The U.S. is a country of 50 states covering a vast swath of North America, with Alaska in the northwest and Hawaii extending the nation’s presence into the Pacific Ocean. Midwestern metropolis Chicago is known for influential architecture and on the west coast, is Los Angeles’ Hollywood which is famed for filmmaking. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have a Hollywood experience? Give yourself that opportunity by learning more about the US Student Visa for Ethiopians.

The United States supports international education and welcomes foreign students and exchange visitors. Generally, students of foreign countries who wish to enter the United States must first obtain a visa, either a nonimmigrant visa for temporary stay or an immigrant visa for permanent residence. You must have a study visa such as the US student visa for Ethiopians to study in the United States.

Processing time/duration

Foreign students in the United States with F visas must depart the United States within 60 days after the program end date listed on Form I-20, including any authorized practical training. Failure to depart the United States on time will result in being out of status which further implies that you may become ineligible for visas in the future. It suffices to note that except in cases of emergency travel (i.e. serious illnesses, injuries, or deaths in your immediate family), before making inquiries about the status of administrative processing,  applicants should wait at least 180 days from the date of interview or submission of supplemental documents, whichever is later. Student (F and M) visas for new students can be issued up to 120 days in advance of the start date for a course of study.  However, you will not be allowed to enter the United States on your student visa for more than 30 days before the start date.

 Visa Type

A valid U.S. visa such as the US student visa for Ethiopians in an expired passport is still valid. Unless cancelled or revoked, a visa is valid until its expiration date. If you have a valid visa in your expired passport, do not remove it from your expired passport. You may use your valid visa in your expired passport along with a new valid passport for travel and admission to the United States. There are two nonimmigrant visa categories for persons wishing to study in the United States. These visas are commonly known as the F and M visas.

The F-1 Visa (Academic Student) allows you to enter the United States as a full-time student at an accredited college, university, seminary, conservatory, academic high school, elementary school, or other academic institution or in a language training program. You must be enrolled in a program or course of study that culminates in a degree, diploma, or certificate and your school must be authorized by the U.S. government to accept international students. F-1 students may not work off-campus during the first academic year but may accept on-campus employment subject to certain conditions and restrictions. After the first academic year, F-1 students may engage in three types of off-campus employment: Curricular Practical Training (CPT), Optional Practical Training (OPT) (pre-completion or post-completion), Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Optional Practical Training Extension (OPT).

The M-1 visa (Vocational Student) category includes students in vocational or other non-academic programs, other than language training. M-1 students may engage in practical training only after they have completed their studies.

For both F-1 and M-1 students, any off-campus employment must be related to their area of study and must be authorized prior to the start of any work by the Designated School Official (the person authorized to maintain the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS)) and USCIS. Your spouse and unmarried, minor children who intend to reside with you during your study may apply for F-2 or M-2 visas. Although SEVIS fee payment is not required, your school must issue them an individual Form I-20, which is required to apply for their visas. You must provide a copy of your F-1 or M-1 visa and provide proof of relationship.


In order to obtain the US student visa for Ethiopians,

  • You must first gain admission to an institution. You must be enrolled in an “academic” educational program as a full-time student, on a language-training program, or a vocational program. The school will send you the Form I 20 that will provide essential details about your admission and financing.
  • As a visa applicant, you will need to establish that you meet all requirements to receive the category of visa for which you are applying.
  • It is recommended that you use a professional visa photo service to ensure your passport photo meets all the requirements.
  • Your school must be approved by the Student and Exchange Visitors Program, Immigration & Customs Enforcement.
  • You must be proficient in English or be enrolled in courses leading to English proficiency.
  • You also need to have sufficient funds available for self-support during the entire proposed course of study.
  • Maintaining a residence abroad which you have no intention of giving up is very important.

