Study In USA - Requirements,Tuition Fees,Cost of Living & Visa Tips

This is a comprehensive guide on studying in USA as an international student. This detailed post will give you all the necessary information you will need about studying in USA as an international student. It will answer most frequently asked questions such as


How to study in USA

Why study in USA

Cost of studying in USA

Universities in USA for international students

Cost of living in USA for international students

How to get a visa to study in USA

How to apply and study in USA

Tuition fees to study in USA

Applying to study in USA


Applying to study at USA universities

The 6 basic steps for applying to study abroad are in USA:

           Identifying, universities and the course of your interest

           Request universities for Application forms

           Taking various required tests

           Arranging and preparing Essays and recommendation letters

           Completing and Sending Application forms along with required documents

           Reporting various test scores to the universities

Selecting Universities:

Selecting universities is a very time consuming and important process not only from the admission point of view but also because applying to universities is very expensive. Hence it has to be restricted to around 6 or 8 universities which are best matched for your requirements.

The best university for you may not be the famous ones, but those that offer you your field of study as well as meet the other criteria important to you.

Requesting Application Forms:

There are two ways to get application forms:

1. Requesting Application Forms via email : You can request application forms from the universities website. Most universities have a form on their website which can be completed online to request application material.

2. Downloading from the university website : Many universities have a downloadable and ready to print versions of their application forms on the net. These can be used for applying just as regular forms.

Application Requirements:

Once you start receiving application forms and material, go through the material in detail and check the application deadline, minimum scores required in the standardized tests, recommendation letters needed and other such information.

Tabulate all these requirements and compare them with your objectives and group the universities under three categories :

1. Schools that seem to match your requirements

2. Schools that are not suited to your needs

3. Schools that do not completely fit in any of the above two categories

Recommendation letters:

Many universities have their own format and questions that have to be answered by the person who is giving the letter of recommendation on your behalf. Letters, which do not give enough information, can jeopardize a candidate’s chances of selection.

School records/Academic transcript:

The transcripts of your academic record are absolutely essential to the evaluation of your academic abilities. Your official transcript or academic record is the objective part of your application. Academic records greatly vary from one education system to the other. Systems of evaluation or grading and the formats used to present this information also differ widely.

Undergraduate : Students who are applying for a Bachelor program or any other undergraduate course would be required to submit a secondary school report and transcripts (report cards) of the final exams. The report form should be filled out by a school official like the principal, counselor or headmaster. This form should introduce you in the context of your whole school experience in relationship to the other students in your class. Admission committees will be interested in learning how you have performed in your own educational system. The school report should talk about your accomplishments and provide a statement of your chances for success in university-level studies.

Graduate : Students applying for Graduate courses (MBA, MS etc) are required to submit an official transcript from each college or university that they have attended after secondary school with complete details of the subjects, credits involved and other details like correspondence courses, diplomas etc. Most universities ask for the transcript to be sealed in an envelope and signed and attested across the seal by the registrar. This procedure is to be done for each and every college that you have attended. Some universities may ask for more than one transcripts but most require only one.


Undergraduate degrees at US universities typically take four years to complete. The first part of the degree is usually spent studying a wide range of subjects – some required and some electives – after which students choose the subject or subjects on which they want to focus.

You may also earn a “minor” qualification alongside your major by completing classes in an additional field. This is often used to supplement the major degree. For example, business majors often minor in economics, while liberal arts majors may minor in philosophy. Some students also choose minors simply to explore a field they’re interested in, even if it does not closely relate to their major.

To start your application to study in the US, you will need to apply directly to each of the universities you’re interested in. Remember that athletic recruitment and sports scholarships follow a slightly different timeline to regular applications, so it’s worth checking the application deadlines early (1-1 ½ years before enrolment) to avoid missing out.

Entry requirements for each university are different, but most involve completing an admissions test or essay, the SAT or ACT admissions tests, and providing recommendation letters from teachers. On top of this, most universities ask for a transcript of your grades and a personal statement.

If accepted, you’ll be entered into an international student database called the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), and sent a copy of the information stored on this, which you will need to check for accuracy.

Tuition fees at US universities for international students


The cost of studying in the United States actually depends on the specific school you attend. All the universities and colleges in the United States have different tuition fees


In terms of fees, US universities do not really charge based on local or international students. Public universities charge lower fees for students from within the same state compared to everyone else, while private universities usually have one set fee for everyone.


Although fees vary significantly from university to university. Studying in the US as an international   student certainly won’t be cheap, but most US universities are very good at providing accessible information about the cost of study – including tuition fees, course resources, accommodation, food, insurance and other expenses so as to know how much you should budget.

