USA Student Visa Guide for Sri Lankan Students

USA Student Visa

How to get a Student Visa USA?

The United States is the world's most popular study-abroad destination. It provides exceptional opportunities for students from all disciplines to learn and flourish in their chosen subjects. When combined with an economy that demands fresh talent every year, it is the ideal location for those wishing to study and create a career after graduation. 

The United States remains the top choice for students looking to study abroad. If you are among the few who aspire and have already been admitted to your desired university, applying for a Student Visa to the USA from Sri Lanka is the next critical step toward fulfilling your ambition of studying in the United States. 

This Students Visa Guide briefly discusses the many types of visas and strives to provide a complete method for applying for the F1 Student Visa Srilanka USA, which is available to students wishing to pursue a bachelor's or master's degree in the United States.

If you are an aecc student who has received an offer letter from one of our US partner colleges, we can assist you with how to proceed with the application process. We'll keep you up to date on the most recent visa criteria and conditions, as well as assist you in preparing the necessary paperwork for the application.

Our professionals will lead you to official websites and authorised immigration representatives to guarantee that you get the most up-to-date application forms and information. We can also certify, translate, and courier your documents to save you time.

USA Student Visa Latest updates for Sri Lanka

  • 7th April 2022: The US Embassy may modify the student visa application process beginning in the summer of 2023.
  • The US waives in-person interviews for many visa applications in Sri Lanka on February 27th, 2023.
  • The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) of the United States recently introduced 22 additional courses to the STEM OPT (Optional Practical Training) programme for overseas students.

Types of USA Study Visa

Visa Type 

About 

F1 Student Visa

Students applying to programmes that require more than 18 hours of study per week must get an F1 visa. All undergraduate and graduate programmes, such as MS and MBA, are included.

F2 Student Dependent Visa 

The F2 visa describes the student-dependent visa. The F2 visa is a non-immigrant dependent visa that permits F1 student visa holders' immediate family members to enter the United States. Dependents include the spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21.

J1 Exchange Visitor Visa

The J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa is designed for students, visiting researchers, or lecturers participating in an exchange programme. For example, Fulbright scholars and many Sri Lankan students participating in short-term study abroad programmes will visit the United States on a J-1 visa.

J-2 Visa

The US Citizenship and Immigration Service issues the J2 visa (USCIS). It is a special visa for the spouses and dependents of J1 visa holders. These individuals may later accompany or accompany a J1 visa holder to the United States.

M-1 Vocational/ Non-Academic Student Visa

The M1 visa is a type of student visa given solely to students enrolled in vocational and technical schools. While the application process for the F1 visa and the M-1 visa is the same, M1 visas are time-stamped upon entrance, and students cannot overstay their visit.

M-2 Visa 

The M-2 non-immigrant visa permits the dependent spouse and children under the age of 21 of a valid M-1 student visa holder to visit the United States.

How much does it take Cost of USA Student Visa:

The cost of USA study visa in the United States is determined by a number of criteria. The kind of student visa, application cost, SEVIS fees, and the course for which you have applied. The SEVIS charge is now $350. The application cost is nonrefundable and has a one-year validity period. SEVIS payments are not required for G-1, G-2, G-3, or G-7 visa holders. The application fee for F, J, and M student visas in the United States is $160. 

Here is an overview of the several types of USA Student Visas:

Type of Fee

F1 Visa 

J1 Visa 

M1 Visa 

SEVIS Fee (in USD)

350

220

350

MRV Application Fee/ Visa Application Fee (in USD)

160

160

160

USA student visa requirements for Sri Lanka

Transcripts, diplomas, degrees, and certificates are examples of academic preparation documents.

Evidence proving you have enough money to cover your living expenses throughout your stay in the United States. 

This might include:

  • Account statements
  • A sponsor's financial commitment to pay your lodging and living expenses
  • A scholarship scheme

Evidence that you intend to depart the United States after your studies are done.

This can take the shape of a plane ticket from the United States to your native country.

You may also be required to attend a personal interview at a US embassy or consulate.

English Language Requirements for the USA Student Visa

1 SAT: Scholastic Aptitude Test
A test conducted by the Educational Testing Service that predicts an individual's ability to progress in studying college-level academic courses.

