|If you are interested in studying in the US at an accredited college or university, you will probably need an F1 student visa. The J1 visa (for exchange visitors participating in a program approved by the State Department) is also sometimes available for students.
Starting the F1 visa process
Select a school that accepts international students and submit your application. The school must be accepted by the USCIS to sponsor foreign students.
When the school receives and accepts your application, it inputs information about you to the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). The school will then send you an I-20 form, which you will need in order to obtain your visa.
Getting your F1 student visa
To obtain your visa, you will have to go to the nearest US consulate. You will have to show the I-20, your passport, pay the necessary visa fee, submit form OF-156 Application for a Nonimmigrant Visa, and show evidence of financial support. Please note that you must be able to prove to the Consular Officer that you have strong ties to your home country. In general, it is a good idea to be very organized for this meeting (you are, after all, going to study – try to look like a good student!). If you are turned down, ask the consular officer how you can apply again. If approved, the consular section will enter into SEVIS that your visa has been issued.
Entering the US
You must enter the USA by or before the report date on the I-20. You may not enter the United States more than 30 days before the beginning of your study program. At the port of entry, you may have to show your passport, visa, evidence of support and the I-20. The officer at the port of entry will enter into SEVIS that you have arrived.
The visa is normally valid for the entire length of study, plus 30 days after the program ends. The length of time you are permitted to stay will be determined by the official at the Port of Entry. The length you are permitted to stay will be recorded on your I-94, Record of Arrival-Departure, which should be kept in your passport.
Read more at Why U.S.A.? for specifics related to that country.