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Student Visas

Persons who wish to study in the United States need to apply for a student visa—a specific type of non-immigrant visa—at the Embassy. See the Step-by-Step Instructions for non-immigrant visas for more information on the visa application process. In addition to the materials required for other non-immigrant visa applicants, students must provide proof of financing for their study and a Form I-20 issued by the prospective school or university in the United States.

Please note that students’ applications are received on regular visa days, i.e. Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 8:00 to 12:00. Special accommodations are made during the months of July and August and the Embassy will make announcements regarding student-visa only days. Please refer to the announcement page to see the latest accommodation for students.


What to bring:

  • A printed DS-160 confirmation page.
  • A printed appointment confirmation page.
  • A valid I-20 form issued by the school or university in the United States.
  • Original school transcripts and diplomas (Baccalaureat, TOEFL,etc) as well as any work related documents.
  • Financial documents proving the student's ability to afford the cost of the proposed course of study. At a minimum, bank statements for the last three months are required. Students are expected to have immediate access to sufficient funds to cover the first year's studies, but must also demonstrate that, barring unforseen circumstances, they will have the ability to pay for the entire proposed course of study in the U.S.
  • Proof of payment of the $200 SEVIS (Students and Exchange Visitors Information System) fee. This fee can be paid through any Western Union location. You can also pay the fee online with a credit card at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Student and Exchange Visitor Program SEVIS I-901 Fee processing website. More information on SEVIS is available at .
  • A 50 mm by 50 photo (2x2 inches) with a white background, if you were not able to submit a photo online with your DS-160 form.
  • A passport valid for at least six months.
  • Application fees of $160 or its equivalent in CFA.

Although not required, you may bring any other documents that you believe will support your visa request, such as letters of admission, statements of intent submitted to the school in the U.S., etc.

Please see the non-immigrant visa Step-by-step Instructions for more information.

At The Interview

Student visa applicants must establish to the satisfaction of the consular officer that they are bona fide students wishing to pursue a full course of study toward the attainment of a specific educational or professional objective.  Students must also demonstrate that they have a residence in a foreign country which they have no intention of abandoning, and that they will depart the United States upon termination of their student status.  Students must also explain how they plan to pay for their proposed course of study.

Family Members

A spouse or child of a student may also be qualified for a nonimmigrant visa to accompany or follow the principal applicant. Family members must prove their relationship to the student by showing documents such as marriage and or birth certificate(s) and meet all visa eligibility requirements, including evidence that they will have sufficient funds for their support, and that they will depart the United States upon termination of the student program.

30 Day Entry Limit

Students are advised of the Department of Homeland Security regulation, which requires that all initial or beginning students enter the U.S. 30 days or fewer prior to the report date as shown on the form I-20. Please make sure you consider this date carefully when making travel plans to the United States.

Student Employment

An F-1 student may not accept off-campus employment at any time during the first year of study. Under certain circumstances, the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (BCIS) may grant permission to accept off-campus employment after one year. F-1 students may accept on-campus employment from the school without the BCIS permission. Except for temporary employment for practical training, an M-1 student may not accept employment. Spouses and children of students may not accept employment at any time.

Please see the Education Advisor page for more information on studying in the United States.

Final note on the choice of school

English language programs have grown very popular with international students and are viewed as a quick path into the U.S. higher education system.  However, these schools often do not consider your broader qualifications for university study.  Unfortunately, some visa applicants have used these schools to gain entry to the U.S., and subsequently failed to pursue a legitimate academic objective or to maintain their student status.  Thus, while the consular officer will thoroughly consider each individual visa application on its own merits, applications to degree-granting schools that vigorously review your academic background are certainly considered favorably.

To help students find a school which corresponds to their specific background, academic objectives, career goals, and budget, the U.S. Embassy in Ouagadougou offers student advising services.  Student advisors can also help you to find scholarships that may help you to pay for the cost of studies in the United States.

Please visit our website, for more information on the student visa process and student advising sessions.