2 GRE: Graduate Record Examination
The GRE General Test is needed for candidates to graduate schools in disciplines other than business, law, and medicine. This is a computerised test that is given during the final three weeks of each calendar month all year. The test assesses students' verbal skills, numeric skills (mathematics), critical thinking, and analytical writing abilities, which they developed over time throughout their formative years of academic study but are unrelated to any specific subject of study.

3 GRE Subject Tests
The GRE Subject Tests assess undergraduate proficiency in the following eight subjects. Each Subject Test is designed for students who have majored in or have substantial experience in that particular field. The Subject Tests are taken by prospective graduate candidates. Admissions or fellowship panels employ GRE test scores to enhance undergraduate records and other credentials for graduate studies. Any authorised graduate or professional school, as well as any department or division within a school, may mandate or suggest that candidates take either the General Test or a Subject Test, or both.

4 GMAT: General Management Aptitude Test
Admission to a business school requires the GMAT. This is a computerised test that is given during the final three weeks of each calendar month all year. It assesses pupils' verbal abilities, numeric abilities (math), and analytical writing abilities. The Educational Testing Service developed and conducted this exam on behalf of the Graduate Management Admission Council. Almost all high-quality business schools across the world demand it for full-time MBA programmes.

5 TOEFL: Test of English as a Foreign Language
The TOEFL is used to test the English skills of those who do not speak English as their first language. It is a mandatory exam for those planning to pursue undergraduate or graduate studies in the United States. The TOEFL is a computer-based exam that is administered all year. The four parts are listening comprehension, structure, reading comprehension, and writing.

Essential Documents Required for M and F Visa

The following papers will be required when applying for a student visa to the United States:
  • A valid passport
  • SEVP approved Acceptance
  • Form I-20
  • SEVIS application fee receipt
  • Form DS-160 confirmation page
  • Non-Immigrant visa application
  • Passport size photograph
  • Official academic transcripts
  • Bank Statements
  • Scholarship Letter (If applicable)
  • Pay/salary slips
  • Score sheet of exams like TOEFL, GMAT, IELTS, etc.

How to Apply for a US Student Visa?

There are numerous processes for applying for a study visa in the United States:
  1. Your visa application procedure begins when you get Form I-20 from your college. Though the SEVIS cost can be paid at any point during the application process, it is strongly advised that you pay the SEVIS I-901 charge before beginning your US visa application.
  2. You can apply for a DS-160 visa form after paying the SEVIS fee and receiving a receipt. It is a web-based application form.
  3. Bring the confirmation page from the application form to your interview.
  4. You must arrive in person for the Biometric appointment to have your photos taken for the visa, and your fingerprints scanned.
  5. During the personal interview, the interviewer will ask you questions about your choice, college, money, and plan to return. If he or she is persuaded, they will retain your passport with them until the visa is stamped. Here is a preparation guide for your F1 Visa Interview.
  6. Schedule both a biometric and an interview appointment.
Remember that F1 student visas can be awarded up to 120 days before the commencement of your programme. You will not, however, be permitted to enter the United States on F1 status sooner than 30 days before your start date.

Visa Interview

One of the most challenging aspects of obtaining a US visa is passing the interview. Here are some pointers for a visa interview in the United States:
  • Take all relevant documents and double-check that they are all complete.
  • Listen carefully to all of the questions before responding.
  • Do not quarrel with the authorities if you disagree.
  • Always dress neatly and formally.
  • If you didn't understand the question the first time, you might ask the interviewee to repeat it.
  • Put all of your papers in the proper order and format.
USA Study Visa Process

