First Time Student Applicants (F-1 and M-1 visas)
If you are going to the United States primarily for tourism, but want to take a short course of study of less than 18 hours per week, you may do so on a tourist visa - not a student visa. Otherwise, read this message for general information on how to apply for a United States F1 or M1 student visa.
In most countries, first time student visa applicants are required to appear for an in-person interview. However, each United States embassy and consulate sets its own interview policies and procedures regarding student visas. Students should consult United States Embassy web sites or call for specific application instructions.
Keep in mind that June, July, and August are the busiest months in most United States consular sections, and interview appointments are the most difficult to get during that period. Students need to plan ahead to avoid having to make repeat visits to the United States Embassy. To the extent possible, students should bring the documents suggested below, as well as any other documents that might help establish their ties to the local community.
To allow time to overcome any unforeseen problems that might arise, students are encouraged to apply for their United States visas several weeks before they plan to travel. Students should not apply more than 90 days before the registration date noted on the I-20.
It is important to remember that applying early and providing the requested documents does not guarantee that the student will receive a United States visa. Also, because each student's personal and academic situation is different, two students applying for same visa may be asked different questions and be required to submit different documents. For that reason, the guidelines that follow are general and can be abridged or expanded by consular officers overseas, depending on each student's situation.
What is Needed to Apply for a United States Student Visa?
All applicants for a United States student visa must provide:
All applicants should be prepared to provide:
Applicants with dependents must also provide:
What Items Does a Returning Student Need?
All applicants applying for renewals must submit:
All applicants applying for renewals should be prepared to submit:
How long may I stay on my F-1 student visa?
When you enter the United States on a student visa, you will usually be admitted for the duration of your student status. That means you may stay as long as you are a full time student, even if the F-1 visa in your passport expires while you are in America.
For example, if you have a visa that is valid for five years that will expire on January 1, 2001, and you are admitted into the United States for the duration of your studies (often abbreviated in your passport or on your I-94 card as "D/S"), you may stay in the United States as long as you are a full time student. Even if January 1, 2001 passes and your visa expires while in America, you will still be in legal student status. However, if you depart the United States with an expired visa, you will need to obtain a new one before being able to return to America and resume your studies. A student visa cannot be renewed or re-issued in the United States; it must be done at a United States Embassy or Consulate abroad.
There are certain restrictions on attending public school in the United States. Persons who violate these restrictions may not receive another United States visa for a period of five years.
The restrictions apply only to students holding United States F-1 visas. They do not apply to students attending public school on derivative visas, such as F-2, J-2 or H-4 visas. The restrictions also do not apply to students attending private schools on United States F-1 visas.
The restrictions are:
Courses and Programs
250 Smithe Street
Vancouver, BC V6B 1E7 Canada
Tel.: 1-604-687 1600 Fax: 1-604-687 1660
United States Student Visas
Student visas are not required in the United States for short, part-time courses.