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U.S.EDUCATION > Studying and Teaching in the U.S.> Destination USA: Student Visas

Studying in the U.S.

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Hundreds of thousands of people come to the United States from around the world to study and improve their skills. Numerous programs provide a wide variety of learning opportunities. Students interested in studying in the United States must be admitted to a U.S. school or university before starting the visa process. For additional information about higher education opportunities in the U.S., see the Department of State EducationUSA website.

The U.S. government made some changes in visa procedures after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The changes in various procedures make sure that both U.S. citizens and visitors within our borders are safe. Advance planning by international travelers is essential to ensure they have their visa when they need it to come to the U.S. For most visa applicants, an interview is required as a standard part of visa processing. Visa applications are evaluated very carefully and take more time now than in the past. Nevertheless, we are making every effort to interview and process student and exchange visitor visa applications in an expeditious manner. Some applications require additional security screening. Improved and automated procedures have considerably sped up visa clearance procedures. Students should also remember that acceptance by a U.S. educational institution does not guarantee issuance of a student visa.

The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) is a web-based system for maintaining information on international students and exchange visitors in the U.S. The SEVIS program makes it easier for you, the school, immigration officials and the embassy or consulate where you apply for a visa to make sure you are in lawful student status.

There are three types of student visas. For visa application instructions, forms, and more, select below.

Contact a U.S. embassy or consulate to schedule a visa interview appointment, and learn about additional instructions, such as how to pay the visa application processing fee.

Additionally, please note that the International Cultural Exchange Program (Q-1 Visa) is for certain international cultural exchange programs designed to provide practical training and employment. The training/employment petition must be approved in advance by Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). To learn more, go to the USCIS Website, select International Cultural Exchange. To learn more about applying for the Q visa, select temporary worker visa. The Irish Peace Process Cultural and Training Program or Walsh Program (Q-2, Q-3 visa) is a cultural exchange and employment-training program, administered by the Department of State. To learn more, select Walsh Program.

InfoUSA is maintained by the Bureau of International Information Programs (IIP), U.S. Department of State