To pursue STEM courses in the United States or other degree programmes, you must apply for a student visa. Though the process varies from nation to country, the following are the basic processes to apply for a USA student visa:
Step 1: Gather Documents
The first step in applying for a student visa to the United States is to gather necessary documentation such as English proficiency test scores [TOEFL or IELTS] and SAT/ACT exam results. The score needed varies for each institution or university, so verify with them before taking the test.
Step 2: Apply to an Academic Institute Approved by SEVP.
The next step is to obtain your approval from a US SEVP-approved institution. After being accepted by the school, you must pay the SEVIS I-901 fee, after which the school will provide Form I-20. After properly completing the paperwork, you must arrange an interview with your nearest US Consulate or Embassy. After paying the requisite amount, complete the online application form for the USA student Visa and bring a copy of the confirmation with you to the interview.
Step 3: Prepare for the Student Visa Interview in the United States
  • Remember that while the interview process may be lengthy, it is not rocket science. You must be especially cautious with paperwork and avoid missing any stages. You will be needed to answer a variety of interview questions. Prepare for frequent interview questions for a US visa in advance.
  • Carry a valid passport that is valid for at least six months beyond your intended stay in the United States.
  • Carry a printout of Form I-20 that has been signed by both you and the school to which you are applying.
Student Visa USA Processing Time

A US visa application takes between 3 and 5 weeks to process. Following processing, the applicant will receive a positive response to their application, and the document will be sent by the consulate. The visa might take up to two more workdays to be delivered.

USA Study Visas- Where You Should Apply

A Form I-20 will be issued by the SEVP-approved school. After receiving the Form I-20 and registering in SEVIS, you may apply for a student (F or M) visa at a US Embassy or Consulate. When you go to your visa interview, you must give Form I-20 to the consular official.

How to Apply for a US Student Visa?

There are numerous processes for applying for a study visa in the United States:
  1. Your visa application procedure begins when you get Form I-20 from your college. Though the SEVIS cost can be paid at any point during the application process, it is strongly advised that you pay the SEVIS I-901 charge before beginning your US visa application.
  2. You can apply for a DS-160 visa form after paying the SEVIS fee and receiving a receipt. It is a web-based application form.
  3. Bring the confirmation page from the application form to your interview.
  4. You must arrive in person for the Biometric appointment to have your photos taken for the visa, and your fingerprints scanned.
  5. During the personal interview, the interviewer will ask you questions about your choice, college, money, and plan to return. If he or she is persuaded, they will retain your passport with them until the visa is stamped. Here is a preparation guide for your F1 Visa Interview.
  6. Schedule both a biometric and an interview appointment.
Remember that F1 student visas can be awarded up to 120 days before the commencement of your programme. You will not, however, be permitted to enter the United States on F1 status sooner than 30 days before your start date.

Visa Interview

One of the most challenging aspects of obtaining a US visa is passing the interview. Here are some pointers for a visa interview in the United States:
  • Take all relevant documents and double-check that they are all complete.
  • Listen carefully to all of the questions before responding.
  • Do not quarrel with the authorities if you disagree.
  • Always dress neatly and formally.
  • If you didn't understand the question the first time, you might ask the interviewee to repeat it.
  • Put all of your papers in the proper order and format.
USA Study Visa Process

To pursue STEM courses in the United States or other degree programmes, you must apply for a student visa. Though the process varies from nation to country, the following are the basic processes to apply for a USA student visa:
Step 1: Gather Documents
The first step in applying for a student visa to the United States is to gather necessary documentation such as English proficiency test scores [TOEFL or IELTS] and SAT/ACT exam results. The score needed varies for each institution or university, so verify with them before taking the test.
Step 2: Apply to an Academic Institute Approved by SEVP.
The next step is to obtain your approval from a US SEVP-approved institution. After being accepted by the school, you must pay the SEVIS I-901 fee, after which the school will provide Form I-20. After properly completing the paperwork, you must arrange an interview with your nearest US Consulate or Embassy. After paying the requisite amount, complete the online application form for the USA student Visa and bring a copy of the confirmation with you to the interview.
Step 3: Prepare for the Student Visa Interview in the United States
  • Remember that while the interview process may be lengthy, it is not rocket science. You must be especially cautious with paperwork and avoid missing any stages. You will be needed to answer a variety of interview questions. Prepare for frequent interview questions for a US visa in advance.
  • Carry a valid passport that is valid for at least six months beyond your intended stay in the United States.
  • Carry a printout of Form I-20 that has been signed by both you and the school to which you are applying.
Student Visa USA Processing Time

A US visa application takes between 3 and 5 weeks to process. Following processing, the applicant will receive a positive response to their application, and the document will be sent by the consulate. The visa might take up to two more workdays to be delivered.

