USA Student Visa Processing Time: How Long Does It Take

Did you want to know how long it takes to process a USA student visa? If yes, this article contains all the information you need about the USA student visa processing time, its requirements, and how to apply.

The average processing time for a visa application approved during a visa interview is five working days. Delivery should take at least another 2-3 workdays.

Visa processing takes about 21 working days from the date the Embassy receives the application. Allow another 2-3 business days for your passport to be returned.

We strongly advise you not to make any travel plans until your passport has been returned to you. We will be unable to accommodate requests for passports to be returned before processing is complete due to the high volume of applications.

If your application for administrative processing has been refused under Section 221(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, the consular section will notify you when it is finished or if additional information is required from you.

Please keep in mind that we have no idea how long administrative processing will take. It may take months or years in some cases. For more information, please see “Administrative Processing.”

If you were told during the interview that a waiver of ineligibility is required before the visa can be issued, you should expect your application to take up to 8 months to process from the time you were told. Incomplete applications will take longer to process.

However, what is the USA student visa processing time in 2024? Continue reading to find out.

What is a Student Visa?

A visa is a document that allows a person to enter and remain in another country for a specific amount of time. A student visa, as a result, is a document that allows a student to study in another country. The visa may also allow the student to stay for a few months or years after finishing their studies, depending on a variety of conditions.

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United States Student Visa Options in 2024


The F-1 visa, also known as the “Academic Student” visa, is intended for people who want to study at an academic institution (such as accredited colleges, universities, seminaries, conservatories, and academic high schools and elementary schools) or in a language training program.

To be eligible, the program in which you are enrolled must result in the awarding of a degree, diploma, or certificate, and the school must be approved by the US government to accept international students.

The F-1 student visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows international students to study at schools recognized by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program in the United States (S.E.V.P.). 

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It is the most common type of student visa for students who want to study at a university or college in the United States, and you can only apply for your F-1 student visa if your application is accepted by an eligible U.S. school. 

Your stay as an F-1 student will be determined by the program in which you enroll. The I-20 form issued by the university you intend to attend will include the expiration date of your degree program. 


An M-1 Visa, also known as a “Vocational Visa,” is issued to international students who are enrolled in vocational and non-academic studies in the United States.

This includes cooking classes, language programs, flight school, cosmetology or mechanical education, and other “vocational study” programs.

A non-immigrant M1 student visa allows you to pursue non-academic or vocational education. The US Department of State will issue you a visa after you have been approved to study for at least 12 semester or quarter hours at a community or junior college, post-secondary vocational school, or post-secondary business school.

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When to Start Applying For Schools in United States 

If you are applying to academic programs that require an F-1 visa, you should begin contacting schools at least a year before you intend to begin your studies. Typically, the school year begins in August or September.

Competition for admission to schools in the United States can be fierce, especially if they are prestigious institutions such as Harvard or Stanford. You should probably submit between five and ten applications to a variety of schools, including some to which you know you have a good chance of admission.

If you intend to apply to a vocational program (which requires an M-1 visa), the calendar will be less predictable. You must contact schools directly for admission and scheduling information.

You can only apply for a student visa after the school has admitted you and issued you a SEVIS Form I-20. See Student and Exchange Visitor Visas for more information.

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Steps of US Study VISA Application and Preparation:

There are five basic steps to obtaining a US Study Visa. When applying for a student visa in the United States, prospective students will typically go through five stages:

  • Apply to and be accepted at a Student and Exchange Visitor Program (S.E.V.P.)-approved school in the United States (six to twelve months before beginning studies in the United States);
  • S.E.V.I.S. (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) fees must be paid.
  • Submit a student visa application to the United States, along with recent photo(s).
  • Pay the fee for the US Study Visa application.
  • Make plans for and attend an interview for a US student visa.

S.E.V.P. school application:

The foreign student is advised to research US schools, universities, or colleges before enrolling in any accredited degree program offered by the US (S.E.V.P). 

Universities and schools approved by SEVP can admit students in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (S.E.V.I.S.) and provide you with the paperwork required to apply for a US Study VISA. 

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If you are accepted by a university, the university will enroll you in the SEVIS system and send you a Form I-20 generated by SEVIS if you are eligible for a F or M visa.

S.E.V.I.S. fees:

SEVIS fees must be paid within three days of submitting an application for a US study visa. After depositing their application fees, both online and paper SEVIS applications will be completed. 

At the time of writing, the I-901 fee is $200 for F/M visa holders and $180 for J student visa holders. You can pay with a debit or credit card, a check, a foreign money order, or Western Union Quick Pay. 

