Nonimmigrant Visas: Study & Exchange

03/25/2022

Travel Requirements:

For the latest travel requirements, please review our COVID-19 Information page and the following CDC website.

The Student (F-1/M-1) Visa provides opportunities for qualified applicants to study at accredited postsecondary institutions in the United States. With thousands of academic programs, world-class institutions, and unmatched flexibility, the United States offers a wealth of higher-education opportunities. Visit the Department of State’s EducationUSA website to learn about educational opportunities for undergraduate and graduate study, opportunities for scholars, admissions, and more.

The Exchange Visitor (J-1) Visa program provides countless opportunities for international candidates looking to travel and gain experience in the United States. The multifaceted programs enable foreign nationals to come to the United States to teach, study, conduct research, demonstrate special skills or receive on the job training for periods ranging from a few weeks to several years. To learn more about exchange visitor visa programs, program sponsors, and more, please visit j1visa.state.gov.

Citizens of Visa Waiver Program (VWP) participating countries who intend to study cannot travel on the VWP or on visitor (B) visas, except to undertake recreational study as part of a tourist visit. Students must travel to the United States with student (F-1 or M-1) visas. For more information on the VWP, see Visa Waiver Program.

For short periods of recreational study, a Visitor (B) visa can be used. Enrollment in a short recreational course of study, which is not for credit toward a degree or academic certificate, is permitted on a visitor (B) visa. Learn more about Visitor Visas.

Study leading to a U.S. conferred degree or certificate is not permitted on a visitor (B) visa, even if it is for a short duration. For example, distance learning which requires a period of time on the institution’s U.S. campus requires an F-1 visa.

Expedite Appointments:

Applicants may request an expedited visa appointment for emergency travel purposes, but it is necessary to make the request online. Circumstances that may be considered for expedited appointments include:

  • An immediate relative’s death, grave illness or life-threatening accident taking place in the United States.
  • Urgent medical treatment for the applicant or their minor child.
  • An applicant for a student or exchange visitor (F/M/J) visa whose I-20 or DS-2019 has a start date within the next 30 days and is earlier than the first available visa appointment.
  • An unexpected visit that is of significant cultural, political, journalistic, sporting or economic importance that is occurring within 10 days after the first available visa appointment.

If you think your reason for travel falls into one of these categories, please contact us at usvisaLibreville@state.gov with “EXPEDITE REQUEST” as the subject of your email.

Expedited appointments will only be granted at the Consular Section’s discretion. Applicants may only request an expedite once.

Government Sponsored Exchange:  

J-1 visa applicants, along with their dependents, for a U.S. government sponsored exchange program, whose Form DS-2019 has a program serial number of G-1, G-2, G-3, or G-7 are not required to pay the visa application fee (MRV fee) or SEVIS fee.   Please email usvisaLibreville@state.gov with a copy of your DS-2019 to schedule an interview.