To apply for an American student visa, students must follow a few sequential steps.
1. First, gain admission to a school approved by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) under the Student Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP). Any school you contact should be able to tell you immediately whether they are eligible to accept foreign national students.
2. On acceptance to an approved school, the school should provide the appropriate form of the following two. One is a USCIS Form I-20 A-B/ID: Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F-1) Student Status - for Academic schools. The other is a USCIS Form I-20 M-N/ID: Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (M-1) Student Status - for vocational colleges.
3. Obtain a Nonimmigrant Visa Applicant Form DS-156, together with a Form DS-158. All non-immigrant visitors to the US must present these forms. They are available from the website of the US Department of State.
4. Ensure that you have a valid passport, with an expiry date at least 6 months after the end of your intended stay in the US.
5. Fill out the above-mentioned forms and take them to the nearest US Consulate to obtain a student visa. The US Consulate designated in your country to process student visa applications has the sole authority to grant or deny visas, as well as to determine the type of visa you will receive. The consulate may also arrange an interview and alert you of any other documents you may need to present. At this time, you must also prove that you have the financial resources required for your education and stay in the US. The consulate will provide you with any other information you need. You will wish to secure housing in the US, since when you arrive in the US, you will be asked where you intend to stay.
6. Pay all processing and application fees at this time.
Note: If you have dependants who will be travelling with you, you will need to present documentary proof of your relationship (for instance, marriage and birth certificates).
If you have any questions, or want further information, contact the USCIS or your nearest US Consulate. Specific instructions may vary on a case by case basis.
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