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study visa guides

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how to get usa student visa

This is a full guide to get USA Student Visa that includes all necessary easily understandable information step by step. Before you apply for a visa, you must be accepted and approved by the university or program you applied for. If you are not then I recommend you read How to apply for Study in USA guide first.

If you are confused about which institute to choose then read the guide USA Top Colleges and Universities or All Universities of USA for help.

When you are accepted then that institute will give the necessary approval documentation to be submitted when you apply for a student visa. If you have decided to study abroad at USA then you will need to know about the visa. There are three types of USA visas that can be issued to the students of Pakistan.



F1 visa:  (Student Visitor)

An F-1 student is defined by the Immigration and Nationality Act as an individual:

"Having a residence in a foreign country which he has no intention of abandoning, who is qualified to pursue a full course of study and who seeks to enter the United States temporarily and solely for the purpose of pursuing such a course of study at an established college, university, academic high school, elementary school, or other academic institution or in a language training program in the United States.”

  •   You will also need an F-1 visa if your course of study is of more than 18 hours a week.
  •   If you are applying for a full time university study, it is your visa.


J1 visa: (Exchange Visitor)

It is for those who intend to get a training which is not offered in their home country. J-1 visas are only issued to students and scholars when their financial sponsor or exchange program requires that they study on a J-1 visa.



M1 Visa: (Vocational Student)

It is temporary student visa that allows us to attend an accredited vocational or non- academic school, such as a trade school or practical training.


To Attend

You Need Visa Category of

   University or College



   High School or Private Elementary School


   Another Institution/Language Course Program

    Vocational or other recognized nonacademic institution,

    other than a language training program.



Application Items:

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

1.       A Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application (DS-160) Form. Here is DS-160 Form and for more information about this form visit DS-160 Details.

2.       Photographs in soft and hard copy, taken within the last six months with specifications:

    i.            Sized such that the head is between 1 inch and 1 3/8 inches (22 mm and 35 mm) or 50% and 69% of the image's total height from the bottom of the chin to the top of the head.

    ii.            Taken in front of a plain white or off-white background.

     iii.            Taken in full-face view directly facing the camera.

     iv.           With a neutral facial expression and both eyes open.

     v.           Taken in clothing that you normally wear on a daily basis (No Hats, Uniform, Tinted Lenses glasses, Headphones and Glare on glasses).







3.       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.

4.       A receipt showing payment of your $160 non-refundable nonimmigrant visa application processing fee paid in rupees.

    a.       If a visa is issued, there may be an additional visa issuance reciprocity fee.

    b.      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.

5.       Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status:

    a.       Your school/university will send you a SEVIS-generated Form I-20 once they have entered your information in the SEVIS database.

    b.      If you intend to reside in the United States with the student, must be registered in the Student and Exchange Visitor System (SEVIS).

6.       Your academic preparation, such as:

    a.       Transcripts, diplomas, degrees, or certificates from schools and colleges you attended.

    b.      Standardized test scores required by your U.S. school.

7.       Your intent to depart the United States upon completion of the course of study.

8.       Bank statement will be required to prove your financial situation is enough strong to bear your expenses.

9.       Documents will be required to show if you have got any scholarship.

10.   After completing visa interview you will get your visa within three weeks, in case of any delay, do contact to the embassy. Here are some USA Student Visa Interview Questions for preparation.


How to Apply:
1.       Complete the Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application DS-160 Form.

2.       Pay the visa application fee.

3.       Schedule your appointment. You will need the following information in order to schedule your appointment:

    a.       Your passport number

    b.      The receipt number from your Visa Fee receipt.

    c.       The ten (10) digit barcode number from your DS-160 confirmation page.


4.       Visit the U.S. Embassy or Consulate on the date and time of your visa interview.

    a.       You must bring a printed copy of your appointment letter

    b.      Your DS1-160 confirmation page.

    c.       At least one taken within the last six months

    d.      Your current and all old passports, 

    e.       The original visa fee payment receipt

    f.        Without all of these items will not be accepted.


If Your Age is

Then Interview is

13 or Younger

Generally not Required

14 – 79

Required (Some Exceptions for Renewal)

80 or Above

Generally not Required



Do not present false documents. Fraud or misrepresentation can result in permanent visa ineligibility. If confidentiality is a concern, please know that the U.S. Embassy or Consulate will not make your true information available to anyone and will respect the confidentiality of your information.