There’s also a good chance that you might get a financial aid while studying  in the US, because most students receive financial aid and scholarships.

On average the tuition fees in US for international students is about US$9000-30,000 per year. This is also based on if the university you want to enroll in is a private or a public university. Public universities are cheaper than private universities in the US. The average tuition fee for a private university in the US is about US$45,000  per year for international students.


International students are not eligible for federal aid provided by the US government, but some universities in the US provide their own financial aid schemes to the students – both need- and merit-based. So it will also depend on your hard work if you want any kind of financial aid.


To financially assist yourself in the US while studying,international students are allowed to work part time while studying. To be permitted to work while studying in the US,you need to apply for a work permit.


Cost of living in the USA according to expatistan



Housing            [Edit]

            Monthly rent for 85 m2 (900 Sqft) furnished accommodation in EXPENSIVE area


            Monthly rent for 85 m2 (900 Sqft) furnished accommodation in NORMAL area


            Utilities 1 month (heating, electricity, gas ...) for 2 people in 85m2 flat


            Monthly rent for a 45 m2 (480 Sqft) furnished studio in EXPENSIVE area


            Monthly rent for a 45 m2 (480 Sqft) furnished studio in NORMAL area


            Utilities 1 month (heating, electricity, gas ...) for 1 person in 45 m2 (480 Sqft) studio


            Internet 8 Mbps (1 month)


            40” flat screen TV


            Microwave 800/900 Watt (Bosch, Panasonic, LG, Sharp, or equivalent brands)


            Laundry detergent (3 l. ~ 100 oz.)


            Hourly rate for cleaning help


Clothes [Edit]

            1 pair of jeans (Levis 501 or similar)


            1 summer dress in a High Street Store (Zara, H&M or similar retailers)


            1 pair of sport shoes (Nike, Adidas, or equivalent brands)


            1 pair of men’s leather business shoes


Transportation  [Edit]

            Volkswagen Golf 1.4 TSI 150 CV (or equivalent), with no extras, new


            1 liter (1/4 gallon) of gas


            Monthly ticket public transport


            Taxi trip on a business day, basic tariff, 8 km. (5 miles)



Visa to study in the USA


As an international student, you will require a visa to study in the USA. Below are the requirements and process of getting an American visa.


What documents will be required?

Enforced compliance of the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) requirement for VWP travelers is in place. Therefore, VWP travelers who have not obtained approval through ESTA should expect to be denied boarding on any air carrier bound for the United States.

A valid ESTA approval is required for all Visa Waiver Program (VWP) to travel to the United States. The Department of Homeland Security, Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) is a free, automated system used to determine the eligibility of visitors to travel to the United States under the VWP. It collects the same information as the paper I-94W form that VWP travelers fill out en route to the United States. ESTA applications may be submitted at any time prior to travel. An ESTA authorization generally will be valid for up to two years. Authorizations will be valid for multiple entries into the United States. DHS recommends that travelers submit an ESTA application as soon as they begin making travel plans.

Visas for Mexican and Canadian NAFTA Professional Workers

North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) creates special economic and trade relationships for the United States (U.S.), Canada and Mexico. The nonimmigrant NAFTA Professional (TN) visa allows citizens of Canada and Mexico, as NAFTA professionals, to work in the U.S. in a prearranged business activity for a U.S. or foreign employer. Permanent residents, including Canadian permanent residents, are not able to apply to work as a NAFTA professional.

Requirements for Professionals from Mexico and Canada to Work in the U.S.

Professionals of Canada or Mexico may work in the U.S. under the following conditions:Applicant is a citizen of Canada or Mexico;Profession is on the NAFTA list;Position in the U.S. requires a NAFTA professional;Mexican or Canadian applicant is to work in a prearranged full-time or part-time job, for a U.S. employer (see documentation required). Self employment is not permitted;Professional Canadian or Mexican citizen has the qualifications of the profession.

*Mexican citizens require a visa to request admission to the U.S. (A USCIS approved petition is not required.)

Student Visa

The Immigration and National Act is very specific with regard to the requirements which must be met by applicants to qualify for the student visa. The consular officer will determine whether you qualify for the visa. Additionally, applicants must demonstrate that they properly meet student visa requirements including:Have a residence abroad, with no immediate intention of abandoning that residence;Intend to depart from the United States upon completion of the course of study; and Possess sufficient funds to pursue the proposed course of study.

