Student Visas: Non-Immigrant Visa in the U.S.

posted byLA Attorneys GroupJuly 13, 2021

If you are a student who is looking to study in the United States, you will need a student visa.

The United States is one of the most popular places for students around the world to come and study, whether on an exchange or for their entire high school or undergraduate education.

If you are hoping to study in the United States in the future but are a national of a different country, in this article, we are going to be discussing:

What is a Non-Immigrant Student Visa?

A student visa is a type of non-immigrant visa , which is meant for those who do not aim to permanently immigrate to the United States but need a visa for an extended period of time, such as for work, study or travel.

Not to be confused with an immigrant visa, which is for those hoping to obtain citizenship in the United States, a non-immigrant visa is only intended for short-term stays and requires that the immigrant is sponsored.

In the case of a student visa, the student would be sponsored by the school or university they are attending in the United States.

As the United States is an extremely popular destination for study, many international students apply for and are granted a visa to study in the U.S every year!

The Process of Obtaining a Student Visa for United States

If you are hoping to obtain a student visa for the United States, it is important to understand the process and necessary requirements.

For short-term, non-immigrant visas, such as student visas, nationals of other countries can apply at the U.S. embassy or consulate in their home country.

One should begin by filling out the online application ( Form DS-160 ). While filling out this application there are a number of documents and information that you should need.

These documents and information include:

  • Passport

  • your travel itinerary, such as your travel arrangements for coming to the United States

  • The dates of your last five visits to the United States and your international travel history

  • Your resume or CV to provide educational or vocational information

  • Additional information, depending on your circumstances

For a student visas, you will also need to include your SEVIS (Student & Exchange Visitor Information System) ID and information about the school and program you are studying at.

You will also need to upload a photo of yourself for the application. Be sure to read the guidelines for photos on the U.S. Department of State’s website.

Once you have completed your online application, you must schedule an interview, to which you should bring a printed copy of your application.

You will schedule this interview in the U.S. Embassy or consulate in your home country and prepare the documents you need to bring with you.

These include:

  • your passport

  • Nonimmigrant Visa Application

  • Form DS-160 confirmation page

  • Application fee payment receipt

  • Photo

  • Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status, Form DS-2019

  • Training/Internship Placement Plan, Form DS-7002.

Types of Students Visas for the United States

Let’s discuss the different types of student visas that a visiting student can apply for depending on their circumstances.

The most common student visa is the F-1 visa which is required for full-time students studying at any accredited institution in the United States. This applies to both universities and high schools as well as seminaries and conservatories.

The F-1 visa only allowed for employment on campus, meaning that a student on this visa cannot be employed by an organization or company outside of their institution.

In addition to the F-1 visa, there are also F-2 and F-3 visas.

The F-2 visa is meant for the children and spouses of F-1 visa holders. For example, if you are moving to the United States to study but have a spouse or children, they are allowed to move with you, but they must hold an F-2 visa.

The F-3 visa is for citizens of the nations bordering the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Students who commute to the United States for study from Canada or Mexico are granted an F-3 so that they can enter the country freely for school.

The other most common student visa is the J-1 visa, which is for students participating in an educational or work-related exchange program. However, to be eligible for this visa, the visitor must be proficient in English.

For example, the J-1 visa would be granted to camp counselors, teachers, interns, and students on exchange and the program must be focused on cultural exchange. Similar to the F-1 visa, J-1 visa holders can also obtain a J-2 visa for their dependents who would need to move to the United States with them.

One can only obtain a J-1 visa if they have applied for and are accepted to an accredited exchange program.

Finally, for students participating in vocational programs in the United States, there is the M visa. This is for students who are not attending academic institutions.


Obtaining a student visa is necessary for entering the United States for study, for an internship, or for vocational training.

While there are many steps to follow and documents to keep track of, obtaining a student visa for the United States is a seamless process.

If you have any further questions regarding student visas or are planning to obtain a student visa in the near future, contact LA Attorneys today for further guidance.

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