Obtain a Visa

Student Visa

Most students will either get an F-1 (student) or a J-1 (exchange visitor) visa.

Tourist Visa

If you enter the U.S. with a tourist visa (B-1/B-2) or under the Visa Waiver Program that your country has with the U.S., you CANNOT LEGALLY ATTEND SCHOOL.

Documents Needed to Apply for a F-1 Student or J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa

In general, to apply you will need:

  • Form I-20 (for F-1) or Form DS-2019 (for J-1)
  • Passport
  • Proof of financial support
  • SEVIS fee receipt
  • Photos
  • Visa application fee
  • Online visa application forms

Where and How to Apply

Each embassy or consular post has their own visa application procedures and processing times. Be sure to read the web page for the post where you will be applying for the specific instructions for that location.

General F-1 and J-1 Visa Info

Check Visa for Accuracy

Check your visa for accuracy (name, date of birth, visa type – such as F-1 or J-1) BEFORE YOU LEAVE THE CONSULATE, and request a correction immediately if you find any errors.

Entering the United States

You can find information about entering the United States with an F-1 or J-1 student visa on the U.S. Customs and Border Projection website.


Canadian citizens do not need a U.S. visa, but they must present a valid passport, proof of finances, I-20 or DS-2019, and SEVIS fee receipt at the U.S. port of entry.


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