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Student Visas


Student Visas & Studying in the United States

^ What is SEVP and SEVIS?

SEVP, which stands for Student and Exchange Visitor Program. monitors international students and their dependents while in the U.S. to ensure that they remain in compliance with their visa status. The program also certifies what schools can enroll international students. International students studying in the U.S. can only attend an SEVP-certified school. To be certified, schools must prove that they are operational, meaning that they possess the necessary facilities and instructors, and engage in course instruction prior to requesting SEVP certification.

Finally, SEVP manages the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), which helps monitor students and schools for compliance with U.S. laws.

^ What permissions do incoming international students need to study in the U.S.?

A citizen of a foreign country who wishes to study in the U.S. must first obtain an F-1 student visa through the U.S. embassy or consulate in their home country. In addition to the requirement that the school you wish to attend is SEVP certified, you must be enrolled as a full-time student, show sufficient financial support to complete your studies, and be able to prove that you do not intend to abandon your foreign residency.

Before applying for an F-1 visa, there are some preliminary steps that must be followed:

  • Acceptance at an SEVP-approved institution – Form I-20

    Assuming you have accepted an SEVP-approved institution’s offer of admission, your school will provide you with Form I-20 (Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status). This form is the primary document that verifies you have been admitted to school in the U.S.

  • Payment of SEVIS I-190 fee

    This is a $200 fee that goes towards maintenance of the SEVIS program and can be paid online at www.fmjfee.com.

  • Completion of a U.S. student visa application

    With the SEVIS I-90 fee paid, you are now eligible to apply for an F-1 visa. go to the U.S. Department of State’s website (https://ceac.state.gov/genniv/) and complete a DS-160 Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application form. This filing requires payment of a nonrefundable visa application fee of $160.00. Do not forget to print out a payment receipt, as it is one of several documents you will need to bring with you to your embassy or consulate interview.

  • Schedule and attend a U.S. embassy or consulate interview

    Once you have electronically submitted your online application, your next step is to contact the U.S. embassy or consulate at which you are applying for an F-1 visa. At your interview, you will need to bring with you a valid passport, a copy of Form DS-160, the visa application fee payment receipt, a passport photo, and Form I-20.

Based on the information you provided, together with your interview, embassy or consulate officers will determine your eligibility for an F-1 visa.

^ I'm a current student [on an F1 visa]. How soon can I start working after I graduate? What is required to work in the U.S. after I graduate?

(See the Employment section.)

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