Us Student Visa for Canadians Studying in United State | Requirements, Process and Length of Stay


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If you’re a Canadian student interested in studying in the United States, one of the first steps is obtaining a US student visa. This allows you to legally enter the US and remain there for the duration of your academic program. The visa application process can seem daunting, but when broken down step-by-step, it’s quite straightforward. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk through the entire process from start to finish, including eligibility requirements, application materials, fees, timelines, and tips for Canadians applying for US student visas.

Who Needs a US Student Visa?

If you are a Canadian citizen looking to study in the US for more than 90 days, you will need to obtain a valid US student visa. This applies whether you are attending a university, college, high school, seminary, conservatory, or language training program. Some key points:

  • The visa allows you to enter the US 30 days before the start of your program.
  • It allows you to remain in the US for the full duration of your academic program.
  • You must maintain full-time status and make progress toward completing your program.
  • Your dependent spouse and children can be issued dependent visas to accompany you.

Some Canadian travelers are exempt from needing student visas, such as those enrolled in tourist visa waiver programs. But for long-term study, a student visa is required for most Canadian students.

Types of US Student Visas

The most common US student visa that Canadian students obtain is the F-1 visa. This is for those pursuing academic education including high school, college, university, seminary, and language training programs.

Canadians studying avocation or vocational programs like cosmetology, automotive tech, etc. would apply for an M-1 vocational visa instead.

Student visas are issued in the F and M category as they pertain to academic and vocational fields of study. Be sure you know which type matches your intended program.

Eligibility Requirements for Us Student Visa

To be eligible for a US student visa, Canadian students must meet a number of requirements:

  • Have unconditional acceptance at a SEVP-approved school.
  • Be enrolled as a full-time student in an academic or vocational program.
  • Have sufficient financial resources to cover tuition and living expenses.
  • Be proficient in English and academically qualified for your program.
  • Have a residence abroad that you do not intend to abandon.
  • Be of good moral character without a criminal record.
  • Pay the required visa application fees.
  • Pass an interview with a consular officer at your nearest US embassy or consulate.

You’ll need to provide documentation verifying that you meet these eligibility criteria when applying for your visa. Working with your designated school official can ensure you understand and meet all requirements.

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Gather Required Documents

When applying for a US student visa, you must submit a number of documents as part of your application. Be sure to start gathering these well in advance:

Form I-20: This key form is issued by your designated school official confirming your enrollment status and documents you have sufficient funds.

Valid passport: Should have an expiry date of at least 6 months beyond your program end date.

Application forms: Form DS-160 is your visa application with photos, signatures, and background info.

Photos: 2×2 inches, in color, no glasses, taken within the last 6 months.

Academic transcripts: Post-secondary transcripts from all schools attended.

Financial evidence: Bank statements, scholarships, etc. showing you can afford tuition and living costs.

Pay stubs: If employed, provide to demonstrate ties to your home country.

Visa fee: Generally around $160 USD, confirm current fee rates on the embassy website.

Having all documents ready to submit will make the visa application process go much more smoothly.

Application Process for Us Student Visa

Complete Visa Application Forms

A key component of the visa application is completing the required forms thoroughly and accurately.

Form DS-160 is the main visa application form. You’ll provide background info, employment history, family details, academic records, and more. Form DS-157 is the supplemental form for males aged 16-45 registering for selective service.

Take time to complete these forms carefully and ensure all details match your other application documents. Any discrepancies or missing info can lead to visa delays or rejections. Triple-check for accuracy before submission.

Schedule Visa Interview

Once you’ve gathered and compiled all required documents and forms, the next step is scheduling a visa interview. This interview takes place at the closest US embassy or consulate to where you live in Canada.

Interviews are generally booked 1-3 months in advance, so schedule yours as early as possible. The wait time depends on the specific consulate location. You’ll receive a confirmation with your interview date and time.

This in-person interview is a key factor in determining visa approval. You’ll be asked questions about your program plans, academic history, financial resources, and ties to Canada ensuring you meet all requirements. Dress professionally and be prepared to thoroughly explain your need for the student visa.

A consular officer will ultimately decide if you can reasonably be expected to return home after finishing your studies. Be detailed, honest, and confident when explaining your motives during the interview.

