US Student Visa and Immigration Application

Where to apply for a US immigration visa

Applicants for international student visas should apply at the US embassy or consulate in their country of permanent residence. (To find the US embassy or consulate that is closest to you, click here.) Although international student visa applicants may apply at any US consular office abroad, it may be more difficult to qualify for the visa outside the country of permanent residence.

In most countries, first time international student visa applicants are required to appear for an interview. However, each embassy and consulate sets its own interview policies and procedures regarding these international student visas. Students should consult their local consular office for specific application instructions.

When to apply for an international student immigration visa

Applicants should keep in mind that June, July, and August are the busiest months in most embassies and consulates. Interview appointments are usually very difficult to get during that period. Students need to plan ahead to avoid repeat visits to the consular office. It is a good idea for students to bring all the documents described in the section Forms and documents on their first visit.

To allow time to overcome any unforeseen problems that might arise, students are encouraged to apply for their international student visa several weeks before they plan to travel. Students should not apply more than 90 days before the registration date noted on the I-20 form (Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status).

Applicants who are not eligible for an international student immigration visa

The Nonimmigrant Visa Application Form DS-156 lists classes of persons who are not eligible to receive international student visas. In some instances an applicant who is not eligible, but who is eligible to enter the US as a student, may apply for a waiver and be issued an international student visa if the waiver is approved.

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