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Study Law in USA 2024

Study in USA

Law Degrees in the U.S.

Most U.S. states require applicants to hold a Juris Doctor (JD) degree from an accredited law school. This three-year course of study follows the completion of four years of undergraduate study in any subject. This system differs significantly from many other countries where students immediately enter law school after completing secondary school; considered a professional academic field, the J.D. is equal to a graduate degree.

While less common, some schools also offer a year-long Master of Law (LLM) which offers opportunities for specialization, as well as the prestigious academic doctoral degree in law of Doctor of Juridical Science (SJD).

Before being allows to practice law, most students are required by the state in which they practice to pass a bar exam and demonstrate character standards. Because states administer the bar, it can be helpful to attend law school in the region where you plan to practice.

Law Higher Education in the U.S.

According to the American Bar Association (ABA), there are a total of 202 ABA-approved law schools in the U.S. The first year of the Juris Doctor typically focuses on basic law topics, while the latter years can be customized to suit student interests. While many lawyers informally specialize, there is no legal distinction between types of practice. One hallmark of law school training in the U.S. is the use of the Socratic Method, in which students are directly called on to answer questions instead of basic lectures.

Tuition vary depending on the school you attend, with the average private school tuition totaling just over $40,000 according to U.S. News and World Report. Once again, the fees may vary from one institution to the other. The schedule following the standard U.S. academic calendar for higher education from September through May.

While getting into law school in the U.S. is intensely competitive, international students are increasingly in demand. Jobs in law are generally considered to be both lucrative and rewarding. Additionally, research indicates that lawyer employment over the past decade has outpaced most other occupations. A large number of law graduates choose not to work as lawyers, instead seeking out careers in business, government and other industries.

Visa Requirements

1) F visa - This type of visa is for international students who are intending to pursue an academic degree at an accredited US college or university or to study English at a university or intensive English language institute. There are three types of F visa:

  • F-1 visas for full-time students;
  • F-2 visas for dependents of F-1 visa holders (spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21, including same-sex married couples);
  • F-3 visas for ‘border commuters’ – Mexican and Canadian students who reside in their country of origin while attending part- or full-time school in the US.

2) M visa – This type of visa is for international students who want to engage in non-academic or vocational study or training at an institution in the US. There are three types of M visa:

  • M-1 visas for students engaging in vocational or non-academic studies;
  • M-2 visas for dependents of M-1 visa holders;
  • M-3 visas for ‘border commuters’ as in F-3 visas, but for vocational or non-academic studies.

3) J visa – This type of visa is for international exchange visitors participating in programs in the US that promote cultural exchange. All applicants must meet the eligibility criteria of the program in question and be sponsored by a private sector or government program. Holders of J visas usually stay in the US for a short period of time, perhaps one or two semesters. J-1 visa holders will need to return to their home country for at least two years at the end of their exchange visitor program. There are two types of J visa:

  • J-1 visas for exchange students on a relevant exchange program;
  • J-2 visas for dependents of J-1 visa holders.

What type of Visa do you need?

Visa name

F visa; M visa; J visa

Price and currency

USD 200

You must pay the SEVIS fee (US $200), which supports the cost of the computer system used to record your stay in the US. Go to to pay the fee and make sure you print a copy of your receipt and bring it to the visa interview. You must pay the SEVIS fee at least three days before the date of your visa interview.

You will also need to pay an additional US$160 for the visa application fee in your country at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate or at a bank that the Embassy designates.

Who can apply for the visa?

All international students coming to study in the US need to apply for an F Visa, J Visa or M Visa.

Where can you make the application?


Each U.S. Embassy has a website providing instructions on how to make an appointment for a visa interview and other information on the visa application process.


How to make the application?

