How to Get USA student visa


Student visa For USA

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Study in USA has always been, and continues to be a dream to every international student willing to study abroad. If you are looking forward to studying in USA, or already have been accepted by University in USA, this US Visa Guide will help you with step-by-step US Visa Application procedure and US Visa Requirements to get a study permit in USA. First of all, the USA Visa information on the classification of Student Visa in USA:

Student Visa for USA

US Visa Types

There are three of USA visa for students: F1, J1 and M1. Here is the detailed description of them:

F1 Visa for USA

F1 Visa for USA allows you study permit in USA in full time academic courses. Any accredited school, college, university, academic institute, seminary, or conservatory in USA must accept you beforehand to apply for F1 visa in USA. Students taking language training programs also come under F1 visa category.

F1 Visa Rules

  1. You must have been accepted by a University or any type of above-mentioned institutes.
  2. The institute that has accepted you must be SEVP approved School to accept international students in USA. SEVP stands for Students and Exchange Visitor Program.

J1 Student Visa for USA

J1 Visa for USA is for the individuals sponsored by the organisation, or chosen by their institutions for exchange program, academic and cultural both. The students and individuals who are part of an exchange program apply for J1 Visa. The visa is only valid until the duration of the exchange program. A short window of grace period is given after the completion of the program to prepare for the departure.

J1 Visa Rules

  1. Similar to F1 Visa, you must be accepted / sponsored by an institute organisation for the exchange program to get J1 visa in USA.
  2. Maintain enrolment during the full course of the program and maintain health coverage.

M1 Visa for USA

M1 visa is for the students who are willing to attend courses other than the courses covered in F1 type Visa. These are mostly vocational and non-academic courses on offer in USA institutes.

Basic Rules for M1 Visa

  1. Must be accepted by a vocational institute or a technical school in the USA authorised to accept international students.
  2. M1 Visas are stamped with a date. Students are allowed to stay in USA as long as their educational program, or OPT (Optional Practical Training) and 30 days after that.
  3. If students do not go through the whole duration of the program, the 30-day grace period is not applicable.

Student Visa in USA with F1 Visa Application Form 

Here is how to Apply for US Visa:

1. Apply to a Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)-Approved Institution.

As an international student, you will need to choose an institute and program accredited by the US governments SEVP (apply six to twelve months prior to the study in USA.  It’s important because it ensures your degree from other recognized universities, professional associations etc.  
Only the SEVP-approved institution can enrol students in the SEVIS and provide you with the documents necessary to apply for the Student Visa USA. Once you have been accepted by an institute, the university will enrol you in the SEVIS system.

2. Pay the Student Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) - Fee

You must pay the SEVIS fee three to four days prior to submitting an application for a US visa. In order to pay you will need to file online or paper form. Both can be accessed through the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) SEVP website. Take care to input your details exactly.  
The website will explain to you the different types of payment.  Check on your payment status.  You should obtain a receipt, make a confirmation and print it out. You will need this confirmation as proof of fee payment at your Student Visa USA interview. You may also have to show to the customs officer at your chosen US Port of Entry.

3. Complete a US Student Visa Application

United state is using a new non-immigrant visa application form online which will replace all the other forms. It’s best to apply as early as possible. Check all the requirements and remember to submit all your correct details since it is going to print on your passport and if possible carry your documents along with you. Visit sites for more details and instructions!! 

4. Pay the Visa Application Fee

After submitting your application form you must pay the fee. There may be different ways of paying the fee. Make sure to review the fee payment and follow instructions carefully and consult with websites as the process may vary. Collect your fee receipt in case if you need to show anywhere!!

5. Schedule and Attend a Student Visa USA Interview

The interview will consist of questions regarding course, choice of college, and intent to come back to the home country. If you clear the interview, the passport will be taken to get the Visa Stamped.

USA Student Visa Interview Questions:

You must make an appointment and prepare yourself for the visa interview. Be confident when you interact with the officer, stay calm and state your biodata correctly and your attire should be formal. If you can’t give your answer in English it’s completely okay, ask for the interpreter. It’s really easy!! And your body language is very important to stay calm.

The F1 Visa interview questions can be divided into three categories. Academic Background, Financial Ability and Future plans in USA. Keep in mind that these are not official categories, but something that you should keep in mind while preparing for the interview.

  1. Academic background will include questions on why are you choosing the course you are choosing, what is the reason for applying to the particular universities, and how it will help you further.
  2. For the financial background, the proof of funds will be asked along with how you manage to fund it. If there is a sponsor, the details about the sponsor will be asked.
  3. The future aspect will have the questions like how will taking this course help you in future, and also, students will have to convince the visa officials that they intend to come back once the course is over and not intend to stay back illegally.

The interview is an integral part of F1 visa interview to study in USA. Bring all the documents necessary to the interview. The interview will decide if you will be an F1 visa or not. You need to convince the visa officials that you have an intent to study in USA and willing to come back to your home country after that. These are the possible discussion, on which the questions will be based on.

  • Why do you want to study in USA?
  • About your academic scores and the University, you have applied to.
  • About your intent to come back to your home country after the study in USA is completed.

Who can Sponsor for Student Visa in USA?

The sources for financial support can be personal and family funds with bank statements, recent deposits and deposits when it comes to financial documents for f1 visa interview. The account should not appear as a padded up account just to show the embassy the funds. If a large amount was just deposited in the account, there will be questions.

If a family member is sponsoring you, you need to submit their employment status. Assets held by family that can easily be converted into cash are also considered.

Scholarships, Grants, Student Loans and assistantships are also allowed whether government or private.

