price, requirements and how to process

(CNN Spanish) — Are you thinking of studying abroad? The United States is one of the most requested destinations, receiving thousands of students from all over the world every year. In 2021 alone, just under 1 million international students were enrolled in US educational institutions, according to the Institute of International Education.

And while a large majority of those students came from Asian countries—China (317,299) and India (167,582)—some Latin American countries also make the list. For example, in 2021, 14,000 Canadian students, 12,986 Mexicans, 7,107 Colombians and 6,122 Venezuelans were registered.

In fact, California is home to the majority of international students, thanks to educational institutions like the University of Southern California (USC) and the University of California system, which are home to a majority of international students.

If you have plans to study abroad, here’s what you need to know to apply for a US student visa.

Types of visa to study in the United States

The most common visa category to enter the United States as a student is the F-1which allows the applicant to be a full-time student at a college, university, seminary, conservatory, academic high school, or other institution, as well as a language program. in 2021the US issued 357,839 F-1 visas.

Likewise, there is the option of the visa M-1 which is less common as it is intended for students in vocational or non-academic programs. in 2021the US issued 4,554 F-1 visas.

Lastly, the category J-1 is exclusively for people who will participate in exchange programs such as au paircamp counselors, government or international visitor, short-term interns, among others.

How to process the different visas

The first step is to apply to an approved school by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP).

Once the international student has been accepted, it is necessary to register in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) and pay the corresponding fee.

The school will issue a Form I-20Once received, the student can apply for a student visa at a US Embassy or Consulate.

Students will have to complete the form DS-160 online, print the application confirmation page and go to the interview at the US Embassy or consulate.

For the interview, the applicant must bring: Form I-20, a valid passport, confirmation of form DS-160, receipt of payment of the application fee, documentation showing that they meet the minimum education requirements and/or or work experience, documentation that shows how you will pay for all education and living costs during the program, and you will need to bring documentation that supports your intention to leave the US upon completion of your studies.


New students on F-1 and M-1 visas can be issued up to 120 days before the course start date, but the student will only be able to enter the US 30 days before the course start date.

And the duration of the visa depends on the duration of the program they are about to attend. However, foreign students will have 60 days to leave the country once the program ends, the date listed on Form I-20. Failure to leave on the date indicated may result in the person being ineligible for future visas.

Price of the student visa for the USA

The price of the visa application is US$160. However, there are additional costs that the international student must take into account, such as the SEVIS I-901 fee, which can be up to $350.

Work as a student

Optional Practical Training (OPT) is an available benefit that is available to an F-1 student. Students may apply to receive up to 12 months of OPT employment authorization before and/or after completing their studies.

To do this, authorized students must have an endorsed Form I-20 for OPT and apply to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). ).

Students in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields can apply for a 24-month extension of their OPT employment authorization.

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