Visa Information

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Gather the travel documents you’ll need to study in California

You’ll need a student visa and your passport to enter the United States and begin your education in California. The visa is issued by a United States Embassy or Consulate in your home country.

The first step in applying for your visa is setting up an interview. Read on for an overview of what to expect and a few tips.

Resources & Information: Visa and Travel Requirements

We suggest you take some time to review this website as you begin planning your arrival in California. The Guide to Studying in the States is produced by the U.S. government and is a great resource for information about the different types of student visas, embassies, and what to know as you get ready to enter the United States. It walks you through each step and provides additional resources.

In addition, the school you will be attending is there to help you with the process. Be sure to reach out to them to be sure your paperwork is complete before you travel.

Document Preparation

You will need to bring the following items to the interview: 

  • your signed immigration document from the school
  • institutional acceptance letter
  • financial statement
  • sponsor letter
  • valid passport
  • another form of picture identification

Please keep in mind that it is always better to bring more information than less to the interview. If you have any other documents that might be useful, bring them. You never know what the officers at the embassy are going to ask for. The consulate of each country may have other requirements. Please check with your consulate to see if any other documents are required.

Your Student Visa Interview

During the interview, it is natural to be nervous, but try not to stress too much. Remember that the officer’s main concern is your intention to study in the United States.

The visa that you are applying for (F, J, M, etc.) is strictly a student or study visa, so it is only meant to allow you to get an education in the United States, after which you are fully expected by the United States government to go back home.

Be certain to state your intention to return to your home country after your studies have been completed – if you do not state this intention, the officer is much more inclined to deny your visa. Other than that, just be prepared to express yourself well in English and be as honest as you can.