Study, learn, and exchange in the United States

DID you know the US Embassy in Kingston processed more than 13,000 student and exchange visitor visas last year?

International Education Week is November 13-17! That’s why this month we’re promoting programmes that attract future leaders from abroad to study, learn, and exchange experiences. This year’s theme is ‘International Education Is the Future’.

Visit for more details.

You cannot study in the United States on a tourist visa. An F1 visa is needed to study in the United States at universities, private secondary or elementary schools, or language training programmes. For study at a vocational or non-academic institution, an M1 visa is required.

First, you need to pick a programme. Visit to see all the steps including 1) research your options, 2) finance your studies, 3) complete your application, 4) apply for your student visa, and 5) prepare for departure.

Another great resource is, where you can search by school name, location, education or visa type. For example, if you know you want to study in Miami, Florida, because you have family there, you can search for schools just in Miami that issue the necessary document (called “I-20”) for you to apply for the F1 visa:

For exchange visitor (J1) visas, there is also a wealth of information and resources out there! Visit and to see the different types of programmes and what is needed for each. Exchange visitor categories include au pair, camp counsellor, research scholar, student, and so much more!

Once you have been accepted by the school or programme, they will send you an approved I-20 form (for F and M student visas) or DS-2019 form (for J exchange visitor visas). Once you have that document in hand, then you apply for the visa with us here at the embassy in Kingston. Make an appointment for interview at Pay the SEVIS fee online before your appointment.

To qualify for a student or exchange visitor visa, you need to prove to the vice consul that you will return to Jamaica at the conclusion of your programme; not stay in the United States out of status. You can do this by explaining your socioeconomic ties as the vice consul asks you questions during the interview. For example, what school, job or family do you have in Jamaica that you will be coming back to? You also need to be able to show how you will pay for your programme, or that you have a scholarship, grant or financial aid already approved.

For more information on how to qualify and required documents, visit

You can find more information about how to travel to the United States on our website, and the website of our authorized service provider at Keep on top of Embassy news on our Facebook page, and by following @USEmbassyJA on X (formerly Twitter).