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Pay Visa and SEVIS Fees

In addition to the visa application forms, you’ll also need to pay the required visa and SEVIS fees. These are non-refundable, even if your visa is ultimately rejected.

The SEVIS fee goes to the Student and Exchange Visitor Program to cover processing costs. This is paid first as part of your visa application to the Department of Homeland Security. It is $350 USD at the time of writing but confirm the latest rate.

The visa application fee is paid next to the Department of State when booking your interview. It is generally around $160 USD but also confirm the exact rate based on your nationality and visa type.

These fees must be paid before your visa will be processed and approved. Keep the official receipts as proof of payment.

Receive Visa Decision

Once you’ve completed your interview, the consular officer will let you know if your student visa is approved or denied. If approved, the visa will be stamped in your passport. Make sure all details on it are accurate before leaving the embassy.

If your visa is denied, the officer is required to provide you with the reasons for refusal in writing. This decision cannot be appealed, but you may reapply later if your situation changes.

Being well prepared with all required documents and a convincing interview performance gives you the best chance of approval on the first try.

Entry to the United States

With your shiny new F-1 or M-1 visa stamped in your passport, you’re ready to begin your academic studies in the US!

You’ll be allowed entry up to 30 days before the program start date listed on your Form I-20. Be sure to bring your passport, visa, I-20 form, acceptance letter, and financial evidence when crossing the border.

Plan to register with your school and apply for a Social Security number and driver’s license once you’ve settled in the US. Your DSO has guides to help get oriented as an international student.

While living and studying in America, you must maintain full-time enrollment and make normal progress toward completing your program. Follow all visa terms to ensure your legal student status in the country.

Key Tips for Canadians

Applying for a US student visa can seem intimidating. Keep these tips in mind to streamline the process:

  • Start the application process 5-6 months in advance of your program start date. This gives ample time for processing and interviews.
  • Thoroughly complete all forms and double-check for accuracy before submitting. Any mistakes or discrepancies can delay or endanger visa approval.
  • Have all required documents ready to submit as part of your application package.
  • Prep questions to expect during your visa interview and practice responses to highlight your qualifications.
  • Book your visa interview at the nearest embassy/consulate as early as possible. Wait times maybe 1-3 months.
  • Remain calm and confident during your interview. Provide clear and honest answers.
  • Maintain your student status while in the US by following visa terms and school enrollment policies.
  • Apply early and be organized when gathering paperwork to avoid unnecessary visa stress!
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Benefits of Us Student Visa

Here are some of the top benefits for Canadian students studying in the US with a student visa:

  • Access to a huge variety of academic programs at over 8,000 SEVP-certified schools across the US. Pursue diverse fields of study and specializations that may not be available in Canada.
  • Opportunity to study at top-ranked American universities including Ivy League schools, Stanford, MIT, CalTech, etc. These schools are leaders in research and academics.
  • Potential to access scholarships, grants, teaching assistant positions and other tuition assistance to help fund studies.
  • Gain life experience by living abroad in the US, improving independence and cross-cultural communication skills.
  • Build a professional network with professors and fellow students that can lead to career opportunities after graduation.
  • Possibility to participate in Optional Practical Training for 12-36 months of work in your field in the US after finishing studies.
  • Potential pathway to H1-B skilled worker visa or permanent resident status if an employer sponsors you post-graduation.
  • No need to pay international student tuition rates at US public universities, unlike other foreign students. Canadians get in-state tuition.
  • Easier ability to visit home during school breaks compared to overseas schools in Asia or Europe. More affordable flights.

The combination of diverse academic options, elite school names on your resume, experiential learning abroad, and future career prospects make studying in the US with a student visa highly attractive to Canadian students.


Studying internationally is an amazing opportunity. By understanding the visa application process and following the steps outlined here, Canadian students can obtain their US study permits efficiently. Allow plenty of time for paperwork and interviews, follow instructions carefully, and thoroughly demonstrate your qualifications when speaking to consular officials. With the proper preparation, your American educational adventure awaits!

Hello, my name is Joseph Samaritan and I am a blogger who writes about various topics of interest, I have a passion for learning and sharing knowledge through my blog, I welcome feedback and comments on my posts and I look forward to engaging with you, thank you for visiting my blog and I hope you enjoy reading it.


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