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Applying for a Visa

If you need to apply for a visa, the most important thing is to apply as early as possible. F-1 students and J-1 exchange visitors are considered non-immigrant visas.

Required Documentation

Please refer to the U.S. Department of State website for documentation requirements for F-1 Students and J-1 Exchange Visitors.

You should also consult your U.S. embassy or consulate to see if there are any additional country-specific visa application requirements.

Visa Application Process

You may apply for a visa up to 120 days prior to your program start date. You should apply at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate with jurisdiction over your place of permanent residence. Although visa applicants may apply at any U.S. consular office abroad, it may be more difficult to qualify for the visa outside the country of permanent residence.

Prior to scheduling your interview, you can check visa appointment waiting times. Please note that depending on your country of residence and field of study, visa processing times can exceed one month, so apply early.

Visa Interview

Student visa applicants must establish, to the satisfaction of the consular officer, that they have binding ties to a residence in a foreign country, which they do not intend to abandon, and that they will depart the U.S. when they have completed their studies.

The NAFSA: Association of International Educators offers a list of 10 points to remember when applying for a visa.

For certain countries, the U.S. Consulate will take from 20-30 days before issuing a visa. You will need to include this delay in your travel plans.  Please review the "10 Points to Remember" listed below prior to your interview.

Wondering what's next? Check out the undergraduate pre-arrival information. Are you a graduate student? Check out the graduate pre-arrival information.