Nonimmigrant Visas: Study & Exchange

Updated November 4, 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:

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

If you meet the conditions above, please follow the link to complete the Interview Waiver Program and Student Visa Appointment Form, or scan the QR code below. It is required that you provide your barcode from your DS-160 confirmation page.

QR Code

J and F visa applicants only. In order to apply for a visa through the Interview Waiver Program, you must have the same SEVIS number as when the visa was originally issued.

Gabonese citizens: When you complete your visa application form, contact us at USVisaLibreville@state.gov and write “Interview Waiver” in the subject line. The Consular Officer will determine if you qualify for the Interview Waiver program. If qualified, the Nonimmigrant Visa Section will contact you via email with instructions on how to submit your passport, application, and related documents to the Embassy. This option is not available for applicants outside of Gabon or in overseas territories.

Citizens of countries other than Gabon: When you complete your visa application form, contact us at USVisaLibreville@state.gov and write “Interview Waiver” in the subject line. The Consular Officer will determine if you qualify for the Interview Waiver program. If qualified, the system will provide instructions on how to submit your payment, passport, application, and related documents to the Embassy. Eligible applicants who do not hold a Gabonese passport must submit a copy of their valid Gabonese residency card (carte de sejour) and may be required to pay a reciprocity fee in addition to the standard visa fee. To determine if a reciprocity fee is required for your application, go to the reciprocity fee website and select your country of nationality on the left, then select your visa category under Visa Classifications to see if a fee is listed. The principal applicant of a Blanket L petition must pay an additional fraud prevention and detection fee of $500 USD.

If your application requires an additional fee, you must pay the fee at the U.S. Embassy.

Applicants are expected to bring exact change only. Failure to provide exact change may result in delays in processing.

The U.S. Embassy Libreville can only accept a cash in US Dollars or CFA, though the reciprocity fee website lists fees in U.S. dollars. Therefore, the fees listed must be converted to CFA using the Current Consular Exchange Rate: USD 1 = 700 CAF >> For example, if your reciprocity fee is $240, you will need to multiply this amount by 700 to get as a result 168,000 CAF; $240 x 700 =168,000 CAF.

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.