Student and Exchange Visitors

Student and Exchange VisitorsThe United States welcomes foreign citizens who come to the U.S. to study or participate in an exchange program. Before applying for a visa, all student and exchange visitor applicants are required to be accepted and approved for their program. When accepted, educational institutions and program sponsors will provide each applicant the necessary approval documentation, to be submitted when applying for a visa. Please select from the choices below for information about student and exchange visitor visas:


Exchange Program

The international student or exchange visitor has some responsibilities to attend to before they can enter the United States to attend a Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) certified school or program. This section of the Student and Exchange VisitorProgram (SEVP) website is here to assist with those responsibilities.

How To Become a Student or Exchange Visitor

One of the first responsibilities for the international student or exchange visitor is to apply for a visa. The following links will assist with this process. Keep in mind that visas are issued by American embassies and consulates.

SEVIS Approved Schools

  • List of Approved Schools (PDF | 1.3 MB)
  • Map of Approved Schools

Tips for Students and Exchange Visitors

Upon Arriving at a U.S. Port of Entry (US POE)

Maintaining Your Status

Important Immigration Documents


I-515A Tool Kit

  • I-515A Tool Kit (PDF | 708 KB) will help to ensure a smooth travel experience for International Students and Exchange Visitors.


Social Security

Practical Training

8 CFR 214.2(f)(10) Practical training. Practical training may be authorized to an F-1 student who has been lawfully enrolled on a full time basis, in a Service-approved college, university, conservatory, or seminary for one full academic year. This provision also includes students who, during their course of study, were enrolled in a study abroad program, if the student had spent at least one full academic term enrolled in a full course of study in the United States prior to studying abroad. A student may be authorized 12 months of practical training, and becomes eligible for another 12 months of practical training when he or she changes to a higher educational level. Students in English language training programs are ineligible for practical training. An eligible student may request employment authorization for practical training in a position that is directly related to his or her major area of study. There are two types of practical training available:

Departing the U.S.

Emergency Information

Technical Information

Useful Links

Department of Homeland Security (DHS)

  • US-VISIT — Information on who must enroll in U.S. VISIT and the processes used.
  • USCIS Forms and Fees — Copies of forms and instructions to use when filing with USCIS for a benefit. This includes links to electronic filing.

Department of State

Social Security

Federal Income Tax Information

  • Tax Information for Foreign Students and Scholars — Foreigners temporarily present in the United States as students, scholars, teachers, researchers, exchange visitors, and cultural exchange visitors are subject to special rules with respect to the taxation of their income. This web page contains extensive information on the rules and requirements for those individuals.

Department of Education

  • Postsecondary Educational Institutions and Programs Accredited by Accrediting Agencies and State Approval Agencies Recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education — The database lists approximately 6,900 postsecondary educational institutions and programs, each of which is accredited by an accrediting agency or state approval agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education as a "reliable authority as to the quality of postsecondary education" within the meaning of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA). The database does not include a number of postsecondary educational institutions and programs that elect not to seek accreditation but nevertheless may provide a quality postsecondary education. The U.S. Department of Education recommends that the database be used as one source of qualitative information and that additional sources of qualitative information be consulted.

Immigration Laws and Regulations

  • Federal Register Home Page — Published by the Office of the Federal Register, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), the Federal Register is the official daily publication for rules, proposed rules, and notices of Federal agencies and organizations, as well as executive orders and other presidential documents.
  • Electronic Version of 8 CFR 214 — Links to all CFR(8 CFR 214 is the section of the immigration regulations dealing with nonimmigrant status.)