Allowances and Restrictions on US Visa

  • You are allowed to stay in USA as long as you are a student, and your study program is going on.
  • You are allowed to stay for 60 days after your study in USA is over and you have F1 visa.
  • You are allowed to work and study in USA only on campus for part time hours.
  • You are allowed to arrive in the USA, before 30 days of the beginning of your program.

To be on the F1 Visa, you must continue the studies, maintain passing marks, if you are unable to complete your studies for some reason, and need an extension to complete study in USA, you are needed to request for an extension.

Student Visa in USA and Work Permit

Given below are the details of Student Visas in USA and work permit associated with them:

Mostly, Students cannot work for the first year of their study. The work permit associated with USA Student Visa is normally 20 hours a week during academic session and 40 hours a week in break / holidays. Different US student Visa will have different rules:

Visa Type Work Permit
F1 Student Visa
  • No off campus Work Permit for 1st Year
  • After 1st year, off campus work permit only in sectors related to the study program:
  • CPT: Curricular Practical Training
  • F1 Visa OPT: Optional Practical Training
J1 Visa
  • If not a student, you can only work for sponsor employer.
  • Students who are pursuing Scholarship, fellowship, assistantship.
  • Part time Summer Work / travel exchange Program
  • If critical financial situation arise.
  • In any case, permitted hours are 20 hours per week.

M1 Student Visa

  • No Work Permit during the program
  • Eligible for Practical training of 1 month for every 4 months of study.
  • Can work for maximum of six months
  • Must apply to Designated School Officer for Visa extension to cover Training Period.


Student Visa USA Cost

There are two types of fees associated with US student Visa:

1. SEVIS Fee

2. Visa Application fees

SEVIS stands for Students and Exchange Visitors Information System. It manages international students and exchange visitors coming to USA under F, M and J visas.

Visa Application Fees include MRV (Machine Readable Visa) fees.

USA Visa Fees

1. Sevis Fees (Paid in Dollars in Applicable Exchange rate)

Visa Type Amount
F1 $200
J1 $180
M1 $200
Mode of Payment Credit Card / Demand Draft / Money Order


2. Visa Application Fees - MRV (INR in Applicable Exchange Rate)

Visa Type Amount
F1 $160
J1 $160
M1 $160
Mode of Payment NEFT / IMPS / By Cash at designated Banks


Student visa in USA requirements

Student visa for USA requires you to submit more documents when compared with the documents of a  tourist visa. International students need the necessary documents along with supporting documents of financial and academic records. Make sure you refer to this checklist before starting the process. Listed below are the documents you will be in need of:

Documents Required for US Visa

You will require these basic necessary documents when you apply for Visa:

  • A valid passport
  • A Non-Immigrant US Visa F1 Student Visa Application Form (DS 160)
  • The Application fee payment receipt
  • A passport photo
  • A certificate of eligibility for NonImmigrant student status (Form I 20 for student visa)
  • Academic records (Transcripts and Certificate / Degrees)
  • Test scores of GRE, TOEFL, GMAT, IELTS etc.
  • Proof of intent to depart from the United States after the course is over.
  • Proof of financial stability

Financial statement

Along with other documents mentioned above, you are expected to show enough monetary fund proof showing you can cover all the academic, living and other expenses for one year in USA. For that, you will be asked for (Parent’s or Guardian’s where applicable):

  • Tax returns of past three years
  • Bank statements of past 3 years and / or fixed deposit proof of parent / guardian.
  • Pay Slips and Employment Letters if applicable
  • Statements from a CA
  • Proof of any received scholarship.

Dependents Visa USA

Spouses and children under age of 21 are defined as Dependents. They are granted F2 Visa, J2 and M2 Visas.

  • A spouse with F2 and M2 status cannot enrol in full time academic study but can enrol at vocational studies to pursue hobbies and interests.
  • They are not allowed to get involved in any type of employment during their stay.

With J2 Visa, you can apply to Department of Homeland Security, US citizenship and Immigration Services for Employment Authorisation Document. The money earned cannot be used to support J1 Visa holder.

F1 Visa Processing Time:

The processing time for F1 Student Visa for USA usually depends on the university you are applying to. The usual F1 visa processing time is four to six weeks from the application.However, some institutions can take months to process your F1 visa. After the DS-160 application, the consulate takes about two months to get back to the students with an interview appointment. Therefore, for the ones applying for Student Visa in USA, it is handy to have ample time for the visa, so you do not miss the beginning of the semester and reach late in the country itself.

What to do if your student visa for USA is postponed or not approved?
If your process gets postponed you can do nothing but just wait a little longer for the result. It may be rejected but still, there is a chance to get the approval of the student visa. Waiting for the further response or action, or contacting the concerned person, will be your next step.
If your visa application gets a negative reaction, means if it gets rejected, you don’t need to worry. Tough, you cannot appeal but you can reapply for it. But make sure that you ask the officer for the exact reason behind the rejection. If you can correct the problem, you can start over and submit a new application by paying the visa processing fees again and schedule another appointment. Also, ask for the rules on reapplying. 

US Embassy and consulates in India

US Embassy in India

U.S. Embassy New Delhi

Shantipath, Chanakyapuri

New Delhi – 110021

US Consulates in India

State City
Tamil Nadu Chennai
Telangana Hyderabad
West Bengal Kolkata
Maharashtra Mumbai
Karnataka Bengaluru


You can get in touch with us, or your nearest American Visa Embassy if you need any information or assistance. Hope this US Visa Guide has cleared the doubts and questions you had regarding how to get study visa for USA or about US Visa Process.

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