All About Getting a Student Visa for High School Education in the USA

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student visa for high school in usa

High school education in the USA is an excellent opportunity for international students. The country is known for quality education, flexibility, and diversity. To attend high school in USA, you need to apply for a USA visa. Generally, students have 2 options; they can either apply for an F1 student visa or a J1 exchange visitor visa. In this blog, we have covered details about student visa for high school in USA. You can learn about the eligibility requirements, documentation, application process, and more. 


Student Visa Options for High School in USA 

International students wanting to enrol in a high school in the USA need to apply for a student visa for high school in the USA .2 visa options are available to students. They are:

 student visa for high school in usa
  • J1 Visitor Visa: The J1 exchange visitor visa is given to exchange students to study at a high school.
  • F1 Student Visa: The F1 student visa is given to students wanting to attend high school in the USA. However, these students must not be exchange students. An F1 visa can be applied regardless of whether you are studying at a public school (for 1 year), or private school (more than a year). The school will issue a 1-20 form or Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status from the Designated School Offical (DSO) to start the visa application.  

Check out the popular reasons to study in USA

F1 Visa for Foreign Students in Public Schools

An F1 Visa is granted to foreign students wanting to attend a public secondary or high school (Grades 9-12) in the US. As per US laws, an F1  student visa for high school in usa is not issued to those wanting to study at a public primary or elementary school. Similarly, those wanting to enrol in a publicly funded adult education prorgam are also not eligible. However, dependents of a non-immigrant visa holder can attend either a public primary school an adult education prorgam, or any other public educational institution. 

Requirements for F1 Student Visa for High School in USA

The requirements that an F1 student visa for high school in USA are as follows:

  • Secondary school education is only permitted for  12 months 
  • The F1 secondary school students must pay the entire tuition fee 
  • Moreover, the F1 high school visa holder cannot attend a public elementary school or publicly funded education programs.

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Exchange Visitor Visa for High School in USA

The Exchange visitor visa or the J visa is for non-immigrant individuals wanting to participate in an approved exchange visitor program in the USA. An exchange visitor  student visa for high school in USA is given for several categories. For example, short-term scholars, specialists, students at college or university, summer work travel, teachers, and trainees.  The exchange visitors must follow the rules below:

 student visa for high school in usa
  • An exchange visitor travel cannot travel on the visa waiver program or with visitor visas.
  • Acceptance is exchanged visitor program is mandatory. The application for the same must be made through a designated sponsoring organisation in the USA.

Requirements for Exchange Visitor Visa for High School Students 

The high school students applying for an exchange visitor visa must meet the eligibility requirements. These requirements are as follows:

  • Must be at least 15 years of age but no more than 18 years old, or 
  • The student must not have already finished 11 years of primary and secondary education excluding kindergarten, and
  • Additionally, he/she must not have participated in a secondary school academic year or semester exchange program. Those who have already attended in with F1 or J1 status are also not eligible. 

How to Choose the Best High School

One of the major perks of US education is that there are several schools to choose from. The US schools are either private or public. Both offer different experiences to the student. The public schools in the USA have received the US taxpayer’s funding. These schools follow the established curriculum and give an exact experience of the American education system. 

Private schools, on the other hand, are generally more expensive. However, those enrolling in a private school are permitted to study for the full course duration. The public schools on the other hand, only permit 1 year of education for international students. Regardless or which school you have decided to study in, only a  Student and Exchange Visitor Program or SEVP registered school allow, international students. 

Watch the video below to learn about the 10 best high schools in USA

Credit: @Top10Tales

Documentation for Student Visa for High School in USA

International students must submit relevant documentation for a student visa in the USA. Only after submitting these documents a person become eligible for a visa (F1/J1). The necessary documents are provided below:

Additionally, depending on the visa you are applying for you need to present the following documents:

  • F1 visa- Submit Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F-1) Student Status: Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (M-1) Student Status for Vocational Students, Form I-20/ For Academic and Language Students, Form I-20 
  • Exchange Visa- Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status, Form DS-2019. The prorgam sponsor will provide this  SEVIS-generated Form DS-2019 after your information has been entered in the SEVIS database. Students under training or internship placement plan must submit Training/Internship Placement Plan, Form DS-7002 as well, 

Read this blog to learn how to get a student visa for USA 

Application Process  for Student Visa for High School in USA

The general application process for a student visa for high school in USA is as follows. The student must first get accepted to a SEVP-approved school in the USA for an F1 visa before applying.. On the other hand, the Exchange visitor visa applicants must first get accepted to an exchange visitor visa program through a designated sporting institution in the US. They can visit the  Department of State J-1 Visa Exchange Visitor Program website for this purpose.

 student visa for high school in usa
  • Fill out the online visa application for non-immigrants. The form is also known as the DS-160 Form. A printout of the same must be taken
  • Make sure to upload the photograph as per specifications while filling out the DS-160 Form.
  • Next, schedule an interview (if applicable) The wait time for the interview can differ depending on the U.S. Embassy or Consulate of your country 
  •  Make sure the visa application fees have been paid. The fees must be paid before attending the US visa interview. Later, if the visa is approved a visa issuance fee must also be paid.
  • Next, attend the visa interview. A consular officer will take the visa interview to decide whether you are qualified for the exchange visa/student visa
  • Lastly, wait for the US visa application result.

Note: The student visa (F/M) for new students is now issued up to 353 days in advance of the course start date. 

Note: (The exchange visitor visa applicants): They will have to be physically present in their home country for 2 years after the course completion. This applies to those applying for government-funded exchange programs, Graduate medical education or training, Specialized knowledge or skills, etc. 

US Student Visa Interview Requirement 

The US  student visa for high school in usa interview requirement depends on the age of the applicant. It is explained in the table below:

Age Visa Interview Requirement 
13 and youngerNot Required 
80 and olderNot Required 
14 – 79Required (some exceptions for renewals)

Read this blog to learn about the F1 Visa Process in Detail


Can you get a US student visa for high school?

Yes. It is possible to get a US student visa for high school students. The F-1 Visa allows the student to enter the US and study as a full-time student. The J1 exchange visitor visa is available for exchange students. 

Can an international student attend high school in the US?

Yes. Intentional students can attend a high school that is SEVP-certified. The public secondary school (grades 9-12) can be entered with restrictions. However, international students can only study for a year at a public school in the US.

Can a 17 year old get student visa in USA?

Yes. a 17 year old student can get a visa in the US. The chances of obtaining a visa depend on several factors, such as the student’s circumstances and the Consulate or Embassy’s requirements.

We hope you now understand what is the Student Visa for High School in USA.. Want to apply for a Visa for your study abroad journey? Drop us a comment in the section below, or you can connect with a visa expert at Leverage Edu, and we will guide you on your dream journey!

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