International students who want to study in the United States must study full-time as part of the student visa requirements. All international students in the United States, both at universities and language schools must have a F-1 student visa. In addition, there is also the J-1 visa for student exchange, inclusive of both for academic and cultural exchange and M-1 visa for students who take non-academic lectures or courses in the United States.
Before a student visa is being applied for, the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) document called the I-20 must be issued by an institution in the United States as evidence of the student’s admission. SEVIS is an online database of all international students issued by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
Other supporting documents required are proof of academic studies, financial ability, TOEFL®/ IELTS™ result, birth certificate, family card. A payment of USD 160 for visa application (through a bank designated by the US embassy) and the SEVIS fee of USD 200 (paid online) are also required. Registration for visa can be done 120 days before intake (date of school entry). However, new students are only allowed to enter the United States 30 days prior to commencement. Upon arrival in the United States, students have to report to the International Office on campus, so that the school can immediately complete the information required on SEVIS. Negligence for failing to report can lead to a student visa being revoked.
International students studying in the United States must have health insurance during their study. It is also required by the schools that every student who goes to the United States has an insurance that guarantees cover for his/her health, because the cost of healthcare in the United States is known to be very expensive. Therefore, schools have a policy that combines insurance costs with tuition fees, so that students who arrive in the US will definitely have health insurance during their study. Insurance costs included in the tuition fee range between USD 600 – USD 1,500 per year.