USA Student Visa Guide

The USA continues to be the top destination for students looking to study abroad. Applying for a study visa is an important step required for studying in the United States. If you aspire to study in USA, then this visa process guide will provide you a detailed information about the application process for the student visas, which is necessary for the students wishing to pursue both their bachelor's and master's degrees in the United States.


USD 30000

Average Cost Of Study


International Students

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US study visa types

Getting into a US college might seem like an impossible thing, but the extensive experience provided by the American education system once you succeed urges you to strive for higher goals in life. There are many world-class universities located in the US, and students from all over the world apply each year to study there.

International students require a US student visa to study in the USA. But, before applying for a US student visa, they need to get the Letter of Acceptance from the University. Once accepted, the university provides the applicant with the necessary documents.

Generally, USA grants student visa to the international students 120 days or 4 months before the commencement date of their program and after receiving their visa, students may enter the US within 30 days of the program's start date, as indicated on Form I-20.

Generally, USA grants student visa to the international students 120 days or 4 months before the commencement date of their program and after receiving their visa, students may enter the US within 30 days of the program's start date, as indicated on Form I-20.

Anyone intending to study in the US should be aware of what student visa they must apply for. The following three non-immigrant visas for students are available:

F-1 visa (Academic Studies) - The F-1 visa comes among the most -commonly applied US academic visas or student visas. International students seeking English language instruction at US universities should seek the F-1 visa. It is granted to students or researchers who apply to US universities, private elementary institutions, secondary schools, and so on.

  • The F-1 visa requires students to maintain a minimum course load in order to keep their full-time student status.
  • After completing their degree, students may work on Optional Practical Training (OPT).
  • They may also hold part-time or full-time jobs that are limited to 20 hours a week while the school is in session and 40 hours a week during breaks.
  • Students must complete their study by the expiration date on their I-20 form in order to graduate.

J-1 visa (Practical training) - J-1 visa holders are international students who visit the United States as work-based exchange visitors via the J-1 visa. In order to apply for this visa, a DS-2019 form must be obtained either from the U.S. government or the sponsoring organisation.

  • The J-1 visa programme, provides practical training that is not available in the student's home country.
  • It is sponsored by the educational or non-profit institutions that are authorised through the Exchange Visitor Program established by the U.S. State Department.
  • The J-1 visa programme has a variety of programmes, including Au Pair, College and, Physician Program, University Student Program, camp Counselor, International Visitor Program, Professor, and Research Scholar Program, Secondary School Student Program, and so on. Each of these programmes has its own requirements and regulations.

M-1 Visa (Non-academic/vocational studies): An M-1 non-academic/vocational study visa is issued to the students who aspire to study at a vocational institution in the United States. You must get an I-20 form from an American embassy in India in order to apply for an M-1 visa.

  • M-1 visas are issued to those students who want to study in the United States.
  • You can’t work while pursuing your course.
  • Your course must last for at least 12 semesters or quarter hours, with the exception of those courses that require a shorter duration.

How to apply for a US student visa?

Indian students who are seeking a US student visa must carefully follow the below-mentioned steps. It is very important for the students to apply in advance to avoid any last-minute problem.

  1. Get Accepted by a University in USA :
    • Before applying for a US student visa, you need to be accepted by a SEVP (The Student and Exchange Visitor Program) approved university that oversees the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS).
    • If your degree has SEVP accreditation, then, it will be recognized by the government ministries & universities all over the world.
  2. Pay SELVIS fee:
    • Once the university accepts a student, they themselves enroll him/her in the SELVIS system.
    • After that, students have to ensure their enrolment in SELVIS system by paying a SEVIS i-901 fee.
    • After getting enrolled in the SEVIS system, student gets i-20 form. If the individual applies for an F-1 or M-1 visa, he or she gets an i-20 form. The university sends the DS-2019 document to the J-1 visa applicants.
    • Students must pay the SEVIS fee at least 3 days before their US visa application is submitted.
    • F1 applicants must pay a SEVIS fee of 200 USD, and J-1 applicants must pay 180 USD.
    • Students must print the payment confirmation after paying the SEVIS fee, as it will be required during their US visa interview.
  3. Finish your US visa application
    • Students must finish their US visa application as soon as the SEVIS Fee has been paid.
    • Starting the procedure as soon as possible is recommended whether the batch starts at a late or early time, as the procedure may take between 30 and 120 days.

