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Visa to Study in the U.S.A: F1, J1 Visa Types, Application Process, Requirements

Anam Shams Anam Shams
Content Curator

Every year millions of students leave their home countries to go to study in the U.S.A. The process isn’t easy. One has to struggle a lot to getting into the universities in US. A major struggle with regards to this is procuring the U.S student visa.

  • US visa is the world’s 3rd most applied visa in the world.
  • The worldwide application acceptance rate for USA Visa is over 86%.
  • The U.S. Department of state has issued 804,173 visas in the year 2017.

Visa to Study in the USA: Different Types 

To study in the USA, the 2 types of visas that are of relevance are Work Visa and Student Visa.

Student Visa to Study in the U.S.A 

There are 3 types of student visas depending on the duration and type of course applied for. These may differ depending upon the different courses and universities in the U.S.A.


These visas are for students who pursue an academic degree at a US accredited university or college or wish to study English at a university or English Institute. These are of 3 major types. 

Visa TypeDescription
F-1 VisaFor full-time students. They can work for 20 hours a week On- Campus.
F-2 VisaFor Dependents of F-1 Visa holders ( Spouse or children)
F-3 VisaFor Mexican and Canadian students who stay in their home country while attending full time or part time course in the USA.


These visas are issued to students who wish to pursue Non- Academic, Vocational studies or Training at a US accredited institution. M visa holders must not live in the USA for more than a year. M visas are of 3 types

Visa TypeDescription
M-1 VisaFor Students pursuing Non-academic or vocational training.
M-2 VisaFor Dependents of M-1 visa holders
M-3 VisaFor border commuters pursuing vocational studies in the USA.


J Visas are issued to students enrolled in an exchange programme in the USA. The stay on this visa is shorter than F and M visas. These are of 2 types

Visa TypeDescription
J-1 Student VisaFor exchange students on a US program.
J-2 VisaFor Dependents of J1 Visa Holders.

Post Study in the U.S.A: Work Visa

Studying in the USA and then working there is the ultimate goal of many international students. Applying for the US work visa immediately after the degree completion is the major concern of all the international students. H1-B is the most sought out visa for most of the Non-US citizens.


  • An offer of employment is required to get an H-1B Visa.
  • The employer would have to file I-129 Petition with U.S citizenship and immigration office.
  • One might also need to hire an attorney to go through the process smoothly.

USA Student Visa Requirements

As per the application process of universities in the U.S.A, a student needs to have the following to procure a US student visa. 

  • Valid passport
  • Form DS-160 (Nonimmigrant visa application confirmation page)
  • Application fee payment Receipt
  • Form I-20 if applying for a Student visa (Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status)
  • Receipt Number on Petition filed by U.S employer (I-129 form) if applying for a work visa.

Study in the U.S.A: Visa Application

Student Visa

  • Minimum bank balance should be equivalent to 1st year’s tuition and living expenses. 
  • Bank statement and proof of scholarships given by universities in the U.S.A. 
  • University will then send eligibility forms i.e. I-2O for F-1 Visa and DS-2019 for J-1 Visa.
  • Complete the SEVIS I-901 form and register with the international visitor database.
  • Pay the SEVIS Fee of $180 for J visa and $200 for F visa.
  • Schedule visa appointment online at
  • Complete the online DS-160 visa form and take a print out of Interview

Work Visa

  • Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker, Form I-129 must be filed by the U.S employer.
  • The petition is approved by the United States Citizenship and immigration services.
  • After approval, an applicant can apply for US Visa at the U.S embassy.
  • Complete the online Nonimmigrant visa application, Form DS-160.
  • Schedule your Visa Appointment at

U.S.A Visa Fees

Non-petition based Nonimmigrant Visa Fees (Except J visa)$160
Petition based Nonimmigrant fees$190
Border crossing card fees$160 (for 15 years above of age)
Other fees (H1B visa applicants)$4500

Study in the U.S.A: Visa Rejection Reasons 

  • Inability to mention the clear purpose of visit to the USA.
  • Inability to demonstrate the availability of funds to finance your visit to the USA.
  • Past criminal records can also be a reason for Visa rejection.
  • Demonstration of false documents or lack of documents can lead to Visa denial.
  • A lot of refusals and overstays on the previous journeys can put a negative impact.
  • Poor relationships between home country and USA also leads to denials.

In a nutshell, the U.S.A visa application process may seem a little complex, but if a student understands all the processes and requirements involved carefully he will not face any hindrances to get a visa to study in US. 

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