Applying for a Visa

As part of the visa application process, an interview at the embassy consular section is required for visa applicants from age 14 through 79, with few exceptions. Persons age 13 and younger, and age 80 and older, generally do not require an interview, unless requested by embassy or consulate. The waiting time for an interview appointment for applicants can vary, so early visa application is strongly encouraged.

During the visa application process, usually at the interview, an ink-free, digital fingerprint scan will be quickly taken. Also, because each student’s personal and academic situation is different, two students applying for same visa may be asked different questions and be required to submit different additional documents.

All applicants for a student visa must provide:

– Form I-20A-B, Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F-1) Student Status. For Academic and Language Students or Form I-20M-N, Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (M-1) Student Status for Vocational Students. You will need to submit a SEVIS generated Form, I-20, which was provided to you by your school.You and your school official must sign the I-20 form. All students, as well as their spouses and dependents must be registered in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), an Internet-based system that maintains accurate and current information on non-immigrant students and exchange visitors and their dependents (F/M-2 visa holders). Your school is responsible for entering your information for the I-20 student visa form into SEVIS. Students will also have to pay an SEVIS I-901 fee for each program of study. Questions regarding your exchange program should be directly to your program sponsor;

- A completed application, Nonimmigrant Visa Applicant,Form DS-156, together with a Form DS-158. Both forms must be completed and signed. Some applicants will also be required to complete and sign Form DS-157. A separate form is needed for children, even if they are included in a parent’s passport. The DS-156 must be the March 2006 date, electronic “e-form application.” Select Nonimmigrant Visa Application Form DS-156 to access the electronic version of the form DS-156.

- An interview at the embassy consular section is required for almost all visa applicants. The waiting time for an interview appointment for applicants can vary, so early visa application is strongly encouraged. During the visa interview, an ink-free, digital fingerprint scan will be quickly taken, as well as a digital photo. Some applicants will need additional screening, and will be notified when they apply.

- A passport valid for travel to the United States and with a validity date at least six months beyond the applicant’s intended period of stay in the United States (unless country-specific agreements provide exemptions). If more than one person is included in the passport, each person desiring a visa must complete an application.

- One (1) 2×2 photograph. See the required photo format explained in nonimmigrant photograph requirements;

- A MRV fee receipt to show payment of the visa application fee, a visa issuance fee if applicable and a separate SEVIS I-901 fee receipt. While all F-visa applicants must pay the MRV fee, including dependents, only the F-1 principal applicants must pay the SEVIS fee.

- Students who are authorized for Optional Practical Training (OPT) must have an I-20 endorsed for OPT, and provide a USCIS-issued Employment Authorization Document (EAD).

All applicants should be prepared to provide:

Transcripts and diplomas from previous institutions attended;

– scores from standardized tests required by the educational institution such as the TOEFL, SAT, GRE, GMAT, etc.;

– financial evidence that shows you or your parents who are sponsoring you have sufficient funds to cover your tuition and living expenses during the period of your intended study. For example, if you or your sponsor is a salaried employee, please bring income tax documents and original bank books and/or statements. If you or your sponsor own a business, please bring business registration, licenses, etc., and tax documents, as well as original bank books and/or statements.

Applicants with dependents must also provide:

- Proof of the student’s relationship to his/her spouse and/or children (e.g., marriage and birth certificates.);

– it is preferred that families apply for F-1 and F-2 visas at the same time, but if the spouse and children must apply separately at a later time, they should bring a copy of the student visa holder’s passport and visa, along with all other required documents.

Additional Information

- No assurances regarding the issuance of visas can be given in advance. Therefore final travel plans or the purchase of non refundable tickets should not be made until a visa has been issued.

– Unless previously canceled, a visa is valid until its expiration date. Therefore, if the traveler has a valid U.S. visa in an expired passport, do not remove the visa page from the expired passport. You may use it along with a new valid passport for travel and admission to the United States.

Time required to issue a visa:

Advance travel planning and early visa application are important, since visa applications are subject to a greater degree of scrutiny than in the past. If you plan to apply for a nonimmigrant visa to come to the United States, we know you ’d like to estimate how long you will have to wait to get an interview appointment to apply for a visa.

It is important to thoroughly review all information provided by your Embassy’s Consular Section for local procedures and instructions, such as how to make an interview appointment. Your Consulate will also explain any additional procedures for students, exchange visitors and those persons who need an earlier visa interview appointment.

You’ll also want to know how long it will take for your nonimmigrant visa to be processed at the Consular Section, after a decision is made by a Consular Officer to issue the visa, and the visa is available for pick-up by you or the courier at the embassy. Some visa applications require additional special clearances or administrative processing, which requires some additional time. Most administrative processing is resolved within 60 days of application.

