The first thing that needs to be pointed out is the fact that each individual Embassy or Consulate requirements vary. Each student needs to check with his or her local office to ascertain if they have any set timeline for studying in the United States. Once someone applies for a student visa, however, they must attend school full-time in order to stay in the United States. That seems to basically be the requirement for studying in the United States on a student visa. The student visa is known as Form F-1.
The application process can be time-consuming. The applicant usually receives his or her student visa in less than 120 days form application date. Sometimes, however, a special clearance is required. Hence, each application is treated individually and has its own set of circumstances.
Legally, the United States of America’s Department of Homeland Security regulations require all international students to enter the United States no earlier than 30 days in advance of their class starting date. This date will be shown on the Form I-20 (which is needed for entry into the United States.)
If one wants to enter the United States earlier than 30 days prior to their course studies commencement, there are other procedures. If the student qualifies, he or she will be issued a visitor visa. The student needs to make their intent for studying clear to the immigration officer. In other words, they need to convincingly demonstrate good cause for wanting to pursue their studies to the officer. Another drawback to this procedure is the fact that it costs more than $100 to process. The student needs to obtain a change of classification. This process will not affect the application timeline for students coming to study in the United States. It will, however, affect their pocketbook.
Depending on the type of educational venue, your actual course study time will vary. This is obvious, but needs to be mentioned. For higher educational venues, Associate’s Degrees are usually two years. Bachelor’s Degrees are four years. A Master’s Degree is six years. A Doctoral Degree, depending on which type of doctoral you are pursuing, can range from 7 to 12 years. There is quite a difference in the applicant’s timeline for studying in the United States, depending on their course studies. This is mentioned due to your study timeline being listed on your I-20, a necessary document.
Your student visa will have an expiration date on it when it is issued to you. This expiration date will be dated six months after your intended date of completion of your coursework. These six months are given to help you ease into leaving the United States or transferring to another school.
The application process for international students pursuing studies in the United States is complex. The application timeline for students coming to study in the United States are pretty set. Yet, at the same time, they are both helpful and flexible. Know the rules you will be all right.