If you are a student searching for information on applying for a visa to the USA from Mexico, our complete guide will help you better understand different types of student visas, what the student visa application process is like, and the requirements for exchange students from Mexico to USA.
US Visas for Students from Mexico
As a student, you may be wondering how to get a student visa for the USA from Mexico — don’t worry! If you follow the embassy or consulate requirements and give yourself plenty of time to complete and submit your paperwork, getting your student visa is a straightforward process.
The F-1 visa is the most popular type of student visa in the United States, according to Travel.state.gov. Before you can apply for an F-1 student visa from Mexico to the USA, you must be accepted into a degree program at an accredited US institution of higher education.
If you are still looking for the right university or need more information about the college research and application process, read our guide to studying in the USA.
If you know the school you want to attend but need US university application assistance, or if you would like to see the other helpful resources for international students Shorelight can provide, reach out to an advisor.
If you have already been accepted to a US university or college, it is time to start the US student visa process from Mexico.
Types of US Student Visas
There are two types of visas for exchange students from Mexico to the USA. If you are looking at accredited US undergraduate programs or US graduate programs, you will need to apply for a F-1 visa. The following program types require a F-1 student visa:
University or college
Private elementary school
Another academic institution, including a language training program
According to Travel.state.gov, if you are coming to study in the United States at a vocational or other recognized non-academic institution, other than a language training program, you should apply for a M-1 visa.
Family members, such as children or spouses, can also come with you as a student visa holder from Mexico on a visa in the United States. They would have to apply for a F-2 or M-2 visa, depending on your program. For more information, or if you need US visa assistance before leaving Mexico, Shorelight advisors are here to help.
Can I Work in the USA While Studying?
F-1 student visa holders in the USA from Mexico can work or intern while studying if they meet certain qualifications. Working in the United States is a great way to gain real-world experience. Still, the complex regulations and rules can be difficult to navigate for nonimmigrant visa holders. If you have optional practical training (OPT) or curricular practical training (CPT) status as an international student, you can work or intern under certain conditions. Here is a quick synopsis of how you qualify for each:
Optional Practical Training: OPT relates directly to your major area of study and can be completed before or after graduating.
Curricular Practical Training: CPT relates directly to your major area of study and must be completed before you graduate from your program.
Read our article to learn more about CPT & OPT for international students >
How to Apply for a US Student Visa?
Despite COVID-19, nearly 15,000 students from Mexico studied in the United States in 2019-20, representing approximately 1% of the US’s total international student body. If you have been accepted into an accredited program, it’s time to begin the process of getting your student visa from Mexico to the USA.
Application Process for Mexican Students
The five steps below cover the basic requirements for getting your F-1 student visa and studying in the US as an international student from Mexico.
Get accepted and get your I-20: Once an accredited US university accepts you, it will provide you with an I-20 form. This form documents your study plans and provides supporting information about your stay.
Pay your SEVIS fee: The $350 SEVIS fee is a Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) processing and maintenance charge.
Complete your DS-160 visa application: All prospective international students must complete a DS-160 to receive a F-1 visa.
Schedule your visa interview: Wait times vary by country and can take months. Schedule your appointment as early as possible to allow for delays.
Attend your visa interview: In this step of the F-1 visa application process, the US consulate or embassy confirms you are coming to study as a legitimate, serious student.
The student visa application cost is broken down into two fees: the I-901 SEVIS fee ($350) and the DS-160 form fees ($160). You must apply for your student, nonimmigrant visa within 120 days of your program start date, but you should not wait too long after receiving your acceptance letter because it can take several months to get your US student visa in Mexico.
Requirements for Mexican Students
Before you attend your visa interview, make sure you have the following documents in order. Your F-1 visa application will be denied if you forget to bring the necessary documents to the interview:
A copy of the photo you will use for your visa
DS-160 and I-901 SEVIS payment confirmation pages
School transcript and official test scores you used on your university application
Diploma (if applicable)
Bank statements you submitted with your college application
For more information, or if you need US visa assistance before you leave Mexico, Shorelight advisors are here to help.
Where to Interview for My Student Visa?
US consulates and embassies in Mexico are where you can apply for a visa and schedule your interview. There is one US embassy in Mexico City and nine US consulates across the country. To find your nearest embassy or consulate location, see the links below.
Note that visa interview wait times are listed on each embassy or consulate website, and can fluctuate frequently. Be sure to reach out ahead of schedule to see how long of a wait you should anticipate.
What if I Am Too Late to Schedule My Visa Interview?
If you are late to the USA’s student visa from Mexico application process, do not worry — US consulates and embassies have an expedited interview appointment option for students who are about to start their university programs. But first, you must go through the regular process and pay the visa fees.
To start, complete the online written portion of your application (DS-160), pay the application fee, and schedule your appointment for the first available time, even if it is too late for your program start date. Once this initial paperwork is complete, the consulate will consider your request for a closer appointment date.
To submit an expedited request, the US Bureau of Consular Affairs recommends you reach out to the embassy or consulate where you will conduct your interview to make an appointment for an expedited meeting.
What if My Visa Application Is Denied?
If you do not meet the student visa for the USA from Mexico requirements and your visa application has been denied, that decision is final, and you cannot appeal. The good news is that you can reapply, and you can apply for a waiver of ineligibility.
If you are denied a Mexico student visa to USA, it is essential to find out why. For instance, if you are denied because you cannot prove you have the means to finance your education, you know what you have to fix the next time around. Many visas are denied because of missing or incomplete paperwork. When you find out why you were denied, you can fix the problem before your next interview.
What Else Do Students from Mexico Need to Know Before They Apply for a Visa?
Most US colleges and universities require active health insurance plans for all enrolled students, including students from Mexico studying in the United States on F-1 visas. You can find the following Shorelight school’s health insurance policies below:
Some US colleges and universities automatically enroll international students into the school health insurance plan, which most schools offer. If you have a health insurance plan that meets the requirements of the university you attend, then you can waive the university plan. For instance, some universities’ minimum coverage requirement is $100,000. The American Collegiate school-sponsored insurance program for the 2020-21 academic year costs each student$2,000 annually and is billed in your tuition statement.
Students are required to enroll in health insurance before classes start. For the fall semester, the deadline is usually in August.
How Long Is My F-1 Visa Good For?
If you wonder how many years your US student visa is valid, it depends on your program. Most visas end not long after the program ends. According to the Department of State, students on F-1 visas are allowed to stay in the US for 60 days after their university program ends; however, there are extensions available for work, internships, or continued learning.
You can apply for an extension through the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) form I-539. The fee for extending your stay is $370, plus an $85 biometric services fee (e.g., the cost to take and process your fingerprints).
Learn more about F-1 and OPT visa extensions after graduation >
There are a lot of steps to studying overseas. In addition to applying for a visa, you have to find the right school for your interests and complete all your paperwork before the deadline. Do not worry if you feel overwhelmed. Your Shorelight advisor is knowledgeable and can share other student stories of Mexican undergrads and graduate students excelling at US universities. Reach out to receive help navigating the visa process and the application process, as well as all other aspects of studying in the United States. Schedule an appointment and take the first step to secure your spot at a university in the US.
For more information about how to apply for a US student visa in Mexico, contact a Shorelight education counselor >