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Documents you need for US visa interview

During the US student visa interview, students must carry the following documents in order to continue with the visa process. If these documents are missing, the interview will be cancelled. These documents include:

Students can only make final travel arrangements once they have received their visas. It is advisable for candidates to finalize their travel plans after receiving their US student visas. The visa may be denied for a variety of reasons. After the visa has been issued, applicants are informed why they are ineligible to get a US student visa.

    1. The passport must be valid for at least six months after the student's stay in the nation. A valid passport is required at the time of the interview.
    2. Applicants must demonstrate that they've paid the SEVIS program fee with a printed SEVIS fee payment confirmation receipt.
    3. A barcode and an application ID number are required in addition to the application confirmation page of the DS-160 form.
    4. The applicant must provide a MRV fee receipt. Visa application fees, also known as MRV fees, must be paid. A receipt for the successful payment of the fee may be downloaded after the payment has been made.
    5. Candidates must bring in the interview two passport photographs printed on quality photo paper. Individuals should not be wearing their glasses in the image, and 80% of the picture must be occupied by their face. White backgrounds are preferred for pictures.
    6. The appointment letter must be printed and brought in by students seeking internships or traineeships.
    7. Students seeking a J-1 visa must bring the DS-7002 form to the interview.
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US student visa fee

Whenever a student applies for a non-immigrant visa, they have to pay a mandatory visa application fee that is non-refundable and non-transferable. This application fee is also called as MRV fee. This fee amount depends solely upon the type of visa you are applying for. Let’s have a look at the fee associated with the visas for which students generally apply.

Generally, there are only two visa types available for the students to study in USA.

  1. F visa
  2. M visa

Students wanting to attend a University/college, private elementary school, conservatory, seminary, high school or an academic institution apply for an F visa type. On the other hand, students wanting to attend a vocational institution can apply for a M visa type.

Type of Visa Fee in USD
F 160 USD / 11,520 INR
M 160 USD / 11,520 INR

Common queries

• Distinguish between a school, college or a university?

In USA, term “school" refers to the institution that can either be public or private and covers elementary, secondary, and postsecondary education.
Colleges in USA provide undergraduate programmes to the students and have smaller class size. Community colleges and liberal art colleges are the examples of college subcategories.
Universities in USA provide various resources to the students for conducting research and provide both undergraduate and graduate degrees. Moreover, the subtypes of Universities in USA are Public Universities, private Universities, Research Universities, and teaching universities.

• What does a major mean in studies?

While studying in a University or a college in USA, students have to choose a major subject which is also called as the primary or main subject that they will study in their study program.

• Why should I choose a major

Choosing a major subject in your studies help you explore a particular subject deeply in your study field and it gives you a deep knowledge in that particular subject so that you could achieve a great career in it in the future.

• What does a credit mean?

A Credit can be referred to the Unit or a metric that is used to measure the course work of the program. It includes the hours of instruction required in a week. One credit equals to the one hour of teaching / two hours of practical work in a week.

• What does a GPA mean?

GPA refers to the Grade point average which is used to determine the average score that a student has scored in his/her subjects. It ranges from 1.0 – 4.0 and assesses if you meet the program’s standards & requirements.

USA Student visa guide

Applying for a US student visa is not an easy task to do and students are required to follow each & every step correctly in order to apply for it. Below-mentioned are all the steps that students have to follow in order to apply for a study visa

  1. Select a university & program to study in USA and apply for it with correct details and documents in order to get accepted.
  2. Now students will receive two forms that they have to fill out ( I-20 & DS-2019)
  3. After that, they will need to pay a SEVIS fee I-901 fee.
  4. Find and go to the US embassy
  5. Now, you have to submit your DS-160 form online.
  6. After that, you can book an appointment for your student visa.
  7. Pay the fee that is associated with your visa application.
  8. Appear for the visa interview on the scheduled date.

How to apply for US study visa?

