In order to obtain a visa, you should check with the US consulate or embassy in your area. In general, you must present the I-20 form (for F-1 visas) or DS-2019 form (for J-1 visas) along with proof of funding and other evidence to the consular official.
Applying for a Visa to the United States
Application procedures and contact information for U.S. Embassies and Consulates abroad is available on the U.S. Department of State website (https://www.usembassy.gov/).
Please note that Citizens of Canada, with a valid Canadian passport, are not required to obtain a student visa from the U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad to enter the U.s. to pursue their studies at MIT. Citizens of Canada will require the Form I-20 or Form DS-2019 from MIT proving the intended student visa status in order to enter the U.S. to study at MIT.
All visa applications are subject to security check procedures ("Administrative Processing") that impact the processing time after the visa interview. Certain factors can impact how long Administrative Processing will take before a visa can be issued. These factors include: country of citizenship/birth/residency; field of study, research, or specialty; travel history, employment history; and other factors. US Embassies/Consulates can request addition information about your program of study or research. Administrative Processing is not conducted at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad, but at the U.S. Department of State and other govermment agencies within the U.S., so the U.S. Embassy/Consulate must wait for notification that an Adminstrative Processing has been completed before the visa may be issued. The MIT ISO recommends that student visa applicants must schedule visa interviews to provide at least 3 months in advance of planned arrival to the U.S. for visa processing to be completed.
For more information on U.S. visas, including Administrative Processing, please see the following resources:
- "About Visas - The Basics" - U.S. Department of State
- Administrative Processing Practice Pointer - American Immigration Lawyers Association
Applying for a Visa to visit a country other than the United States
Each country has its own visa procedures and policies. Depending on your country of citizenship, you may or may not be required to obtain a visa to enter another country (for personal or business purposes). It is your responsibility to contact the Consular Section of the Embassy or Consulate of the country you wish to visit in order to confirm if a visa is required for travel to that country and if so what the visa application procedures are to obtain the appropriate visa.
Travel / Emergency Information for Countries
The U.S. Department of State recommends that all U.S. Citizens should register with the U.S. Embassy/Consulate in the country you are visiting so that there is record of your presence in that country in case of any emergency where you will be notified of available support services. The U.S. Department of State maintains pages on their website that provides safety and security information as well as Travel Advisories to U.S. Citizens traveling to various countries around the world.
Individuals who are not U.S. Citizens can still view the Travel Advisories provided by the U.S. Department of State, but it would be beneficial for you to read similar guidelines from your home country's Embassy/Consulate as there may be special political, social, or other factors based on the relationship of your country to your intended destination that may be different from the U.S. relationship with that country.