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Study in the USA


If you intend to study in the United States, you must first enroll in an American university or higher education institution. There are basic requirements to register in an American school or university: a good level in your field of study is mandatory. Entry tests are also performed such as:

  • the Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) or the American College Test (ACT) to assess students level in English and mathematics;
  • the Graduate Record Examination for students enrolling in master's or PhD;
  • the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) for students enrolling in MBA;
  • the TOEFL to assess your level in English, unless you register in an English course.

Evidence of sufficient funds to pay for tuition fees and to maintain yourself in the country during your study stay is compulsory. Selection is tough among applicants and a cover letter is required in order to consolidate one’s application. The university or host institution must issue a document certifying both one’s eligibility for training and the conformity of the application so that the applicant can proceed with the student visa application at the embassy or consulate of the United States in his/her country of residence. This document is known as form I-20 for students or DS-2019 for internships, au pair jobs etc. For more information about student’s exchange programs, partnership, grants or scholarships available, contact your home university or the embassy or consulate of the United States in your country. 

Student’s visas in the U.S.: 

Visa F-1: designed for students wishing to study full time in an American university or higher education institution.

Note: you cannot work with an F-1 visa in your first year of study. However, you may file an employment authorization application the following year (Form I-765 - Application for Employment Authorization); 

Visa J-1: designed for both students wishing to enroll in artistic or cultural studies and students undertaking internships in the United States;
Visa M-1: designed for students wishing to enroll in technical or specialized studies. Visa extensions are granted at a rate of one additional month for each period of 4 months of studies. 

Applying for a visa

Once you have received forms I-20 form or DS-2019 from your school or university, you can go ahead with your visa application by completing another set of forms such as: form DS-156 (Non-Immigrant Visa Application), form DS-158 (Contact Information and Work History for Non-immigrant Visa Applicant) and form DS-157 (Supplemental Non-immigrant Visa Application - for men aged 16 to 45 years only).  All these forms are available and downloadable on the U.S. Department of State website. Note: forms listed above are gradually replaced by a single form, form DS-160, which is already in use in some U.S. embassies abroad. Check with the embassy or consulate of the United States in your home country. Fees apply for the visa. Once all the required documents collected and approved by the embassy or consulate, a final compulsory interview in English will be set with an immigration adviser. If successful, a student visa will be issued.


Whatever your student visa, you must register online in the SEVIS system (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System). Fees apply. 

  Useful Links: 

U.S immigration and customs enforcement - SEVIS
U.S. Department of State – student visas

United States Embassy worldwide - directory

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.
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