Most special clearances are resolved within 30 days of application. Applicants are advised when they apply. When additional special clearances or administrative processing is required, the timing will vary based on individual circumstances of each case.

How do I apply?

Recently, the U.S. has updated its visa policies to increase security for our citizens and visitors. It will likely take you longer to get a visa than it used to, and you will find that a few new security measures have been put into place. For details that may apply specifically to your country, contact your nearest US Embassy or consulate.

How long is the visa valid for?

10 years. Some visas are valid for multiple entries.

The length of stay in the USA is determined by US immigration officials at the time of entry, but is generally 6 months.

For extensions and further information, apply to the US Immigration & Naturalisation Service.

When you enter the United States on a student visa, you will usually be admitted for the duration of your student status. That means you may stay as long as you are a full time student, even if the F-1 visa in your passport expires while you are in America. For a student who has completed the course of studies shown on the I-20, and any authorized practical training, the student is allowed the following additional time in the U.S. before departure:

– F-1 student – An additional 60 days, to prepare for departure from the U.S. or to transfer to another school.

– M-1 student – An additional 30 days to depart the U.S. (Fixed time period, in total not to exceed one year). The 30 days to prepare for departure is permitted as long as the student maintained a full course of study and maintained status. An M student may receive extensions up to three years for the total program.


Courses you can study at universities in USA


Accounting and Finance

Aeronautical engineering

Manufacturing engineering






Art and Design

Oral science


Biological sciences


Business management

Chemical engineering


Civil engineering

Ancient history

Mass communication

Computer science


Creative writing






Electrical engineering


Film making

Food science


General engineering






Material technology


Mechanical engineering

Medical technology












Veterinary medicine


Items to pack while going to study in the USA


In your carry-on bag

           Cell phone and charger

           Boarding pass(es)

           Cash (bring American dollars and the currency of your host location or money you can exchange for it—enough to use in case of an emergency, but not more money than you can afford to lose)

           Copy of birth certificate

           Copy of Social Security card

           Credit card (notify your bank that you’ll be abroad before you leave to avoid your account being frozen)

           Debit card


           E-reader or book

           Emergency contact list

           Face wipes


           Hand sanitizer


           Health insurance card


           Prescription medication(s) you usually take (make sure you bring enough refills to last your entire trip—but future prescriptions can go in your checked luggage)

           School ID

           Spare outfit (in case your luggage gets lost or delayed)

           State ID

           Student visa

           Travel itinerary

           Travel pillow

           Travel tickets (if you’re taking a train or other transport after your plane lands)



           Acne medication/cream

           Face lotion/moisturizer


           Mini shampoo & conditioner (until you get the chance to get full-sized bottles in your new country)

           Mouthwash (small)

           Soap (mini bottle if you're using body wash)





           Bobby pins


           Contacts, solution and case (again, make sure you have all the contacts you'll need for your time abroad)

           Glasses and glasses case

           Hair ties



           Nail clipper




           Tampons and pads



You will likely have the opportunity to do laundry on your trip, and you'll be able to purchase detergent in your host country.

           Downy Wrinkle Release spray

           Linens/towels (if your housing doesn’t have them)

           Portable stain remover pen

           Travel sheet (for hostels)


           Athletic sneakers (1)

           Bathing suits (1-2)

           Boots (1-2)

           Bras (2 sports bras, 2 regular bras, 1 strapless/convertible bras)

           Casual dresses (2)

           Everyday comfortable shoes (1-2)

           Flats (1)

           Flip-flops (1)

           Formal outfit (1-2)

           Gloves (1, if weather appropriate)

           Going-out outfit (3-5)

           Hat (1)

           Heavier coat for colder climates (1)

           Heels (1-2)

           Jacket (2; a light one and one for colder weather, if applicable)

           Jeans (2, one black & one blue)

           Jewelry (remember that bringing jewelry to another country is always a risk; don’t bring anything too valuable!)

           Leggings (1-3)

           Long-sleeve shirts (3-5)

           Pajamas (2-3)

           Pants (1-2 nice pairs)

           Purse (1-2)

           Raincoat (1)

           Scarf (1)

           Short-sleeve shirts (5-7)

           Shorts (2-4, if weather appropriate)

           Skirts (1-2)

           Socks (14)

           Sweaters (3-5)

           Sweatshirt (2)

           T-shirts (3-5)

           Tank tops (3-5)

           Underwear (14)

           Watch (1)

           Workout clothes (2-5)


Remember that most of your electronic items will need an outlet converter in order to work!