Follow these simple steps to apply for a US student visa

  1. Fill the visa application online and complete it by filling in all the required information and submit it.
  2. Now, take the printout of your application form and keep it with you as you have to bring it with you for your visa interview.
  3. You also have to upload your photograph while filling in your DS-160 form and that photograph must match all the requirements given for it.
  4. Now, you have to schedule a visa interview unless you are below 13 or above 80 years age.
  5. After scheduling your study visa interview at the US embassy or consulate, you will have to wait for the date when your interview is scheduled.
  6. Now, will be asked to pay the application fee of 160 USD for a visa. If your visa is approved then you will need to pay a visa issuance fee as well, if its applicable on your home country.

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Documents Required for US Visa Interview

Visa interview plays an important part in the US immigration process and helps the visa officer decide if an applicant should be given a US visa or not. It happens at the scheduled date & time at the US embassy or consulate, where applicants are required to bring with them the printed copy of the DS-260 visa application confirmation page. During this interview, candidates are required to give their fingerprint scans as well.

Below mentioned are the documents that you will have to bring with you at the time of the visa interview:

  1. Letter of appointment: The appointment letter that an applicant gets from the NVC (National visa centre)
  2. A valid passport: The candidate needs to have a passport that is valid for at least 6 months after the date they aspire to enter the United States.
  3. Photographs: 2 coloured photographs meeting the DS-260 confirmation page’s photograph requirements.
  4. Supporting documents: All supporting documents that you uploaded on CEAC.
  5. English translations: You must bring the Documents with you at the visa interview that needs to be translated into the English language.
  6. Fee: You don’t have to pay your visa application fee again, but if you are asked to pay an unpaid fee, then you should pay it immediately.

F-1 visa document requirements

When an applicant applies for an F-1 visa, then they have to keep the required documents ready with them. Below-mentioned is the list of documents that they need to have:

Documents for Personal information

  1. Passport
  2. Appointment letter for a visa interview
  3. Confirmation slip for the DS-160
  4. SEVIS fee receipt
  5. Photograph (passport sized)
  6. Receipt of MRV fee

Educational documents

  1. Academic transcripts ( 10th & 12th certificates)
  2. Scorecard of GMAT/GRE/SAT
  3. Scorecard of IELTS/ PTE/ TOEFL (for language proficiency)
  4. Bachelor’s/ provisional degree or course completion certificate

Work documents

  1. Last 6 months salary slips
  2. Relieving letter
  3. Joining letter

Financial documents

  1. Bank statement of savings account
  2. Approval letter of loan
  3. Last 3 year tax returns
  4. Residential/commercial/ ancestral property documents
  5. Last 3 years FD certificates

After preparing all the above-mentioned documents, you can start your preparation for a US F-1 visa interview.

FAQs for Study in USA/visa-process

It's not at all an easy task for an international student to get a US study visa because of the low acceptance rate of United States study visas (around 85%). Authorities may refuse a request for a USA student visa for a number of reasons, including insufficient documents, a lack of sufficient financial support, or a failure to pass the USA student visa interview. Other than that, it's also a time taking and long process. Though the process is easy but it might become complicated for you if you don't meet the requirements of a US student visa.

Generally, there are no regulations requiring a minimum bank balance to apply for a US student visa, but if you are applying for an F-1 visa, then you need to maintain around 10,000 USD or above in your bank account.

US student visas are rejected due to a number of reasons mentioned below. · Finances that are not sufficient · If an applicant can't justify their ties to their home country. · False documents · If an applicant can't justify his/her intentions to travel to the USA

It's difficult to obtain a student visa for the USA. According to numerous surveys, students from all over the world apply for US visas and only 85% of applications for US study visas are approved.

Students have to appear for an IELTS exam and score an overall band score of 6.5 to get a US study visa.

If you want to immigrate to the USA through study, then you will require a visa (of any duration) for it. Generally, most international students apply for an F1 visa.

There is no fixed minimum bank balance that you need to show to get a US student visa, but you should have 10,000 USD and above to get an F-1 visa.

Here are the Required university application documents 1. Transcripts or records of grades (high school and/or university) 2. Résumé/CV. 3. Test scores (SAT, ACT, GRE, GMAT) 4. Proof of English-language proficiency. 5. Motivation letter or statement of purpose. 6. Application fee. 7. Writing sample. 8. Passport photo.