What are the latest US student visa requirements?

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The United States has one of the highest quality education systems in the world, attracting increasing numbers of international students who want to pursue their academic goals in the country’s world-class learning environment. However, meeting the requirements for a US student visa is often their first obstacle due to the stringent visa application process.

This article breaks down everything you need to know, from eligibility rules to application strategies to boost your chance of success.

Is US student visa hard to obtain?

US student visas allow international students to pursue education in America for a designated period. US student visas are categorized into 03 different types including F, J, and M. Specifically, F1, M1, J1 visas are granted for international students; F2, M2, J2 visas are granted for their relatives, and F3 and M3 visas are granted for students from other countries.

In Vietnam, F1 student visas are most frequently used. This is because F1 visas permit students to study at high school, bachelor’s or master’s level, or participate in international student programs recognized by the US government. F2 visas are only issued to the spouses or unmarried children under 21 of F1 visa holders.

Given their strict immigration and residency policies for study purposes, obtaining US student visas is generally not to be taken lightly. Current official requirements for US student visa can be found on the US Consulate General website. According to experiences shared by past successful visa applicants, whether you are granted a student visa depends entirely on the strength of your application and how compellingly you answer visa interview questions.

Here are some common challenges when applying for a US student visa:

  1.    Incomplete application and missing required documents
  2.  ● Nervous or unconvincing answers during visa interviews
  3.  ● Insufficient prior academic performance and qualifications
  4.  ● Language barriers caused by poor command of English
US Student Visa Requirements- Thao & Co.

Obtaining a US student visa can be difficult depending on various factors. This includes the strength of each application, demonstration of financial stability, and US Consulate General policies. To increase your chances of visa approval, preparation is key – submit a strong application showing clear academic goals backed by financial stability, then make a compelling case for yourself by participating confidently in any required interviews.

It is also advisable for students to closely follow the guidelines from the U.S. Consulate General/Embassy in order to fully comply with all application procedures and regulations for U.S. student visas.

Key requirements for a successful US student visa application

To successfully obtain a US student visa, international students need to prepare the following types of documents: proof of visit purpose, proof of not being restricted for visa programs, and return commitment upon completing the course, etc. Additionally, a complete US student visa application must include these essential documents: academic transcripts, diplomas, English certificates, and proof of financial capability for the entire visit.


When applying for a US student visa, many international students often wonder if there’s any age restriction. As of today, the US government has not set any regulations on the permissible age for studying in the country. Therefore, your age does not impact your plans for studying in the US.

Indeed, the US educational program for international students does not impose any age restrictions. You only need a valid admission from a US-accredited educational institution to be eligible to apply for a student visa and enrollment. Hence, there is no need to worry about being overaged to pursue your studies.

Academic performance and diplomas

In addition to age, consular officials also pay attention to the applicant’s educational background. In a top-tier education setting like the US, it’s important to be able to keep up with the pace of the program.

  1. ● For high school students, academic performance is typically measured by a 4.0 GPA scale: a GPA of 3.0 or higher is often enough for enrollment at many schools in the US.
  2. ● For undergraduate and postgraduate program applicants: You need to achieve the required GRE (general and subject test), GMAT, or SAT scores required by the school you’re applying to.

Overall, each program has different assessment criteria. Students generally need to have a strong academic performance. It’s best to aim for programs that are a good fit for your academic performance.

English certificates

Having a good English command is crucial for an enjoyable study abroad experience. Sufficient English language skills allow international students to effectively learn in the classroom and interact with American communities. English language requirements may vary according to education levels and the chosen institutions. To obtain a US student visa, the requirements for English competency is typically as follows:

  1. ● For high school students, TOEFL, IELTS or certification of English courses are required.
  2. ● For undergraduates and postgraduates, standard minimums are generally: TOEFL iBT scores of 61-79 or higher, or IELTS band scores of 5.5-6.5 or higher.

Language proficiency is a powerful tool for successful visa interviews and smooth academic studies while studying abroad. So, before considering studying abroad, it is essential for students to improve their English language skills to meet the program requirements.

Financial stability

The United States is known as one of the world’s most developed countries with modern facilities and high quality of life. However, tuition fees and living expenses can be quite high. If you don’t have strong financial support, it might be hard to study in the US for a long time.

Therefore, consular officials may often consider your proof of financial capability to decide whether to approve your visa application or not.

Financial stability can be demonstrated through:

  1. ● Documents proving your current assets or your guardian’s assets: savings account, current bank account balance statement, property deeds, car registration certificate, will and testament, etc.
  2.  ● Your or your guardian’s employment and sources of income: pay slips, business registrations, labor contracts, etc.
  3.  ● Educational background: diplomas and qualifications.
US Student Visa - Thao & Co.

Updated requirements for US international students

International students should stay informed of relevant policies and requirements, both before and while studying abroad to ensure academic success.

Before studying in the US

Pre-enrollment requirements:

  1. ● Complete schools’ application forms
  2. ● At least 2 letters of recommendation from teachers, superiors or colleagues 
  3. ● Provide official high school diplomas, and academic transcripts with notarized English translations
  4. ● Submit standardized test scores: SAT, GRE, GMAT (for graduate programs), or other required English certificates
  5. ● An essay written in English demonstrating your language ability and critical thinking skills as required by your school.
  6. ● Pay all application fees before enrollment deadlines.
  7. ● For high school students studying abroad in the US: Students must have good grades, English language skills and can provide: required IELTS or TOEFL iBT scores.
  8. ● For international undergraduates: Students must have a GPA meeting the minimum requirements; an English certificate (TOEFL or IELTS with the required scores) and other relevant certifications, if any.

Latest US student visa requirements:

  1.  ● A complete application
  2.  ● Letter of admission
  3.   ● Valid passport
  4.   ● 5x5cm passport photo
  5.   ● A complete visa application form
  6.   ● An interview appointment letter

While studying in the US

International students with an F1 visa have work restrictions during their studies. Students are limited to working no more than 20 hours per week during academic periods. Additionally, you can participate in Optional Practical Training (OPT) to receive up to 12 months of OPT employment authorization before or after completing their academic studies. However, if you take up pre-completion OPT for a certain period, this time will be deducted from your available period of post-completion OPT.

It’s also important to keep in mind the duration of the US student visa while studying abroad. F-1 visa validity periods typically range from two to five years depending on the program and each student’s circumstances. For F-1 visas issued for one year, students must apply to extend their visa to continue their studies.

You should pay close attention to these regulations to prepare well for your studies in the US. It’s also recommended to get certified translations for any non-English documents to increase your chances of a successful visa application.

High quality visa application translation services

Get a Quote - Thao & Co.

As a professional translation company, Thao & Co. takes pride in providing high-quality translation services. With a comprehensive suite of translation solutions, including certified and notarized translation services, Thao & Co. is a top choice for clients all around the world.

Choose us to enjoy a wide range of benefits:

  1. ● Quick turnaround: delivery within 48 hours for standard documents
  2. ● Free certificate of translation accuracy provided by Thao & Co.
  3. ● Highly accurate translations performed by our experienced linguists.
  4. ● Strict confidentiality of all client information.
  5. ● Convenient progress tracking via Thao & Co.’s proprietary platform.

Trust Thao & Co. for high-quality translation that meets all your needs. Need expert certified translation to kickstart your study broad plan? Leave your information on our Get a Quote page, we’ll get back to you as soon as we can!

Source: Thao & Company
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