6.3.2 The Process and Requirements
Applying for a Student Visa
Applicants for student visas should generally apply at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate with jurisdiction over their place of permanent residence. Although visa applicants may apply at any U.S. consular office abroad, it may be more difficult to qualify for the visa outside the country of permanent residence.
Each applicant for a student visa must pay a nonrefundable US$45 application fee and submit:
Student visa applicants must establish to the satisfaction of the consular officer that they have binding ties to a residence in a foreign country which they have no intention of abandoning, and that they will depart the United States when they have completed their studies. It is impossible to specify the exact form the evidence should take since applicants' circumstances vary greatly.
US Port of Entry
Applicants should be aware that a visa does not guarantee entry into the United States. The INS has authority to deny admission. Also, the period for which the bearer of a student visa is authorized to remain in the United States is determined by the INS, not the consular officer. At the port of entry, an INS official validates Form I-94, Record of Arrival-Departure, which notes the length of stay permitted.
Questions on how to obtain Form I-20A-B should be made to the educational institution. If the institution does not have the forms, it needs to contact the local INS office. Questions on visa application procedures at the American consular offices abroad should be addressed to that consular office by the applicant.