The United States offers a wide variety of educational services, which is why it can be very exciting for international students to contemplate coming to the U.S. in hopes of pursuing their educational goals. It is imperative to start the student visa process as soon as possible so that there are no delays and it does not affect potential school plans. The initial step in obtaining a student visa is to be accepted for enrollment at a school that is certified in and offers a Student Exchange Visitors Program (SEVP). Students visas are required if you plan to take 18 course hours or more a week. If you are planning to attend school for fewer hours than the recommended 18 hours or what you plan to study is recreational, you may in fact qualify for a visitor or non-immigrant visa. However, if you plan to attend any sorts of conferences, seminars, or other programs of study in the U.S. for academic credit, you will need a student visa. You may be issued a student visa 120 days (or less) in advance before the school’s initial start or registration date. After the application process is complete and after receiving your student visa, then you may enter the U.S. within 30 days (or less) of your course start date. If you wish to enter the U.S. prior to this 30-day mark, you will need to apply for a separate visitor visa before doing so.