All you need to know about Student Visa - USA

The United States is the world’s leading student destination. It offers unparalleled scope for students from all streams to study and excel in their chosen fields. Coupled with an economy that requires new talent every year, it is the ideal destination for students looking to study and make a life after graduation. With a US student visa, it is possible to study in USA.

International students planning to pursue degrees in full-time academic programs for Bachelor’s, Master’s or doctoral programs in the U.S. must obtain a student visa.  Your course of study and the type of school you plan to attend determine the exact type of visa you’ll need. You’ll need to work with educational advisers to learn the steps required to obtain the correct visa. For more information about student visas, please visit the Visa section of our website. 

The top choice for students planning to study abroad

The USA continues to be the top choice for students planning to study abroad. If you are among the few who aspire and have already got admission into your aspired university, applying for Student Visa is the next important step to realising your Study in USA dream. This Students Visa Guide examines briefly the various types of visas and attempts to give a detailed process of applying for the F1 Student Visa – applicable to students planning to take up their bachelor’s as well as master’s in the USA. Apart from this, candidates should also know the reasons why their US Student Visa gets rejected? According to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), 2,32,851 Indian students went to the USA for higher studies in 2021. The number of Indian students in the US increased by more than 12% in 2021. 37% of Indian students were females. 

Requirements for US Visa 

You will generally need the following for your US Student Visa application for US universities:

  • A valid passport with a validity date at least six months beyond your period of stay.
  • Recent passport size photograph.
  • Confirmation page of DS-160.
  • Form I -20.
  • Payment of application fees for SEVIS.
  • Application as a non-immigrant.
  • Your University will make you aware of additional requirements if any prior to your application. 

Steps To apply

Step 1: Apply to a US school and get accepted

The first step is to apply to (and eventually be accepted to) a US university. In the United States, most full-time undergraduate and graduate programs demand applications by December or January of each year. Admission notices are usually sent out in March and April.

Step 2: Get your school’s Form I-20 or DS-2019

After being accepted to a school, you’ll receive one of two forms: Form I-20 (Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status) for F-1 and M-1 students, and Form DS-2019 (Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status for J-1 students.

Step 3: Pay the SEVIS I-901 fee

Go online and pay the I-901 SEVIS fee once you receive your I-20 or DS-2019 form from your school. The price is 350 USD for F-1/M-1 students and 220 USD for J-1 students once again. (Those in short-term J-1 visa programs will only have to pay $35 USD.)

Step 4: Locate a US Embassy or Consulate in Your Area

You must apply for an international student visa at the US embassy or consulate nearest to you (ideally, in the city or region in which you live). The US Department of State offers an online search for US embassies and consulates.

Please know that depending on which embassy you apply through, the process for obtaining a student visa in the United States may fluctuate slightly.

Step 5: Fill out the DS-160 form online

After that, fill out the Online Non-immigrant Visa Application (Form DS-160).

You will also select the US embassy where you will interview for your visa on this application.

Step 6: Make an appointment for your visa interview

Contact your nearest US embassy or consulate (preferably, the one you listed on your online application) to organize your visa interview after you’ve filed Form DS-160.

Step 7: Make payment for your visa application fee.

After that, pay the application fee of 160 USD. This charge is the same regardless of where you apply or where you are from.

It’s important to note that the exact date you pay this charge will differ based on your embassy.

Step 8: Attend your visa interview

The interview is the final major step in the visa application process. This interview will determine whether or not you are granted a student visa in the United States.

Step 9: Pay the visa issuance fee

After being authorized for a student visa in the United States, certain students are required to pay a visa issuance fee. Whether or not you must pay this fee is determined by your nationality and the reciprocity agreement your country has with the United States. You can use a chart on the US visas website to discover if you have to pay a visa issuance fee.

Step 10: Get Your Visa

Your embassy will return your passport to you with your new visa in it if you’ve completed all of the requirements above and gained approval for an international student visa to the United States. It’s worth noting that certain embassies will ask you to pick it up in person, while others will simply ship it back to you.

The length of time it takes for your visa to be processed varies by embassy.

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