Nonimmigrant Visas: Study & Exchange

If you are a student, we will make every effort to ensure that you get an appointment and, if qualified, a visa in time to start classes.

U.S. immigration law provides two nonimmigrant visa categories for study in the United States. The “F” visa is for academic studies, and the “M” visa is for nonacademic or vocational studies.

In order to obtain a student visa, you must first apply to and be accepted at a school in the U.S. Once you have been accepted, the school will forward you a form called the I-20 or I-20M. You must present this form in order to get a visa.

F-1 and M-1 student visas can be issued up to 120 days in advance of your course of study start date. However, you will not be allowed to enter the United States in F-1 or M-1 status earlier than 30 days before your start date. Applicants continuing on a student program are not subject to this restriction.

The J exchange visitor program is designed to promote the interchange of persons, knowledge, and skills in the fields of education, arts, and sciences. Participants include students at all academic levels; trainees obtaining on-the-job training with firms, institutions, and agencies; teachers of primary, secondary, and specialized schools; professors coming to teach or do research at institutions of higher learning; research scholars; professional trainees in the medical and allied fields; and international visitors coming for the purpose of travel, observation, consultation, research, training, sharing, or demonstrating specialized knowledge or skills, or participating in organized people-to-people programs.

J1 and J2 visitors may be issued visas at any time before the beginning of their programs. However, exchange visitors may not enter the United States earlier than 30 days before the initial program start date. Applicants continuing on an exchange visitors program are not subject to this restriction.

Required Documentation:

  1. Valid Passport
  2. The DS-160 application form confirmation page
  3. For F and M Visas, completed SEVIS Form: I-20A-B (for F1 or F3 students) or Form I-20M-N (for M-1 students) properly completed and signed by both the Designated School Official (DSO) and the applicant. More information on SEVISNOTE:  You must bring the original I-20 with original signatures.
  4. For J Visas, completed DS-2019 Form: Name on form must exactly match the name in your passport and has been entered into the SEVIS system by the U.S. academic institution. More information on SEVIS. 
  5. SEVIS Fee Receipt: Most J, F, and M applicants must pay a SEVIS fee.  Please bring an electronic receipt or I-797 receipt to your interview. Information on how to pay the SEVIS fee.
  6. Proof that you can pay for the first year of the program.

Optional Documentation:

  1. Passports containing all previous U.S. visas, even if expired
  2. Birth certificate (original or certified copy)
  3. ID Card if 18 or over
  4. Proof of Finances (bank statements)
  5. Proof of Education (school diploma, transcripts, standardized test scores, etc.))
  6. Proof of Employment (pay slips, company credential, letter from Human Resources Department)

The above items should not be considered an exhaustive list and presentation of these documents does not guarantee visa issuance.  Be prepared to explain to the visa officer and present evidence regarding why you are going to the US and why you will return to the Dutch Caribbean.