US Student Visa: Requirements ,Everything You Should Know About US Study Visa

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VISA GUIDE: Everything You Should Know About US Work Visa , US Student Visa
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Everything You Should Know About US Student Visa

Overview

The United States welcomes foreign students who wish to study in the country. All student visa applicants must be accepted and approved by their school or programme before applying for a visa. Educational institutions will provide each applicant with the necessary approval documentation to submit when applying for a student visa once they have been accepted.

US Student Visa Descriptions and Qualifications

F-1 Visa
This is the most common type of student visa. If you wish wish to engage in academic studies in the United States at an approved school, such as an accredited U.S. college or university, private secondary school, or approved English language program then you will need an F-1 visa. You will also need an F-1 visa if your course of study is more than 18 hours a week.

M-1 Visa
If you plan engage in non-academic or vocational study or training at a U.S. institution then you will need an M-1 visa.

More information about each of these visas and opportunities for studying in the United States can be found at the Education USA website.

Other Information for US Student Visa

U.S. Public School
U.S. law does not permit foreign students to attend public elementary school (kindergarten to 8th grade) or a publicly funded adult education program.  Hence, F-1 visas cannot be issued for study at such schools.

An F-1 visa can be issued for attendance at a public secondary school (grades 9 to 12), but the student is limited to a maximum of 12 months at the school. The school must also indicate on the I-20 that the student has paid the unsubsidized cost of the education and the amount submitted by the student for that purpose.

For more information about F-1 legal requirements, visit the Department of State website.

Note: Holders of A, E, F-2, G, H-4, J-2, L-2, M-2 or other derivative nonimmigrant visas may enroll in public elementary and secondary schools.


US Student Visa: Requirements ,Everything You Should Know About US Study Visa


VISA GUIDE: Everything You Need To Know About US Work Visa

 

Student Assistance, Finding a U.S. School
Students who hope to enroll in an American educational institution are encouraged to contact and visit one of our EducationUSA Advising Centers at either the U.S. Embassy in Abuja or the U.S. Consulate General in Lagos. For additional details including services available and hours of operation, please visit the EAC website at http://nigeria.usembassy.gov/educational_advising.html

 Dependents for US Student Visa

Spouses and/or unmarried children under the age of 21 who wish to accompany or join the principal visa holder in the United States for the duration of his/her stay require derivative F or M visas. There is no derivative visa for the parents of F or M holders.

Family members who do not intend to reside in the United States with the principal visa holder, but wish to visit for vacations only, may be eligible to apply for visitor (B-2) visas.

Spouses and dependents may not work in the United States on a derivative F or M visa. If your spouse/child seeks employment, the spouse must obtain the appropriate work visa.

What are the US Student Visa Application Items?

To apply for an F or M visa, you must submit the following:

  • A Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application (DS-160) Form. Visit the DS-160 webpage for more information about the DS-160.
  • A passport valid for travel to the United States with a validity date at least six months beyond your intended period of stay in the United States (unless country-specific agreements provide exemptions). If more than one person is included in your passport, each person desiring a visa must submit an application.
  • One (1) 2″x2″ (5cmx5cm) photograph. This page has information about the required photo format.
  • A receipt showing payment of your US$160 non-refundable nonimmigrant visa application processing fee, paid in local currency. This page has more information about paying this fee. If a visa is issued, there may be an additional visa issuance reciprocity fee, depending on your nationality. The Department of State’s website can help you find out if you must pay a visa issuance reciprocity fee and what the fee amount is.
  • An approved Form I-20 from your U.S. school or program.
  • Due to COVID-19, we will temporarily allow student visa applicants to bring electronically transmitted I-20’s for student visa interviews. Students will need to print out the form that was sent to them electronically and bring this hard copy with them to the interview. If issued a visa, they will also need this hard copy of the I-20 to present to CBP officers at the border.

In addition to these items, you must present an interview appointment letter confirming that you booked an appointment through this service. You may also bring whatever supporting documents you believe support the information provided to the consular officer.

