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Applying for a Student Visa to the US: What you should know

Applying for a Student Visa to the US: What you should know

Applying for a visa is one of, if not the biggest obstacles for students wishing to pursue educational opportunities in the U.S. 

If you long to experience the adventures and thrills of studying in the U.S., it is crucial to learn and prepare for it as early as possible. It could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and you certainly do not want to miss it!

An international student can apply for a student or exchange visitor visa only after being accepted by a school certified in the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP). There are different types of educational visas, and your course of study, the school you plan to attend, or the exchange program you are committing to will determine the type of student visa you will need.

Anyone who will be studying in the U.S. could be issued one of the following visa types for international students:

  • F1 Visa (Academic Studies): The “F” visa is for academic studies. An F1 visa is issued to students who are attending an academic program or English Language Program. 
  • J1 Visa (Cultural Exchange): A J1 visa is issued to individuals approved to participate in exchange visitor programs including high school and university in the United States. 
  • M1 Visa (Non-Academic/Vocational Studies): An M1 visa is issued to students who is going to attend a non-academic or vocational school.

As an applicant from outside the US, you will have to pay US$160 as an application visa fee. There is also a US$350 SEVIS fee on F and M visa applications and US$220 on most of the J Visa applications, this includes the cost of the web-based system which is used to record your stay in the United States.

It is important that you seek professional advice before applying for your student visa. A mistake can be expensive—or even worse, cost you the opportunity. 

There are several documents which you need to prepare for the registration. Of course, you will need a passport that is valid for at least six months beyond your period of stay in the U.S. The other materials required for a U.S. Student Visa include:

         Acceptance at a SEVP approved school and your Form I-20

         Application fee payment for the SEVIS (Student & Exchange Visitor Information System)

         Non-immigrant visa application and the Form DS-160 confirmation page

         Visa photo (2×2 inches)

Additional documents that might be required include:

         Academic records such as transcripts, diplomas, degrees, or certificates

         Evidence that you have sufficient funds to maintain your living expenses throughout the period of your stay in the US. This may include:

  1. Bank statements
  2. Letter from sponsor to cover your accommodation and living costs

         Evidence that you will leave the U.S. once you have completed your course of study. This can be in the form of an air ticket out of the US to your home country

Because applying for a student visa to the US can be a complicated process, ICES Cambodia is here to help students with a dream in the Kingdom! When choosing ICES Cambodia programs, we offer visa application assistance and counseling session t guide you on how to go about the entire visa application process. So, what are you waiting for? Sign up for it today!


For more information on how you can high school abroad with ICES Cambodia, as well as the program fees and application process, please contact 077 777 244 or 098 686 901. To be eligible, you must pass the English Proficiency Test provided by ICES Cambodia and have a good academic record (Average “C” in main subjects for the past 3 years). Register now to take the English Test: https://forms.gle/3qifKLu79f4hx5uB7.