With our long history with the United States, it comes as no surprise that the USA is still the number one destination for studying abroad for many Filipinos.
From technical colleges to Ivy Leagues, all courses and programs that you can think of can be found in the U.S.. In addition, students from all over the world flock to U.S. institutions and it’s likely that you’ll gain a massive international network there. Now that you’ve been accepted into your chosen college or university, it’s time to work on your next most important requirement – your student visa. Here are some general facts about applying for a student visa in the USA!
Please note that visa requirements and eligibility rules change constantly. It is always best to check the current official government websites to get the most updated information.
Am I eligible for a student visa in the USA?
Filipino citizens are welcome to study in the U.S.. Any student is eligible to apply for a student visa provided that they are accepted and approved by their school or program where they intend to study. Student visa applicants must receive the necessary approval documentation from the educational institutions they got accepted in which will be submitted as well for their student visa application.
What visa should I apply for?
There are two types of visas for students. For those pursuing an education in a private secondary school, college, university, or private secondary school; you will be needing the most common type of student visa — the F-1 Visa.
If you are pursuing a non-academic, vocational study, or training program then you will be needing an M-1 visa.
What are the necessary steps to get my student visa?
Step 1. Pay the visa application fee.
Step 2. Complete the Non-immigrant Visa Electronic Application form (DS-160) form.
Step 3. Schedule your appointment at the embassy online for your visa interview. Make sure to apply for your student visa at least three months in advance of your intended date of travel. Apply early!
Step 4. Visit the U.S. Embassy on the date and time of your interview. Make sure to bring all necessary documents: (a) a printed copy of your appointment letter, (b) your DS-160 confirmation page, (c) one recent photograph, (d) your current passport, (e) all old passports.
How much does the visa application cost?
160 USD or 8,640 PHP.
How early should I apply for my student visa?
You are encouraged to apply for your F-1 or M-1 visa as soon as you receive your I-20. Your I-20 is a U.S. Government form that is issued by the schools for prospective non-immigrant students which is a requirement for you to get your visa. This will serve as your proof-of-acceptance. You may apply for a student visa no more than 120 days prior to the start date that is mentioned in your I-20.
How long is the processing time for the visa?
A majority of visas are processed within three working days however other cases may take a longer time due to individual circumstances and other requirements.
How long does the student visa last?
Students with an F-1 visa may stay in the U.S. for only for an additional 60 days after completing their academic program or the expiration of their visa. Students with an M-1 visa on the other hand may stay in the U.S. for an additional 30 days only.
What documents do I need to provide for my student visa?
- A Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application (DS-160) form.
- A passport valid for travel to the U.S. with a validity date at least six months beyond your intended period of stay in the U.S..
- One 2” x 2” photograph with the appropriate formatting.
- A receipt showing payment of your visa fee.
- An approved Form I-20 from your school or program.
- Documents that demonstrate strong financial, social, and family times to the Philippines that will compel the student to return to their country after their program of study in the U.S. is completed.
- Financial documents and any other additional documents that give evidence that you are capable of fulfilling all needed expenses for the first year of study and that you have access to those funds while you remain in the U.S.. For M-1 applicants, they must demonstrate that they have the ability to pay for full amount of tuition and living costs for their entire period of stay.
- Only original copies of bank statements and bank books will be accepted.
- If you are being financially sponsored, you should show evidence of your relation with your sponsor (ex. Birth certificate). In addition, you will be needing to show the sponsors most recent original tax forms, sponsors bankbooks, and/or fixed deposit certificates.
- Academic documents that show your educational background and preparation for studying in the U.S.. Examples of such documents are: original copies of school transcripts with grades, public examination certificates (A-levels etc.), standardized test scores (SAT, TOEFL, etc.), and your diplomas.
Can I bring my spouse and/or children with me?
In order for your spouse and/or children be allowed to join you in the U.S. during your period of study, they need to apply for their own F or M visas as well. Spouses and dependents are not allowed to work in the U.S. during their stay there. They may apply for the appropriate work visa if they wish to gain employment.
Can my parents get an affiliated visa as well?
No. Parents need to apply for visitor (B-2) visas should they want to visit you for vacation.
What are the part-time work conditions for me once I have my student visa?
When school is in session, you are allowed to do on campus part-time work of up to 20 hours per week only and up to 40 hours per week during school break periods. Should you want to gain off-campus employment with your student visa, you will need to have already completed at least one full academic year of your program or study and also qualify that you have economic hardship for the Department of Homeland Security’s emergent circumstances. For any questions about part time work, you must talk with your designated school official (DSO) who will present you with jobs that are available for you and that could be a good fit.
I got my visa! When can I leave for the U.S.?
Regardless of when your visa was issued, you can only enter the U.S. within 30 days of the beginning of your course of study that is stated on your I-20.
For more information on schools, courses, and scholarships in the U.S., visit the Edukasyon.ph Study Abroad page here!