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The visa application process was not at all as daunting as I thought it would be. You do have to jump through a number of hoops to complete your application, but it's obvious the US Embassy staff have tried their hardest to streamline the process and to make it as efficient as possible. I really found the visa process to be pretty manageable. Marc, University of Pennsylvania
The two most common visas for US study are the F-1 Student Visa and J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa. Please note you will not have to choose which visa to apply for; your university or sponsoring organisation will dictate your visa type.
F-1 Student Visa: Most students pursuing full-time study at an educational institution recognised by the US government will enter the US on an F-1 Student Visa. Spouses or children accompanying F-1 visa recipients will travel on an F-2 visa.
J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa: The J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa, on the other hand, is for students, visiting scholars or lecturers pursuing study under sponsorship of the US government, their home government or an international organisation. For example, Fulbright scholars and many students on short-term study abroad programmes from UK universities will travel to the US on a J-1 visa. Spouses or children accompanying J-1 visa recipients will travel on a J-2 visa.
Note: This page is meant to be a general guide to the visa application process. Local US Embassies are the official source of information on visas, and any information provided to you by the US Embassy supersedes information on this webpage.
For more information on visas visit the US State Department website. They have sections on
F Visas and J Visas. You may also want to review the information provided by the US Embassy in London. Additionally, talk with your US university or visa sponsor for further information. If you are not a UK citizen, we encourage you to also read the US Embassy London's webpage on visas for non-residents.