           Camera (remember your case and USB cords)

           Cell phone (keep in mind that you’ll be able to buy an international phone when you arrive at your destination)

           Chargers (laptop, phone, camera, e-reader, etc.)

           Flash drive



           Laptop case

           Outlet adapters (2-3)

           USB cable


           Adhesive bandages

           Allergy medicine

           Birth control

           Cold and flu medicine

           Eye drops

           Motion sickness medicine

           Over-the-counter pain medicine



           Backpack (small)

           Gift for your host family (bring something that they couldn’t get in their own country, like memorabilia from your hometown)


           Language dictionary


           Playing cards

           Travel guide

           Umbrella (small)


Benefits of studying abroad in the USA or any other study abroad destination


1. See the World

The biggest reason you should consider a study abroad program is the opportunity to see the world . By studying abroad, you will experience a brand-new country with incredible new outlooks, customs and activities. The benefits of studying abroad include the opportunity to see new terrains, natural wonders, museums and landmarks of your host nation.

2. Education

Another reason you might consider studying abroad is for the chance to experience different styles of education. By enrolling in a study abroad program, you’ll have the chance to see a side of your major that you may not have been exposed to at home.

You’ll find that completely immersing yourself in the education system of your host country is a great way to really experience and understand the people, its traditions, and its culture. Education is the centerpiece of any study abroad trip—it is, after all, a study abroad program—and choosing the right school is a very important factor.

3. Take in a New Culture

Many students who choose to study abroad are leaving their home for the first time. When they arrive in their new host country, they are fascinated by the distinct cultural perspectives. When you study abroad you will find incredible new foods, customs, traditions, and social atmospheres.

You will find that you have a better understanding and appreciation for the nation’s people and history. You will have the opportunity to witness a completely new way of life.

4. Hone Your Language Skills

Chances are if you’re planning on studying abroad, one of the major draws is the opportunity to study a foreign language. Studying abroad grants you the opportunity to completely immerse yourself in a new language, and there is no better way to learn than to dive right in.

In addition to the considerable language practice you will get just in day to day life, your host university will likely offer language courses to provide you with a more formal education. Immerse yourself in a new culture and go beyond a purely academic experience

5. Career Opportunities

When you finish your study abroad program and return home, you will return with a new perspective on culture, language skills, a great education, and a willingness to learn. Needless to say, all of these are very attractive to future employers.

Many students find that they love their host country so much that they decide to seek work there. If you can relate, you will find that a local education will be very valuable when searching for a potential job in that country

6. Find New Interests

If you are still questioning why to study abroad, you should know that studying in a different country offers many new activities and interests that you may never have discovered if you’d stayed at home. You might find that you have an as-yet undiscovered talent for hiking, water sports, snow skiing, golf, or various other new sports you may never have tried back home.

You’ll also have the chance to discover other new and exciting forms of entertainment. Plays, movies, dancing, nightclubs, and concerts are just a few activities that you can enjoy.

7. Make Lifelong Friends

One of the biggest benefits of studying abroad is the opportunity to meet new lifelong friends from different backgrounds. While studying abroad, you will attend school and live with students from your host country. This gives you the opportunity to really get to know and create lasting relationships with your fellow students.

After the study abroad program ends, make an effort stay in contact with your international friends. In addition to rewarding personal relationships, these friends can also be important networking tools later down the road.

8. Personal Development

There is nothing quite like being on your own in a foreign country. You might find that studying abroad really brings out your independent nature. Students who study abroad become explorers of their new nation and really discover the curiosity and excitement that they harbor.

A benefit to studying abroad is the opportunity to discover yourself while gaining an understanding of a different culture. Being in a new place by yourself can be overwhelming at times, and it tests your ability to adapt to diverse situations while being able to problem solve.

9. Graduate School Admissions

Like future employers, graduate school admissions boards look very highly on study abroad experiences. Students that study abroad display diversity and show that they aren’t afraid to seek out new challenges or put themselves in difficult situations.

Most importantly, students who have studied abroad show just how committed they are to their education. Graduate schools regularly look for candidates who will bring a unique aspect to their university. Students who have studied abroad have shown that they have the curiosity and educational acumen to be a leader in graduate school.

10. Life Experience

Why study abroad? For most students, this time may be the only opportunity they ever get to travel abroad for a long period of time. Eventually you will find a job and career, and the opportunity to study abroad may turn out to be a once in a life time opportunity.


Hope this post was helpful


Question tags


How to study in USA

Why study in USA

Cost of studying in USA

Universities in USA for international students

Cost of living in USA for international students

How to get a visa to study in USA

How to apply and study in USA

Tuition fees to study in USA

Applying to study in USA

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