USA Study Visas- Where You Should Apply

A Form I-20 will be issued by the SEVP-approved school. After receiving the Form I-20 and registering in SEVIS, you may apply for a student (F or M) visa at a US Embassy or Consulate. When you go to your visa interview, you must give Form I-20 to the consular official.

What are the reasons for visa rejection for the USA

When an applicant applies for any visa to the United States, the Consular officer expects that the applicant wants to leave his or her native country and relocate to the United States. The immigration officer must be convinced that the applicant has a home outside of the United States that he does not wish to abandon, that he is visiting the United States for a short period of time, and that he or she is able to pay for the trip as well as meet the requirements of the Visa type the applicant is applying for.

Even if you have all of the necessary documentation, there is a potential that your Visa application may be denied. The consular officer determines whether or not you are qualified for the Visa. He makes his decision after studying your paperwork as well as the applicant's social, economic, and family links to his or her home country. One of the grounds for denial might be that you did not establish during the interview that you satisfy the criteria for the Visa category.

Common ineligibilities leading to Visa Refusal

The following are the most typical grounds for US Visa Refusal:
  • You have not completed the Visa application completely.
  • You have not submitted all of the required documentation.
  • You failed to demonstrate eligibility for the Visa category.
  • You were found guilty of a felony involving moral turpitude.
  • You were convicted of a narcotics offence.
  • You have two or more criminal convictions that might result in a cumulative sentence of five years in jail.
  • You have not shown that you have sufficient funds to support your journey to the United States.
  • You have distorted an important fact.
  • You have stayed in the United States for a longer time than you intended.

Avoid Rejection of US Student Visa

To overcome a refusal due to a public charge, you must establish that you will have adequate financial assistance in the United States. The consular officer will review the extra material you submit to determine whether it is adequate to overcome your ineligibility under section 212(a) (4).

What is dependent visa USA

Spouses and children under the age of 21 who intend to accompany the applicant in the United States for the duration of his or her stay must obtain an F2 or M2 visa. A spouse with F2 status cannot participate in a complete term of study but can take vocational or recreational classes, such as cooking or tennis. Children with F2 status are permitted to attend elementary, middle, or high school full-time. They are not permitted to attend a college or university full-time.

Students' spouses and children are not permitted to work during their F2 visa stay.
How can I extend my student visa in USA?
To renew your F-1 visa, just repeat the procedures you took when you first applied for it:
  1. Complete your visa application. Even if you renew your visa, you must complete the online visa Form DS-160 and print the confirmation page.
  2. Schedule a meeting with the embassy or consulate. After that, you should schedule an appointment with your local embassy or consulate so that you may complete your visa interview as soon as possible. If you fulfil the exemption requirements, you may be eligible for a waiver of the interview requirement.
  3. Gather the necessary paperwork. You must prepare the original papers that were requested when you initially filed for your F-1 student visa, as well as obtain apostille stamps and translate them if necessary.
  4. Pay your visa application cost. If you are needed to pay a charge prior to your interview, make sure you do so since you will need to generate a fee receipt.
  5. Attend your visa interview. Finally, you can appear for your F-1 visa renewal interview. If you satisfy the same conditions as when you first filed for your F-1 student visa, you will most likely be granted a visa renewal.
You must remain in the nation where you submitted for your F-1 visa renewal until your application is approved, and you are not permitted to go to the United States. If your renewal application is refused, you must return home.

While you may apply for a renewal of your F-1 visa from a country other than your home country, it is usually preferable to apply from home because it makes the application process easier for both you and the embassy/consulate.

Online Student Visa Application for USA

You must apply for your student visa online through the US Embassy and Consulates website. You can apply up to 120 days before the programme's commencement date. Remember that your application date is the date you pay your application fee.

If you are an aecc student who has received an offer letter from one of our US partner colleges, we can assist you with how to proceed with the application process. We'll keep you up to date on the most recent visa criteria and conditions, as well as assist you in preparing the necessary paperwork for the application.

Our professionals will lead you to official websites and authorised immigration representatives to guarantee that you get the most up-to-date application forms and information. We can also certify, translate, and courier your documents to save you time.

FAQs About Student Visa in USA

Can a student work in the USA with a student visa?
Your US student visa permits you to work up to 20 hours per week on campus when classes are in session and full-time during school breaks (up to 40 hours per week).
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