 Required documents

The US student visa for Ethiopians requires you to carry these documents:

  • A valid passport with a validity date at least six months beyond your period of stay.
  • A printed copy of the confirmation page of the DS-160 Nonimmigrant Visa Application form DS-160.
  • An interview appointment letter (original and copy).
  • Form I-20 sent by the college (where you are going to study).
  • Visa fee payment confirmation receipt.


  • Bank statement for at least three years showing that you have enough assets to pay for the first year (could be of parent or guardian).
  • Payslips (Application fee payment receipts).
  • Original mark sheets/provisional certificates.
  • Score sheet of exams like TOEFL, GMAT, IELTS and so on.
  • Upload your passport photo while completing the online Form DS-160 but if this fails, you must bring one printed photo in the format explained in the Photograph Requirements.


  • Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F-1) Student Status-For Academic and Language Students.
  • Form I-20 or Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (M-1) Student Status for Vocational Students. Your school will send you a Form I-20 once they have entered your information in the SEVIS database which you and your school official must sign.
  • Proof of the amount of funds you need to cover for the first year total expenses.

NB: If your spouse and/or minor children intend to live in the United States with you, they will each receive an individual Form I-20.

Application Procedure

There are several steps to apply for a student visa such as the US student visa for Ethiopians. They will be considered seriatim:

  • Your visa process starts when you receive Form I-20 from your college. Though you can pay the SEVIS fee anytime during the application, it is strongly recommended that you pay the SEVIS I-901 fee before you start your US visa application.
  • After paying the SEVIS fee and getting a receipt, you can apply for a DS-160 visa form.
  • Print the application form confirmation page to bring to your interview.
  • Pay the visa fee through NEFT or at authorized AXIS bank/Citi bank locations.
  • Schedule a Biometric and Interview appointment.


  • For the Biometric appointment, you will be required to appear in person to get your photograph clicked for the visa and get your fingerprints scanned.
  • You will upload your photo while completing the online Form DS-160. Your photo must be in the format explained in the Photograph Requirements.
  • At the interview, the interviewer will ask you questions about your choice, of course, college, finances, and intent of going back. If s/he is convinced, they will keep your passport with them to get the visa stamped.
  • Complete and print out the confirmation page of the Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application to bring to your interview.
  • Prepare all the required documents before your visa interview.


  • After your visa interview, the consular officer may determine that your application requires further administrative processing. You will be informed if this is required.
  • A consular officer will interview you to determine your qualifications for a student visa and may request additional documents, such as evidence of your academic preparation such as Transcripts, diplomas, degrees, or certificates from schools you attended; and standardized test scores required by your U.S. school; your intent to depart the United States upon completion of the course of study; and how you will pay all educational, living and travel costs.
  • In all cases, you must first submit the online visa application form (DS-160), pay the application fee, and schedule the first available interview appointment. Only at this point will a consular section consider your request for an expedited appointment.

Visa Fee

The application fee is estimated at 200 USD. Accepted modes of payment are Credit Card
Money Order/ Demand Draft Payable in Dollars at the applicable exchange rate as determined by the bank.

Contact Address

The U.S. Embassy Addis Ababa is situated at Entoto Street, P.O. Box 1014, Addis Ababa. You can get through to the Commission via

  • Phone: +251 111 30 60 00.
  • Fax: +251 111 24 24 01.
  • The embassy opens for work from Monday – Thursday: 7:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • Friday 7:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
  • It is pertinent to note that the Embassy is closed on Ethiopian & American Holidays.

A visa does not guarantee entry into the United States.  A visa such as the US student visa for Ethiopians only allows a foreign citizen to travel to a U.S. port-of-entry (generally an airport) and request permission to enter the United States. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials at the port-of-entry have authority to permit or deny admission to the United States.

After you present your passport, visa, and Form I-20 at the port-of-entry, a CBP official will make this decision.  Once you are allowed to enter the United States, the CBP official will provide an admission stamp or paper Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record.  There is no guarantee you will be issued a visa so do not make final travel plans or buy tickets until you have a visa.


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