I-20 form and the F-1 Visa Application Guide you can apply for a student visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate. If you are already in the Unites States you may be allowed change your immigration status to student.
You may be legally authorized to work in the United States while on a F-1 student visa.
How long may I stay on my F-1 student visa?
When you enter the United States on a student visa, you will usually be admitted for the duration of your student status. That means you may stay as long as you are a full time student, even if the F-1 visa in your passport expires while you are in America. For a student who has completed the course of studies shown on the I-20, and any authorized practical training, the student is allowed the following additional time in the U.S. before departure:
- F-1 student - An additional 60 days, to prepare for departure from the U.S. or to transfer to another school.
- M-1 student - An additional 30 days to depart the U.S. (Fixed time period, in total not to exceed one year). The 30 days to prepare for departure is permitted as long as the student maintained a full course of study and maintained status. An M student may receive extensions up to three years for the total program.
As an example regarding duration of status, if you have a visa that is valid for five years that will expire on January 1, 2001, and you are admitted into the U.S. for the duration of your studies (often abbreviated in your passport or on your I-94 card as "D/S"), you may stay in the U.S. as long as you are a full time student. Even if January 1, 2001 passes and your visa expires while in America, you will still be in legal student status. However, if you depart the U.S. with an expired visa, you will need to obtain a new one before being able to return to America and resume your studies. A student visa cannot be renewed or re-issued in the United States; it must be done at an Embassy or Consulate abroad.