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American Samoa

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Generally, a citizen of a foreign country who wishes to enter the United States must first obtain a visa, either a nonimmigrant visa for temporary stay, or an immigrant visa for permanent residence. You must have a student visa to study in the United States. Your course of study and the type of school you plan to attend determine whether you need an F-1 visa or an M-1 visa.

To enter the United States to attend: You need the following visa category:
University or college F
High School
Private elementary school
Another academic institution, including a language training program
Vocational or other recognized nonacademic institution, other than a language training program M

Students cannot travel on the Visa Waiver Program or with Visitor Visas

Citizens of Visa Waiver Program (VWP) participating countries who intend to study cannot travel on the VWP or on visitor (B) visas, except to undertake recreational study as part of a tourist visit. Students must travel to the United States with student (F-1 or M-1) visas. For more information on the VWP, see Visa Waiver Program.

For short periods of recreational study, a Visitor (B) visa can be used

Enrollment in a short recreational course of study, which is not for credit toward a degree or academic certificate, is permitted on a visitor (B) visa. Learn more about Visitor Visas.

Study leading to a U.S. conferred degree or certificate is not permitted on a visitor (B) visa, even if it is for a short duration. For example, distance learning which requires a period of time on the institution’s U.S. campus requires an F-1 visa.

Student Acceptance at a SEVP Approved School

Before you can apply at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate for an F or M student visa, you must first apply to and be accepted by a SEVP approved school. Visit the Department of State EducationUSA website to learn about educational opportunities for undergraduate and graduate study, opportunities for scholars, admissions, and more. You can also visit the DHS Study in the States school search page to search for SEVP-certified schools.

When you are accepted by the U.S. school you plan to attend, you will be enrolled in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). You must pay the SEVIS I-901 Fee. The U.S. school will provide you with a Form I-20 to present to the consular officer when you attend your visa interview. If your spouse and/or children intend to reside with you in the United States while you study, they must obtain individual Form I-20s, but they do not pay the SEVIS fee. Visit the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) website to learn more about SEVIS and the SEVIS I-901 Fee.

People in Samoa can now apply for a visa at the United States Embassy in Apia, instead of traveling to Auckland. Every two months, a consular officer will travel from the U.S. Consulate General in Auckland to our Embassy in Apia to interview applicants. Applicants must fill out the application online, on a computer, then make an appointment online, and pay the normal fee of US$160.00 or Samoan Tala equivalent to the Embassy the day of the appointment. The visiting consular officer can only conduct a limited number of visa interviews per visit. The number of applicants seeking interviews may exceed our interview capacity, so we may not be able to interview all applicants immediately.

Alternatively, if you need to travel to the US immediately or your travel to the US will not fall within a visa week, you can make arrangements for travel to NZ to apply for your visa at the U.S. Consulate General in Auckland, New Zealand. For details of applying in NZ, please visit the U.S. Embassy New Zealand website. For applying for a visa under the Apia visa pilot program please follow steps below.

There are four easy steps to applying for a visa:

  1. Fill out the DS-160 application form online and upload a photo.
  2. Make an appointment for interview online.
  3. Gather supporting documents.
  4. Attend interview and pay the visa fee at Embassy Apia.