Many of international students whose dream is to study abroad think that applying for a U.S. college is the hardest task ever. That might be the hardest but wait and see all the steps you must take to earn a U.S. student visa. Why a visa, you might ask? Because without one, you cannot step in United States, the land of freedom and opportunity. It is a must-have item even if you are just a traveller. The process below is only for students who wish to pursue degree program, not for exchange students. From time to time, this process may vary. We are trying to provide the best information at current time.
1. Letter of Acceptance of Admission
First and the most important of all is the letter of acceptance of admission from the university you applied. Because if you do not have one, the hundred steps that follow is useless. You have to fill all the application forms and have all the essential documents your university requires. Then you have to submit them before the deadlines and wait for their answer for whether or not they accept your application.
- Essential documents that universities require: Here
2. Form I-20
Once you have been accepted, the university will send you a letter of acceptance and form I-20 which indicates that your visa is going to be F-1 visa. Form I-20 is the Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status – for Academic and Language students. It proves that the student is admitted to a full-time study program and that the student has demonstrated sufficient financial resources to stay in the U.S. I-20 is not only used for requesting a visa. It serves as an identification and proof to legal and academic status through U.S. border inspections process. You also need it to be hired for jobs during your stay. Make sure everything written in that form matches what you have such as your name, date of birth, family names, etc.
- Understand Types of U.S. Visa: Here
3. Form DS-160
After that, you have to complete Form DS-160 Online. This form will collect the necessary information from you electronically by the Department of State. To complete the form, you must have your passport, résumé, form I-20, a visa photograph. Be sure to read the guidelines and enter the information as correct and accurate as possible because you cannot make any changes after you submit it. After you finish it, print out the confirmation page which consists of your application ID number which is needed to book interview.
- To fill Form DS-160: Here
Next, you have to pay SEVIS Fee for $200. Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) is an internet-based system that the U.S. government uses to maintain accurate and current information on non-immigrant students. Once you have paid the fee, print out your confirmation page.
- To fill SEVIS: Here
5. Visa Application
You are required to fill forms and follow the procedures and instructions in the website of your regional U.S. embassy. Pay for your visa application fee. This costs you $160 and will grant you the access to interview schedule. If you are a Cambodian, the address is #1, Street 96, Sangkat Wat Phnom, Khan Daun Penh, Phnom Penh and their website.
- Look for your regional U.S. Embassy: Here
- U.S. Embassy Phnom Penh map: Here
- U.S. Embassy Phnom Penh website: Here
6. Prepare for your interview and attend it
There are other important documents you might need in addition to I-20, College Acceptance Letter and SEVIS confirmation page mentioned above. Treat the interview as your first priority. You should dress formally and arrive to the embassy early. Bring all the needed documents and answer every questions truthfully.
- Important Documents to bring for U.S. Visa Interview: Here
- Tips for U.S. Visa interview: Here
7. Wait for your visa
Within at least 3-5 business days, you will be informed whether or not you have been successfully granted a visa.
If you succeed, congratulation! But if you do not, you can always try again. There is no limit on how many times you can apply for the visa. Even if you used to fail before, it will not affect your new application. Identify what went wrong and learn from the mistakes to avoid them when you retry. Once you finally succeed, you can have your own visa too. But please keep in mind that even when you are informed that you passed, do not proceed to buy an airline ticket unless you have the visa in your hand. There are cases which individuals were informed that they succeed but failed to lay their hands on the visas.
If you have further questions related to each step or you are in need of assistance to help you through the whole process, please contact us.
***Disclaimer: The purpose of this article is to provide complete information for students who wish to acquire a U.S. student visa. There is no guarantee that once you follow all of our instructions, you will surely get the visa.***