Please also print the payment confirmation receipt. This confirmation will be required as proof of fee payment during your student visa interview in the United States.

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DS-160 online visa application:

In all cases, applicants for a US Study Visa must complete the DS-160 online application. To complete the DS-160 form, the following personal information is required:

  • Date of birth and name
  • Contact information, email, and address
  • Details on yourRead More-15 Best Therapeutic Boarding Schools in Virginia
  •  travel plans within the United States, as well as a history of previous US visits; if any Passport information page copy Your point of contact in the United States Family, employment, and school information
  • Information on security, background, and medical health.

In addition, you must upload a current photo of yourself in the format required in the photo criteria. Once the US VISA application is complete, consider electronically signing the DS-160 form as well.

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How Much is the US Study Visa Application fees in 2024?

The visa application fee is also referred to as the M.R.V. fee (Machine Readable Visa Fee). You should also double-check the fee payment instructions available at your local US consulate office or on their website, as they may differ. If you come across the phrase ‘visa issuance fee based on reciprocity’ while studying, don’t worry; this does not apply to F1, F2, M1, M2, J1, and J2 visa applicants.

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What are the Documents Required to Apply for American Study VISA?

The following documents must be submitted in order to apply for a F or M US Study visa:

  • Electronic Nonimmigrant Visa Application Form (DS-160).
  • In order to apply for a US Study Visa, your passport must be valid for at least six months.
  • One (1) recent 2′′x2′′ (5cmx5cm) photograph documenting payment of your non-refundable US$160 nonimmigrant visa application processing fee in local currency. This website has more information on how to pay this fee. Depending on your nationality, you may be charged an additional visa issuance reciprocity fee if you are granted a visa. The Department of State’s website can help you determine whether you need to pay a visa issuance fee. There may be a fee depending on your nationality. You can find out if you have to pay a visa issuance reciprocity charge and how much it costs on the Department of State’s website.
  • A completed Form I-20 from your authorized U.S. school or program.
  • 10-year travel history
  • Names of siblings and children
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US Study VISA Embassy Interview Preps

The final step in obtaining a US Study student visa is to schedule and attend a US Student visa interview. The US Student visa application process cannot be completed until you meet with a representative from the US embassy or consulate.

  • The applicant’s passport must be valid for at least six months.
  • Signed S.E.V.I.S. Form I-20 or DS-2019 (with separate forms for spouse/children) (for J-1 Trainee and Intern visa applicants only)
  • Receipt for M.R.V. fee payment confirmation
  • Fee receipt DS-160 application confirmation sheet with scan code or barcode S.E.V.I.S.
  • A receipt for the payment of the M.R.V. fee
  • A copy of the US student VISA interview appointment schedule letter, as well as 1-2 photographs in the format specified in the photograph criteria. It should be printed on high-quality photo paper.

Read also: How Long Does It Take to Get a Student Visa in the US, Canada, & UK?

Guidance on Getting Ready to Apply for US Study VISA

  • Arrive on time for your US Student VISA interview.
  • Prepare to be questioned about your home country, the reason for your desire to study in the United States, your English language proficiency, and the degree program you intend to pursue in the United States. You may also be asked to discuss your future plans after finishing your education.
  • One suggestion is to practice English conversation with a native speaker before the interview.
  • If you are unwilling to speak on your own behalf, you generally project an unfavorable image and have a negative impact. As a result, express yourself. You must speak for yourself.
  • You should also be able to explain how your studies in the United States will help you advance in your professional career back home.


How long does it take to get a US student visa approved?

Processing time with USCIS can range from 6 to 8 months plus mailing time, depending on USCIS processing times. You are not permitted to leave the United States pending your application.

What is the US F1 visa approval rate?

A student visa to the United States is not easy to obtain. It is difficult to compare the acceptance rate to that of other countries. A study visa to the United States is only accepted in 85% of cases.

How long does an F1 visa interview take?

It is critical to understand that, while the Visa Interview is an essential component of your US Student Visa Application, it is not the longest. In fact, the average US Visa Interview lasts 3 to 4 minutes (sometimes even less).

How many years is the F1 visa valid for?

The student must return to his home country after 12 months. However, if you perform well during your OPT, you may be eligible for a dual-intent visa.


Following your interview, the consular officer will notify you if your application requires additional administrative processing, which may result in a longer wait for your visa. F-1 and M-1 visas are valid for up to 120 days before the start of your studies.

I hope this article was helpful to you


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