Travel Tips

Best Guides to Convert Visitor Visa to Student Visa in USA

Best Guides to Convert Visitor Visa to Student Visa in USA

In our interconnected world, many people aspire to study abroad. The United States is a favored choice among international students because of its prestigious universities and wide range of academic programs. If you’re presently in the USA on a tourist visa and have ambitions of pursuing higher education, you might be curious about the steps needed to switch from a tourist visa to a student visa. This article will walk you through the process and equip you with the essential details to smoothly transition.


What is a visitor’s visa?

A visitor visa, commonly referred to as a B-1/B-2 visa, permits individuals to temporarily enter the United States for reasons such as business, tourism, or medical purposes. This type of visa is typically granted for a specified period of time.

What is a student visa?

A student visa, often identified as an F-1 visa, is a non-immigrant visa enabling foreign nationals to engage in academic studies in the United States. It is issued to individuals who have secured admission to a recognized educational institution.

Steps to Convert Visitor Visa to Students

Researching Universities and Programs

  • Exploring Educational Opportunities

Before converting your visitor visa to a student visa, it is essential to research universities and programs that align with your academic and career goals. Explore various universities, their rankings, available scholarships, and the courses they offer.

  • Considering Visa Sponsorship

While researching universities, pay attention to whether they offer visa sponsorship for international students. Visa sponsorship is crucial as it indicates the institution’s commitment to supporting international students throughout their academic journey.

Meet Admission Requirements

  • Fulfilling Academic Criteria

To convert your visitor visa to a student visa, you need to meet the admission requirements of the university you wish to apply to. These requirements typically include submitting transcripts, standardized test scores, letters of recommendation, and a personal statement.

  • English Language Proficiency

Most universities in the United States require international students to demonstrate English language proficiency. This is usually done through standardized tests such as the TOEFL or IELTS.

Apply to the Universities

  • Submitting the Application

Once you have identified the universities and programs you are interested in, submit your application online or through the university’s designated application portal. Ensure that you provide accurate and up-to-date information.

  • Paying the Application Fees

Each university may have its own application fee. Pay the required fee for each university you apply to, keeping track of the payment receipts.

Obtain an I-20 Form

  • Acceptance and I-20 Form

After reviewing your application, if a university accepts you, they will issue an I-20 form. The I-20 form is a Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status and is necessary for the visa application process.

  • Confirming Financial Capability

To receive the I-20 form, you must provide evidence of your financial capability to cover tuition fees, living expenses, and other educational costs. This is an essential requirement for obtaining a student visa.

Pay the SEVIS Fee

  • Understanding SEVIS

SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) is a program that maintains information on international students and exchange visitors in the United States. As part of the visa application process, you are required to pay the SEVIS fee.

  • SEVIS Fee Payment

Visit the official SEVIS website to pay the fee electronically and obtain the payment confirmation receipt, which you will need during the visa interview.

Complete the Visa Application Form

  • DS-160 Form

The DS-160 form is the online application form for a non-immigrant visa. Complete the form accurately, providing all the required information, including personal details, travel history, and educational background.

  • Uploading Photograph

Upload a recent passport-sized photograph that meets the specified requirements as part of the DS-160 form.

Schedule and Attend the Visa Interview

  • Scheduling the Interview

After completing the DS-160 form, schedule an appointment for the visa interview at the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. Make sure to choose a date and time that aligns with your travel plans and allows sufficient time for visa processing.

  • Required Documents for the Interview

Gather all the necessary documents for the visa interview, including your passport, DS-160 confirmation page, I-20 form, SEVIS fee payment confirmation, academic documents, financial statements, and any additional supporting documents.

Preparing for the Interview

  • Familiarize Yourself with the Process

Research the visa interview process to understand what to expect and how to prepare effectively. Practice answering common interview questions and gather all the required documents in advance.

  • Demonstrating Ties to Home Country

During the interview, it is crucial to demonstrate strong ties to your home country, such as family, property, employment prospects, or any other significant connections. This helps assure the visa officer of your intention to return after completing your studies.

Attending the Interview

  • Dress Professionally and Arrive Early

On the day of the interview, dress professionally and arrive at the embassy or consulate well before your scheduled appointment. Being punctual shows respect and professionalism.

  • Answering Questions Confidently

During the interview, answer questions confidently and truthfully. Provide concise and clear responses, focusing on your academic aspirations and reasons for choosing the United States for your studies.

Submit Additional Documents

  • Additional Documents Requested

In some cases, the visa officer may request additional documents to further evaluate your application. Ensure that you provide the requested documents promptly to avoid any delays in the visa processing.

Receive the Student Visa

  • Visa Approval and Passport Return

If your visa application is approved, the visa officer will stamp your passport with the student visa. They will also provide information regarding when and how to collect your passport.

  • Visa Denial

In case your visa application is denied, the visa officer will provide reasons for the denial. You may reapply if you believe you can address the concerns or choose an alternative academic path.

Prepare for the Transition

  • Travel and Accommodation Arrangements

Once you have obtained your student visa, make necessary travel and accommodation arrangements for your arrival in the United States. Notify your university of your travel plans and any assistance required.

  • Health Insurance and Immunizations

It is essential to obtain health insurance coverage and ensure you have received any required immunizations before traveling to the United States.

Adapt to Student Life in the USA

  • Orientation and Campus Support

Upon arrival, participate in orientation programs offered by your university. These programs provide valuable information about campus resources, academic expectations, and cultural adaptation.

  • Engaging in Campus Activities

To make the most of your student experience, get involved in campus activities, join student organizations, and build a network of friends and mentors.


Successfully changing your status from a visitor visa to a student visa in the USA demands meticulous preparation, extensive research, and strict adherence to the application procedures. By adhering to the guidelines provided in this article, you can effectively manage this transition and set out on a rewarding educational adventure in the United States.