  1. First, your school or university will send you a form confirming that you have been accepted at an institution authorized by the U.S. Citizenship and Naturalization Service (USCIS) to enroll non-immigrant students
  2. Second, you will need to make an appointment for a visa interview and to pay some required fees.
  3. Third, the United States is using a new non-immigrant visa application form, DS-160 that should be completed online. This form replaces all of the other forms.
  4. Fourth, prepare for your visa interview. It is crucial that you apply for your visa well in advance, as this will give you extra time if there are delays at the embassy, or if you wish to appeal a decision in the event of a denial. What you wear is important, and business attire is appropriate.

The documents needed for your visa interview may include:

  • Passport valid for at least six months beyond your period of stay in the US. You may also need to bring all your current and old passports.
  • Signed SEVIS Form I-20 or DS-2019 (including individual forms for spouse/children)
  • Form DS-7002 (for J-1 Trainee and Intern visa applicants only)
  • SEVIS fee receipt
  • DS-160 application confirmation page with barcode and application ID number
  • MRV fee payment confirmation receipt
  • Printed copy of visa interview appointment letter
  • 1-2 photographs in the format explained in the photograph requirements.

You should also be prepared to provide the following documents:

  • Transcripts and diplomas from previous institutions attended
  • Scores from standardized tests required by the educational institution such as the TOEFL, LSAT, GRE, GMAT, etc.
  • Financial evidence showing you or your sponsor (i.e. parents or a government sponsor) has sufficient funds to cover your tuition, travel, and living expenses during your stay in the US.

You can also bring along a separate written list of all your previous employers and schools you have attended for reference.

When should you apply?

Applying for a US student visa can be a long process, so make sure you start preparing well in advance – at least three to five months before your course is due to start. Student Visas can be issued up to 120 days before the date on your form I-20. Exchange Visitor Visas can be issued anytime before the date on the DS-2019.

Processing time

3 Months

Work opportunities

The F1 and J1 visas allow for the possibility of employment in the US during your stay, while the M1 Visa does not. Students with F-1 visas can work on-campus for 20 hours a week or less. Students wishing to work longer hours and off-campus must gain prior authorization from the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). J-2 visa holders may request work authorization from USCIS. F-2 and M-visa holders are not allowed to work and must secure an appropriate work visa if seeking employment.

Hours per week


Why do you need this type of visa?

The most common reason for a student or exchange visitor application to be denied is that the person applying for the visa has not proven to the Visa Officer that they will return to their country when they complete their studies in the U.S.A. If you are denied a visa there may be something you can do to reverse the denial, and you may appeal the decision. In most cases, you will need to provide additional documentation that was not presented with the initial application.

About USA

The United States of America is located in the Northern hemisphere in North America, just south of Canada and north of the Mexican border. It is composed of 50 states: 48 contiguous states and also Alaska and the Hawaiian Islands.

The society of the USA is as diverse as the country itself. There is no caste system though some might argue that point, given the current economy. There are many entrepreneurs and wealthy individuals who have made their own fortune, and there are factory workers making minimum wage.

The USA is a great country with many freedoms for those who choose to make it their place to study or to live. Studying in the USA offers many exciting opportunities.

High on the list of the U.S.'s attributes is its extraordinary higher education system, which makes it a highly coveted destination for international students, including those seeking law degrees.

The U.S. Legal System

The U.S. legal system comprises an interconnected system of checks and balances, featuring judicial, regulatory and governmental authorities. Together, these entities administer and enforce the country’s laws across federal, state and local levels. The U.S. Constitution bestows specific powers upon its federal government which has jurisdiction over certain cases -- such as those involving federal laws, foreign governments and conflicts between states. Beyond that, each state has its own governing entities.

Every party has the right to a trial by jury consisting of 12 citizens who evaluate the evidences and reach a verdict. Most legal cases in the U.S. are resolved before reaching trial via legal motion or settlement before reaching trial. Lawyers are an essential part of the U.S. legal system and are responsible for advocating on behalf of their clients. They are licensed by the state in which they practice.

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Basic monthly living cost

  • Rent in a shared flat

  • Share of utilities

  • Internet subscription

  • Local transportation


Sample lifestyle cost

  • Fast food combo

  • Cinema ticket

  • Pint of local beer