Study abroad for a semester in


The United States, a vast country stretching from the Atlantic to the Pacific, is known for its influence in global affairs, innovation, and culture. It is a premier destination for international students seeking high-quality education and diverse experiences. With iconic cities, stunning natural landscapes, and a vibrant cultural scene, the US offers a unique environment for academic and personal growth. The country’s educational institutions are renowned for their academic rigor and opportunities for research, making it an ideal place for students aiming for excellence.

USA is best known for

World-Class Education πŸŽ“: The United States is home to some of the world’s top universities, including Harvard, MIT, and Stanford, offering a wide range of programs and cutting-edge research opportunities.

Cultural Diversity 🌍: The US is a melting pot of cultures, providing a rich, diverse environment where students can learn about and experience different cultures and traditions.

Innovative Tech Scene πŸ’»: Silicon Valley and other tech hubs make the US a leader in innovation and technology, offering students unparalleled opportunities in these fields.

Table of contents

1. Visa and Health Insurance πŸ›‚

Planning to study in the United States involves securing the right visa and health insurance. These are critical steps to ensure you meet legal requirements and have access to essential healthcare services during your stay. Proper documentation and insurance coverage are key components of a successful and safe study abroad experience.

Visa Types

  • F-1 Visa: For students enrolled in an academic program or English language program. This is the most common type of student visa.
  • J-1 Visa: For exchange students participating in programs that promote cultural exchange. This includes students sponsored by an educational or nonprofit institution.
  • M-1 Visa: For students enrolled in non-academic or vocational study programs.
  • Visa Waiver Program (VWP): Students from certain countries may study in the US for up to 90 days without a visa under this program, though it is not suitable for long-term studies.

Application Process

  1. Apply to US Schools: Gain acceptance to a SEVP-approved school in the US.
  2. Receive Form I-20 or DS-2019: Your school will provide you with the necessary form to begin your visa application (Form I-20 for F-1 and M-1 visas, Form DS-2019 for J-1 visas).
  3. Pay the SEVIS Fee: Pay the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) fee online.
  4. Complete the DS-160 Form: Fill out the Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application form (DS-160).
  5. Schedule a Visa Interview: Book an appointment at the US embassy or consulate in your home country.
  6. Prepare Documents: Gather required documents, including your passport, Form I-20 or DS-2019, SEVIS fee receipt, DS-160 confirmation, visa application fee receipt, and proof of financial support.
  7. Attend Visa Interview: Attend the interview with all necessary documents. Be prepared to answer questions about your study plans and ties to your home country.
  8. Visa Issuance: If approved, your visa will be issued, and you can make travel arrangements to the US.

Required Documents

  • Proof of Enrollment: Form I-20 or DS-2019 from your US school.
  • Financial Proof: Bank statements or other proof of sufficient funds to cover tuition and living expenses.
  • Passport: Valid for at least six months beyond your intended stay in the US.
  • Visa Application Form (DS-160): Completed and submitted online.
  • SEVIS Fee Receipt: Proof of payment of the SEVIS fee.
  • Visa Application Fee Receipt: Proof of payment of the visa application fee.
  • Passport Photos: Recent passport-sized photographs.
  • Academic Documents: Transcripts, diplomas, and certificates from previous education.

Application Timeline

Start Early: Begin the application process at least 3-6 months before your intended departure.
Processing Time: Visa processing times can vary, so apply well in advance.
Important Deadlines: Be mindful of university application deadlines and ensure your visa application is timely.

Tips for Success

Complete Documentation: Ensure all your documents are complete and accurately filled out.
Financial Proof: Clearly demonstrate financial stability and sufficient funds.
Interview Preparation: Prepare for potential visa interviews by practicing common questions and answers.
Health Insurance: Secure a visa-compliant health insurance plan early in the process.

Importance of Health Insurance

Health insurance is mandatory for all international students in the US. It ensures that students have access to medical care and covers a wide range of health services, from routine doctor visits to emergency care.

Types of Health Insurance

  • University-Sponsored Health Insurance: Most universities in the US offer health insurance plans for their students.
    • Cost: Varies by university, typically between $1,000 and $2,000 per year.
    • Advantages: Convenient enrollment, comprehensive coverage, and often includes access to university health services.
    • Limitations: May be more expensive than private plans and may not cover off-campus services as comprehensively.
  • Private Health Insurance: Students can also opt for private health insurance plans that meet university and visa requirements.
    • Cost: Varies widely based on the provider and coverage. IMG offers competitive and comprehensive plans.
    • Advantages: More flexible, often providing wider networks of healthcare providers and potentially lower costs.
    • Limitations: Requires careful comparison of plans to ensure comprehensive coverage.

Country-Specific Requirements

University Requirements: Some universities may require students to enroll in their specific health insurance plan. Ensure your chosen plan meets both university and visa requirements.
Coverage Essentials: Health insurance plans must cover a wide range of services including emergency care, hospitalization, and routine medical visits. Some plans also include dental and vision care.

Finding the Best Health Insurance

wearefreemovers has developed a partnership with IMG with the intent of offering you reliable and visa-compliant health insurance for your stay in the US.

Choose IMG

IMG is our suggested visa-compliant health insurance for USA

Or discover other insurance options

Thanks to our Insurance Finder


What happens if my visa application is denied?
If your visa application is denied, you will receive a notice explaining the reasons for the denial. Address the issues mentioned and reapply, or appeal the decision if you believe it was incorrect. Review the reasons for denial carefully and seek guidance from the embassy or consulate if needed.

Can I change my health insurance plan after arriving in the US?
Yes, you can change your health insurance plan after arriving in the US. Ensure the new plan meets the mandatory health insurance requirements for students. Compare different plans to choose one that offers comprehensive coverage and suits your needs.

