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How to Apply for a Student Visa to the U.S.

Wherever you're from in the world -- Canada, Korea, Australia, or the UK -- this guide will help you get temporary citizenship in the United States so you can study at any college or university in the country.


  • Step 1: Select schools Select the schools you would like to attend and start the admission process as early as possible before applying for your student visa.
  • Step 2: Wait for acceptance Wait for the school to accept you -- at which time they will issue you, the student, an I-20 form so you can get your student visa.
  • Step 3: Fill out Form F-1 Obtain and fill out the F-1 student visa application. Be sure to read and understand all the rules and expectations upon entering the country.
  • TIP: The student visa application can be found online and at any U.S. consulate or embassy.
  • Step 4: Visit a U.S. consulate or embassy Visit a U.S. consulate or embassy with both the I-20 form and F-1 student visa application to start the approval process.
  • TIP: Applications received 120 days or more prior to the class start date will be held until 120 days before the start date to be processed.
  • Step 5: Obtain form I-539 Obtain form I-539 from a U.S. consulate or embassy if you are already in the country and want to change your status to a foreign student. You will need your I-20 form and to pay a fee.
  • Step 6: Move to the U.S. Move the U.S. no sooner than 30 days before the first class date. Once you're here, get your study on and make your family and country proud.
  • FACT: For the 2008-2009 school year, over 670,000 foreign students attended a U.S. college or university, an 8 percent climb from the previous year.

You Will Need

  • List of schools
  • I-20 form
  • F-1 student visa application
  • U.S. consulate or embassy
  • Form I-539
  • Internet access (optional)

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