The US university’s commitment is on the table. You have taken the first step towards studying in the USA! But the next challenge is not long in coming: the student visa for the USA. Many students are unsettled because of the extensive visa requirements for the USA. The following advisory text helps to shed light on the darkness.
The right student visa for the USA
The Visa Waiver Program allows German citizens to enter Germany without a visa for a maximum of 90 days. However, this only applies to tourists and business travelers.
For a period of study students need a special non-immigration visa (nonimmigrant visa), more precisely, a student visa for the US. Participants in an exchange program or students doing research also need a visa.
The following student visas for the USA can be distinguished:
- The F-Visa: Student visa to study at an accredited US college or university ; also for language programs and scientific programs
- The J-Visa: Student and exchange visitor visa, for example for university exchange programs, internships or programs such as Fulbright
- The M Visa: for non-academic and job-oriented programs
In most cases, the F and J visas are used.
Important questions about the US student visa
Applying for a visa raises a number of questions: What is the application process like? Does the student visa come with a work permit in the USA? When can the visa be applied for? The most important questions and answers about student visas for the USA:
Applying for a student visa for the United States
The application process for a student visa for the USA is divided into several steps. Both the F and J visas are applied for directly at the US consulate. This means that applicants have to appear for a visa interview. The exact visa procedure differs depending on the type of visa. So you should familiarize yourself with the exact conditions of the visa that is relevant to you.
When to apply for the visa
It is advisable to apply for the US student visa as early as possible, ideally two to three months before the start of the program. The visa is issued no earlier than 120 days before the start of the program.
Requirements for a student visa in the USA
The issuing of F and J visas is linked to different conditions. The following provisions apply to both types:
- Permanent residence outside of the United States
- Intending to leave the United States after a temporary stay
- Proof of sufficient financial means to finance the stay
- Sufficient knowledge of English
Entering and leaving the USA with a student visa
There is no general rule for this, as the permitted length of stay differs depending on the visa. They have one thing in common: With both an F and J visa, it is possible to enter the USA 30 days before the start of the program.
Working on a USA student visa
Here, too, there are different regulations depending on the type of visa. In general: Neither the student nor the exchange visitor visa for the USA include a work permit. Only activities on campus of up to 20 hours per week are permitted.
Accommodation for studying in the USA
In the United States, it is common practice to live on campus, especially undergraduate students. Some universities require all Bachelor students to live on the university campus. The typical accommodation for studying in the USA is the student dormitory. In the dorms, two students often share a double room. However, there are also single rooms and rooms for a larger number of people.
As an alternative to the student dormitory, apartments on the university campus or near the campus that have a shared kitchen and bathroom are possible. This type of housing is popular with senior students and students doing their Masters in the United States. Younger students more often take a third option and look for a room with a host family (homestay).
The cost of accommodation while studying in the USA depends on the place of study, the local rental price and the type of accommodation. Students should think about which type of housing suits them best and is compatible with their budget in good time.
Catering while studying in the USA
Whether Asian, Italian or Mexican cuisine, fast food or salad – sufficient catering is provided on campus while studying in the USA. Learn more about USA and North America on estatelearning. Most of the universities and colleges have a dining hall, which is most comparable to a cafeteria. The food courts are also typical of American universities: a collection of restaurants and snack bars that share a common seating area.
In addition, students can usually get snacks and drinks in cafes and at the kiosk. Some universities in the USA also have their own supermarket. This suits students who live in an apartment and who are self-sufficient during their studies. In general, if you cook yourself, you can usually save the most money.
Living in student dormitories in the USA is often linked to a meal plan. This is usually available in several variants. Students can use it to consume a certain number of meals on campus without paying for them individually.
Of course, it is also possible to eat outside the campus. There are usually various restaurants and snack bars near the campus. Especially in the US metropolises, the offer is as diverse as the population. Here hamburgers, steak and French fries meet a salad buffet and ethnic food.