What should I do if I need medical care and don’t have insurance?
If you require medical care and don’t have insurance, you will need to pay out-of-pocket for all medical services, which can be very expensive. It’s highly recommended to have valid health insurance to avoid these costs. If you find yourself without insurance, contact a health insurance provider immediately to enroll in a plan.

Additional Resources

U.S. Department of State – EducationUSA: Provides comprehensive information for international students looking to study in the US, including visa requirements, application procedures, and living in the US.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS): Offers detailed information on visa types, application processes, and requirements for studying in the US.

2. Cost of Living πŸ’°

Navigating the cost of living in the United States is a crucial part of your study abroad planning. While living expenses can vary significantly across different states and cities, with some strategic planning, you can enjoy a comfortable and enriching experience without overspending.

Detailed Breakdown of Living Expenses

Accommodation: Average monthly rent.
$700 – $3,000/month
Food: Average monthly cost for groceries and dining out.
$350 – $800/month
Transportation: Average monthly cost for public transportation and other modes of travel.
$70 – $700/month
Utilities: Average monthly cost for basic utilities (electricity, water, internet).
$100 – $200/month
Entertainment and Leisure: Average monthly cost for leisure activities.
$200 – $500/month
Miscellaneous Expenses: Average monthly cost for personal items and services.
$100 – $250/month

3. Accommodation Options 🏠

Securing the right accommodation is a vital part of your study abroad experience. The United States offers a wide range of housing options, each with unique benefits and price points.

Types of Accommodation

On-Campus Housing: Typically provided by universities, offering convenience and a vibrant social environment.
Price: $800 – $1,500/month
Shared Apartments: Living with roommates is a popular and cost-effective option.
Price: $600 – $1,200/month
Private Apartments: Renting your own place offers the most privacy and independence.
Price: $1,000 – $2,500/month
Homestays: Living with a local family can provide cultural immersion and a supportive environment.
Price: $700 – $1,500/month
Specialized Student Housing: Managed by private companies, these accommodations often include various amenities.
Price: $800 – $2,000/month

Find accommodation in USA

Find the best student housing options with our Accommodation Finder

Tips and Resources

Start Early: Begin your search well in advance to secure the best options.
Budget Wisely: Include utilities and internet in your budget when planning for accommodation costs.
Consider Location: Proximity to your university, public transportation, and local amenities is important.
Use Reliable Platforms: Ensure you book through reputable platforms to avoid scams and ensure quality accommodations. The ones you see on wearefreemovers have been preselected by us, so you can be more at ease choosing them.

4. University Information πŸŽ“

Choosing the right university is a pivotal decision in your study abroad journey. The United States boasts some of the most prestigious institutions globally, offering diverse programs and a dynamic academic environment.

Discover our partner universities πŸŽ‰

Enjoy the best free mover experience on our platform by choosing our partner universities. Those institutions have close ties with us, so for any eventuality you can rely on our help.

Partner universities in USA

Our best selection of destinations is awaiting you

Otherwise, surf through the whole selection of universities

Apart from partner institutions, we also list other destinations. They might be a riskier choice since information can be uncertain and response times higher, but still they are worth a try in our opinion.

Find universities in USA

Try our University Finder and discover the best universities for your needs

5. Further Practical Information πŸ› οΈ


The US offers a variety of transportation options, making it relatively easy to get around both cities and the countryside.

Public Transportation 🚍: Major cities like New York, San Francisco, and Chicago have extensive public transport systems, including buses, subways, and trams. Monthly passes range from $50 to $120, with student discounts often available.

Bicycles 🚴: Many cities are becoming increasingly bike-friendly, with dedicated lanes and bike-sharing programs. Biking is a cost-effective and healthy way to navigate urban areas.

Cars πŸš—: In many parts of the US, especially outside major cities, having a car can be essential. Car expenses include insurance, gas, maintenance, and parking. Many universities offer car-sharing programs for students.

Long-Distance Travel πŸš„: The US is vast, but you can travel between cities by Amtrak trains, Greyhound buses, or budget airlines. Planning ahead and booking in advance can help secure the best deals.

Tips πŸ’‘: Always check for student discounts on transportation passes and consider buying a multi-trip pass if available. For intercity travel, booking train or bus tickets in advance can secure the best rates.

Banking and Finances

Managing your finances effectively is crucial for a smooth study abroad experience.

Opening a Bank Account 🏦: Most banks in the US offer special accounts for students with low or no fees. Popular banks include Bank of America, Chase, and Wells Fargo.

Documents Required πŸ“‘: To open a bank account, you will typically need your passport, proof of enrollment, address proof, and visa.

Currency πŸ’΅: The currency in the US is the US Dollar (USD). Having a local bank account helps avoid foreign transaction fees and simplifies everyday transactions.

Tips πŸ’‘: Look for student-friendly bank accounts and make use of online banking apps to manage your finances efficiently. Consider using services like for seamless international transactions.

Local Culture and Etiquette

Understanding local customs and social norms will help you integrate smoothly into American society.

Punctuality ⏰: Punctuality is highly valued in the US. Arriving on time for classes, meetings, and social events is expected.

Greetings 🀝: A firm handshake is a common greeting in the US, especially in formal or business settings. In casual settings, a simple β€œHi” or β€œHello” is sufficient.

Mealtimes πŸ”: Mealtimes in the US are generally flexible, but lunch is usually around 12-1 PM, and dinner is typically between 6-8 PM. The US has a diverse culinary scene, and tipping (usually 15-20%) is customary in restaurants.

Public Behavior 🀫: Americans value personal space and privacy. Being loud or disruptive in public spaces is generally frowned upon, especially in residential areas.

Do you still have doubts?

Book a 1:1 consultancy with us

We would be glad to help you guiding step by step in every application you have to complete or to simply solve your doubts.