Student Visa Overview

Student Visa Overview

The U.S. provides several nonimmigrant visa categories for persons wishing to study in the United States.

B Visa—Visitation for Short Course of Study

If you are going to the U.S. primarily for tourism, but want to take a short course of study of less than 18 hours per week, you may be able to do so with a visitor visa (B Visa), which is easier to obtain than a student visa.  You should inquire at the appropriate U.S. Embassy or Consulate.  However, if your course of study is more than 18 hours a week, you will need a student visa.

For more information about the B Visa for temporary visitation, click here.

There are four main types of student visas:

F Visa—Academic Studies

The F-1 Visa is for nonimmigrants wishing to pursue academic studies and/or language training programs and enrolled in a school in the U.S.  F-2 Visas are available for family members of F-1 Visa holders.

For more information, click on F Visa on the left.

M Visa—Vocational Studies

The M-1 Visa is for nonimmigrants wishing to pursue nonacademic or vocational studies.  M-2 Visas are for family members of M-1 Visa holders.

For more information, click on M Visa on the left.

H-3 Visa—Training and Special Education Exchange

The H-3 Visa is for individuals seeking non-medical education and non-graduate training not available in their country and individuals participating in a special education exchange program.  H-4 Visas are available for family members of H-3 Visa holders.

For more information, click on H-3 Visa on the left.

J Visa—Exchange Visitor Program

The J-1 Visa is for individuals who wish to participate in an Exchange Visitor Program designated by the U.S. Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs.  J-2 Visas are for family members of J-1 Visa holders.

For more information, click on J Visa on the left.

Apply Early

In most countries, first time student visa applicants are required to appear for an in-person interview.  However, each embassy and consulate sets its own interview policies and procedures regarding student visas.  Students should consult Embassy web sites or call for specific application instructions.

 Keep in mind that June, July, and August are the busiest months in most 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 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.

Changes introduced shortly after September 11, 2001, involve extensive and ongoing review of visa issuing practices as they relate to our national security. It is important to apply for your visa well in advance of your travel departure date.


Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 11/05/2021 - 08:51 Permalink

Dear Rajiv Sir,

Greetings of the Day!
I have not seen any answer so far related to "WITHDRAWAL LETTER". Please reply

I am in very difficult situations. I was in USA in H4 visa from 2017 to July 4th 2021. And I have applied for "H4 Extension" on May 27th 2021 because my H4 visa was expiring  on July 15th'2021 in Passport.
 Also I am pursuing my MS from Spring 2021 batch and currently in second semester.

On July 18 '2021 I got F1 Visa Stamp from India. I travelled back to USA on July 26th '2021 with F1 status. Same updated in I-94 also after port of entry.
On July 27th '2021 I have sent  paper based Withdrawal Letter (H4 Extension) and  it was delivered as per Tracking Number from Fedex. But when I called "concern agency" they told me to send one more time Withdrawal letter.
so this time I sent withdrawal  letter with "same Tracking number" & delivered to them as fedex on Oct 6'2021.
But No ACKNOWLEDGEMENT from concern agency so far.

My Questions
Q1) I have seen lot of case that even after Withdrawal letter H4 extension getting approved for F1 students.
So Please advice as I don't want to loose my F1 status.

Submitted by Abhi (not verified) on Mon, 03/14/2022 - 01:22 Permalink In reply to by Rajiv S. Khanna

Hello this is Abhi My college is offering me complete online. so can I complete my whole master on online without doing any in person classes or do that will be a problem for my status or in future. Can you please help me out with this.


Submitted by SHILPA MISHRA (not verified) on Fri, 02/11/2022 - 03:01 Permalink

My brother is a resident married to a citizen went on F1, eventually got green card, I m a widow with a 5 year old son who was staying here with parents when I applied F1 but it got rejected, are there any chances that I will get F1 in future.

Submitted by Megha (not verified) on Thu, 06/09/2022 - 20:07 Permalink

Hi Rajiv, My name is Megha and I have recently filed for my i-765 which came back with a rejection notice via mail. I then again filed my whole i765 case file again last week and my usps tracking says that it was delivered to uscis Monday but I haven’t even received any receipt number or any kind of communication from them. I’m currently on my stem opt and am filing i765 for my opt extension. I am really worried as my stem opt expires this month end and I have not yet received any form of communication from uscis. I am really unsure as to what to do in this case. Could you please help me with this?

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