Summer is here! Students planning to study in the United States can get ready for their classes in the fall by planning for their trip now. Americans look forward to welcoming new foreign students to college and university campuses over the next few months. Below are a few tips that we trust will help all of you pursue your education in the United States.
Applying for a student visa is straightforward and the majority of applicants are successful. Last year, we issued visas to more than 86 percent of those applying for student, exchange visitor, and vocational visas. In numbers, we issued 780,000 student, exchange, and vocational visas worldwide. We warmly welcome international students to our country. You bring valuable skills and knowledge to our classrooms, and contribute to advancements in academic fields through your work and research. You also share your rich and diverse culture with the many Americans you meet during your visit. This summer our embassies and consulates abroad are seeing an ever-increasing number of students applying for visas to study in the United States.
Many students have already successfully completed the visa application process. As you prepare for your student visa interview, let us share three important tips:
Our goal is to help every qualified student visa applicant begin his or her program of study on time. It’s important to schedule your appointment as early as possible. While first-time students are permitted to enter the United States only 30 days before studies begin, a student visa can be issued up to 120 days before. Most visa applications are processed in a few days, but there are instances when we require additional information or processing, and it helps to have the time to do this before your expected travel date.
Our travel.state.gov website is your number one resource for U.S. student visa information. You should also visit the website of the embassy or consulate where you will be applying. These websites provide valuable information about the interview process, such as how to schedule an appointment and what to expect during the interview. Our embassies and consulates have procedures to expedite appointments for student visa applicants, so be sure to look for this information if you are having difficulties getting a visa appointment on time.
In addition to the normal visa requirements, you must present certain documentation such as your I-20 form, your Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) receipt, and proof of ability to pay for your education. Our websites have detailed information on what you will need to bring with you to the interview, so be prepared.
Once you have your visa, we can also help you prepare for your arrival in the United States. You can find answers to Frequently Asked Questions on travel.state.gov or visit EducationUSA.state.gov for tips on planning your departure, traveling to the United States, and finding housing.
We continue to look for ways to improve the student visa process to ensure that everyone who qualifies and has a legitimate desire to study in the United States has that opportunity. We wish all who will study here a rich and rewarding experience full of learning opportunities, friendships, and the chance to see more of the United States. Congratulations – and welcome!