If you are not a US citizen but will like to study in the US you will need to get a student visa. This can take a long time, so you should apply at least four months before you start your program. Below are stages for applying for a US student visa which vary at each embassy. This is why it is vital you check the website of the embassy where you wish to apply.
APPLY TO A STUDENT AND EXCHANGE VISITOR PROGRAM (SEVP)
Make sure you choose a program and school that is accredited by SEVP. Also only institutions approved can admit students in the student and exchange visitor information system (SEVIS) and offer you documents needed to apply for a visa.After being accepted, you will be admitted in the SEVIS system and given a form DS-2019 if you need a J visa or I 20 if you need a F or M visa
SEVP which manages international students in F and M category and Dos (Department of State) which manages students on J visa both use SEVIS to monitor students, programs and institutions.
PAY THE SEVIP CHARGE
This should be paid three days before submitting your application and can be paid by you or a third party by filing an online or paper form which can be done through the US immigration and Custom Enforcement SEVP website. The fee cost $180 J visa holders except those who are camp counselors and pay $35 while F and M cost $200
COMPLETE THE VISA APPLICATION FORM
This is mostly done online as most countries have a dedicated website for this or you can use the website of the US embassy. You will need to complete DS-160 form with the following details along with a photo
Name and date of birth
Phone number and address
Details of passport
Travel plan details
Details have travelling to the US in the past
Where you will stay in the US
Education, work and family details
Medical and security information
When done, you will be sent a barcode and ID number which you will take to the interview
PAYMENT OF VISA APPLICATION FEE
This is also known as Machine Readable Visa Fee (MRV fee) and payment is generally done in three ways which are paying at an approved bank in person, through phone and get a fee confirmation number and online and print your receipt. You will be asked for the receipt at the interview. Some J visa applicants depending on their program will not pay a fee
ATTEND THE VISA INTERVIEW
You will need the following documents when attending the interview
Passport valid at least a minimum of 6 months beyond your stay in US
SEVIS signed forms and those of partner and children if needed
Barcode and ID number
Copy of visa interview appointment letter
Results from test like TOFEL, GMAT, GRE, LSAT
Proof of funds to cover expenses like tuition and travel
Derivative visa applicants will need to show a copy of birth and or marriage certificate to prove relationship
You should know despite having a visa you still need to be cleared to enter the US by Department of Homeland Security and Customs and Border Protection Official.
Ensure you leave the country before the date on your form to avoid breaking immigration laws and your chances of applying for visa in the future.