Nonimmigrant Visas: Study and Exchange

The Student (F-1/M-1) Visa provides opportunities for qualified applicants to study at accredited post secondary institutions in the United States. With thousands of academic programs, world-class institutions, and unmatched flexibility, the United States offers a wealth of higher-education opportunities. Visit the Department of State’s EducationUSA website to learn about educational opportunities for undergraduate and graduate study, opportunities for scholars, admissions, and more.

Students may make appointments through our online system or by requesting an expedited appointment via email. Instructions on how to request an appointment may be found through our Visa Navigator.

The Exchange Visitor (J-1) Visa program provides countless opportunities for international candidates looking to travel and gain experience in the United States. The multifaceted programs enable foreign nationals to come to the United States to teach, study, conduct research, demonstrate special skills or receive on the job training for periods ranging from a few weeks to several years. To learn more about exchange visitor visa programs, program sponsors, and more, please visit

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.

In the summer work travel program, post-secondary students may enter the United States to work and travel during their summer vacation. Participants can be admitted to the program more than once. The maximum length of the program is three months.

For Kyrgyz Republic, the dates for the program are June 1 – August 31.

Students are allowed to work during this three-month period.

Who qualifies for the SWT program?

A full-time student enrolled in an accredited post-secondary academic institution in his or her home country who possesses sufficient proficiency in the English language to participate in the program successfully.

Vocational students pursuing full-time course of study at a tertiary level accredited educational institution are not eligible for participation.

Part-time students and students enrolled in”заочное отделение” do not qualify for the program.

Documents required for submission prior to the interview (Agency coordinators only)

  • Visa Application Confirmation page from the completed application Form DS-160
  • One colored photo on white background (size 5cm x 5cm)
  • Confirmation from university about current student status (Spravka)
  • Copy of passport
  • Original Form DS-2019
  • Proof of SEVIS fee payment
  • Job Offer

Documents to bring to the interview (students)

  • Passport (original)
  • Original Transcript (Зачетная книжка)
  • $160 Consular fee (full amount in one currency Kyrgyz soms or US dollars)

Coordinators can pick up passports with visas according to the approved schedule

Know your rights

All students should read and understand the rights they have while in the United States. If after reading Wilberforce Act you have any questions regarding your rights, please ask them during your interview at the Embassy and consular officers will be happy to address them.

For more information on your rights, please read Rights, Protections and Resources Pamphlet

English (PDF 253 KB)
Russian (PDF 244 KB)

List of vetted agencies

Below is the list of local agencies vetted by the U.S. Embassy in Bishkek. ONLY agencies located at the addresses listed below will be allowed to bring students interested in the Summer Work and Travel (SWT) program to the U.S Embassy in Bishkek for interviews.  No other offices or locations of these agencies are vetted.

If you are interested in the 2022 SWT program, please contact one of the local agencies listed below. If you are a student and your local agency does not appear on the list below, you will not be able to have an interview at the U.S. Embassy in Bishkek.

The U.S. Embassy in Bishkek does not have any preferences; the list is given in alphabetical order:

– Bitravel: Bishkek, 113 Gorkyi str.
tel:+996 0550143131, 0501143131

– Edtech International
Street: Ahunbaeva 119a Room # 2(Basement)
tel:+996 0708 678-678, 0755 210-120

This page provides key information for students interested in attending a college or university in the United States.

For more information, please visit:  Education USA This website has comprehensive, step-by-step guidance on selecting a university, developing a financial plan, applying for admission, applying for a visa, and preparing to depart.

Education USA also has a local office to assist students to study in the U.S.:

EducationUSA Center

3rd floor of Bayalinov Youth and Children’s Library

Ogonbaev str. 242

720040 Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

+(996) 550-95-01-12

 Choosing a University

The United States has over 4,700 universities and colleges, so it can be difficult to choose the school that is right for you.  While recommendations from friends that have studied in the U.S. are helpful, consider other sources of information.  Educationusa.State.Gov has many resources for learning about universities to help you find the find one that meets your educational, financial, and career objectives.

Paying for Your Studies

Universities and colleges in the U.S. are not free, although many offer scholarships that may cover some of the costs.  Nonetheless, you must be able to pay for tuition, fees, and living expenses while studying.  You cannot rely on employment in the U.S. to pay for your education, as these opportunities are very limited (see section below).  During the interview, you will need to provide evidence to the consular officer that you have sufficient funds to pay for tuition, fees, and living expenses at your college or university.

Working as a Student

F-1 students have limited opportunities to work in the U.S.  As a result, all F-1 students must demonstrate that they have the financial means to pay for tuition, fees, and living expenses while studying in the U.S.  F-1 students cannot rely on employment to offset the cost of their studies.  More information is available here.

F-1 visas are not a path to work in the U.S.  Students found working without authorization will have their SEVIS record terminated and be required to leave the U.S. immediately.

Working at Your University:

After your first year as a student, you may petition DHS for permission to work in an “on-campus” position affiliated with your university, such as working in a university library or cafeteria.  As a student, you may work no more than 20 hours per week.  If you are permitted to work, earnings from work as a student are not enough to cover the cost of your education.

Working outside of Your University:

DHS may permit students to work off-campus at other positions only in limited circumstances.  An F-1 student must have completed one academic year, and have a severe economic hardship that is unexpected and threatens your ability to continue your studies.  This permission is granted only in rare cases.  Again, if you are permitted to work, earnings from work as a student are not enough to cover the cost of your education.

For detailed instructions on applying for a visa, please see Applying for a Visa in Bishkek.