Applying for a Visa Overseas

Before applying for a nonimmigrant visa, you should visit the website of the U.S. consulate where you will apply for the visa to learn about the specific visa application procedures, such as whether an interview is required, the application fee and how to pay it, and the estimated time frame for obtaining the visa. To find the nearest US consulate or embassy, go to If the consulate does not have a website, you should be able to find a phone number contact by searching the country or consulate list at For more general information on student visa requirements, go to under "Study & Exchange" visitor visas.

What Documentation Will I Need?

The following documentation is generally necessary for students or scholars who are applying for the first or subsequent visas:

New International Students

For Scholars

For Students/Scholars Renewing Their Visas

In general, an applicant for a renewal of a student or scholar visa will need the same documentation as was necessary for the first visa application.


Travel signatures and letters of good standing can be requested throught iStart.


Notice to Persons from Certain Countries

In November 2001, a new U.S. Department of State rule required that male applicants for nonimmigrant visa between ages 16 and 45 from certain countries are now subject to a waiting period on all non-immigrant visa applications of up to 20 working days to allow the State Department to cross-check applicants' names with federal security agencies' databases. The Department of State has indicated that these security measures are temporary but has provided no information about how long they might remain in place.

The countries subject to these requirements include:
Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.

Notice to Persons from Countries Designated as "State Sponsors of Terrorism:"

Federal regulations will require applicants for nonimmigrant visas from Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria to pass special security clearances before being issued a visa. Applicants should expect additional delays of 1-2 months.

Applying for a Visa in Canada or Mexico

For more information, see How to Apply for Visa in Canada or Mexico.