Supporting Documents For US Student Visa

Supporting documents are only one of many factors a consular officer will consider in your interview. Consular officers look at each application individually and consider professional, social, cultural and other factors during adjudication. Consular officers may look at your specific intentions, family situation, and your long-range plans and prospects within your country of residence. Each case is examined individually and is accorded every consideration under the law.VISA GUIDE: Everything You Should Know About US Work Visa , US Student Visa

Caution: Do not present false documents. Fraud or misrepresentation can result in permanent visa ineligibility. If confidentiality is a concern, you should bring your documents to the Embassy or Consulate in a sealed envelope. The Embassy/Consulate will not make your information available to anyone and will respect the confidentiality of your information.

You should bring the following documents to your interview:

  • Documents demonstrating strong financial, social, and family ties to your home country that will compel you to return to your country after your program of study in the U.S. ends.
  • Financial and any other documents you believe will support your application and which give credible evidence that you have enough readily-available funds to meet all expenses for the first year of study and that you have access to funds sufficient to cover all expenses while you remain in the United States. M-1 applicants must demonstrate the ability to pay all tuition and living costs for the entire period of their intended stay.
  • Only original copies of bank statements, scholarship award letters, etc.will be accepted.
  • If you are financially sponsored by another person, bring proof of your relationship to the sponsor (such as your birth certificate), the sponsor’s most recent original tax forms and the sponsor’s original bank statements and/or fixed deposit certificates.
  • Documents that show scholastic preparation. Useful documents include school transcripts (original copies are preferable) with grades, public examination certificates (WAEC scores, NECO scores, etc.), standardized test scores (SAT, TOEFL, etc.), and diplomas.

US Student Visa Supporting Documents for Dependents

Applicants with dependents must also provide:

  • Proof of the student’s relationship to his/her spouse and/or child (e.g., marriage and birth certificates)
  • It is preferred that families apply for their visas at the same time, but if the spouse and/or child must apply separately at a later time, they should bring a copy of the student visa holder’s passport and visa, along with all other required documents.

Additional Information for US Student Visa

Optional Practical Training (OPT)
F-1 visa holders may be eligible for up to 12 months of optional practical training following completion of all course requirements for graduation (not including thesis or equivalent), or after completion of all requirements. OPT is separate from a student’s academic work, and time for OPT will not normally be reflected during the student’s academic program or in the completed study date. Students applying for a F visa to do OPT may present an I-20 with an original end of study date that may have passed. However, these I-20s must be annotated by the designated school official to reflect approval of an OPT program that extends beyond the end of the regular period of study. In addition, the student must have proof that USCIS has approved their practical training program or that an application is pending, either in the form of an approved Employment Authorization Card or a Form I-797 indicating that s/he has a pending application for an OPT program.

Validity of Student Visas After a Break in Studies

Students who are away from classes for more than five months can expect to apply for and receive a new F-1 or M-1 student visa to return to school following travel abroad, as explained below.

Students within the U.S.

A student (F-1 or M-1) may lose that status if they do not resume studies within five months of the date of transferring schools or programs, under immigration law. If a student loses status, unless USCIS reinstates the student’s status, the student’s F or M visa would also be invalid for future travel returning to the U.S. For more information see the USCIS website, and instructions for Application for Extend/Change of Nonimmigrant Status Form I-539 to request reinstatement of status.

Students – Returning to the U.S. from Travel Abroad

Students who take a five-month or longer break from their studies in the United States risk losing their F-1 or M-1 status unless their activities abroad are related to their course of study. If there is any doubt about whether their activity is related to their course of study, students should check with their designated school official before leaving.

 

When a returning student who has been outside the United States and out of student status for more than five months presents a previously used, unexpired F-1 or M-1 visa to a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) immigration inspector at the port of entry, the student may be found inadmissible for not having a valid nonimmigrant visa. After allowing the student to withdraw his or her application for admission, CBP may cancel the visa. As a result, students should apply for new visas at an embassy or consulate abroad before returning to the United States to resume their studies after a break of more than five months for reasons unrelated to their course of study.

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