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Study in USA From Pakistan: Student Visa Requirements

New York Skyline, showcasing the view for students from Pakistan,

Image credit: Michal Marek

Many international students from dream of studying and eventually settling down in the United States of America, and for all the right reasons. The US is renowned for its world class universities and an abundance of career opportunities for international students. 

But before you pack your bags and book your flight, there’s one crucial hurdle you need to leap, that is the US student visa.

We won’t sugarcoat anything. The US student visa is arguably one of the most difficult to procure for international students. However, our experts at AS Overseas Education have substantial experience helping many students acquire the US student visa successfully. 

Let’s dive right into some of the key things you need to know to successfully apply for the US student visa. 

Types of Student Visas in the USA

The first thing you need to know is that there are three primary student visa types in the US, which are:

F-1 Student Visa

This is the most common student visa type for international students who want to study at an accredited US college or university. F-1 visas are valid for the duration of your academic program plus 60 days of grace period. F-1 visa holders can work on-campus up to 20 hours per week during academic sessions and full-time during breaks. 

J-1 Exchange Visa

This is the student visa type for foreign nationals who have been approved to take part in work-and-study-based exchange programs, such as visiting scholars, and research assistants. J-1 visas are valid for the duration of your exchange program plus 30 days of grace period and these visa holders can also work on- or off-campus. 

M-1 Student Visa

This is the student visa type for international students who want to pursue vocational or non-academic studies, such as technical or trade programs. M-1 visas are valid for the duration of your program plus 30 days of grace period. M-1 visa holders cannot work on- or off-campus while studying in the US.

Eligibility Criteria for Each Visa Type

Once you have decided which student visa type suits your needs, you need to meet the eligibility criteria for that visa type to successfully go on to study in USA from Pakistan. The eligibility criteria vary depending on the visa type, but generally include:

  • Having a valid passport that expires at least six months after your intended date of departure from the US
  • Having an acceptance letter from a SEVP-approved school or program sponsor in the US
  • Having a Form I-20 (for F-1 or M-1 visas) or Form DS-2019 (for J-1 visas) issued by your school or program sponsor
  • Having sufficient financial resources to cover your tuition, fees, living expenses, and travel costs
  • Having proof of ties to your home country, such as family, property, or career prospects, that demonstrate your intention to return after your studies
  • Having no history of visa violations, criminal convictions, or security threats that would make you ineligible for a US visa

To prove your eligibility for a US student visa, you need to prepare various documents, such as:

  • Your passport and passport-sized photos
  • Your acceptance letter and Form I-20 or Form DS-2019
  • Your bank statements, tax returns, scholarship letters, or other evidence of financial support
  • Your academic transcripts, diplomas, test scores, or other evidence of academic achievement
  • Your resume, letters of recommendation, or other evidence of professional or personal achievements
  • Your travel itinerary, flight tickets, or other evidence of travel plans

Application Process for USA Student Visas

After you have gathered all the required documents, you are ready to apply for your US student visa. The application process consists of the following steps:

Step 1- Pay the SEVIS I-901 fee

This is a mandatory fee that you must pay to register in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). You can pay the SEVIS I-901 fee online using a credit card or debit card.

Step 2- Complete the online visa application form

This is the DS-160 form that you must fill out online using the Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC) website. You will need to provide personal, educational, and travel information, as well as upload a digital photo of yourself that meets the photo requirements.

Step 3- Pay the visa application fee

This is a non-refundable fee that you must pay to schedule your visa interview. The fee amount depends on your country of origin and visa type. 

Step 4- Schedule your visa interview:

This is the final and most important step of your visa application process to study in USA from Pakistan. You must schedule your visa interview online using the U.S. Visa Service website or by phone using the call center number. 

Step 5- Attend your visa interview:

This is when you will meet with a consular officer who will review your documents, ask you questions about your purpose of study, and decide whether to grant you a US student visa or not. 

Image credit: Keira Burton

Common Challenges and Tips

As you might have already gathered, if you’re looking to study in USA from Pakistan, the student visa application process is quite daunting. Here are some common challenges you might face, alongside some expert tips to help address them: 

  • Application delays: Be prepared for potential delays and plan accordingly. Start your application process well in advance of your study program start date.
  • Financial limitations: Demonstrating sufficient financial resources can be challenging. Hence, if you are not able to showcase sufficient funds, it’s better to explore scholarship opportunities, and financial aid options. 
  • Visa interview anxiety: Many students tend to find the visa interview step quite challenging. The way to go with visa interviews is to relax and research commonly asked interview questions alongside practicing your responses beforehand. 

Get in touch with one of our experts here to have them assist you in preparing for your US visa interview procedure. 

Get Professional Help 

If you want to study in USA from Pakistan, or want to learn more about the student visa procedure, contact us at AS Overseas Education to get a free counselling session from our esteemed experts. 

With hundreds of success stories under our belt, our team of experts is here to support you every step of the way, ensuring a smooth journey towards your study in USA from Pakistan.

Get in touch

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Azmi is a versatile and creative writer with a passion for storytelling. With substantial experience in the education industry, combined with a keen eye on current trends-- he's able to provide in-depth insights to compliment our services.


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