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Student Visa- USA- Overview

Visa plays an important part in a student’s admission process abroad. Before applying for a visa, the student visa applicant is required to be accepted and approved by their school or program. 

Once accepted into students preferred university, educational institutions will provide each applicant with the necessary approval documentation to be submitted while applying for a student visa. Students can apply for the visa within 120 days from the start date of I-20 and travel within a month from the start date of I-20.


Types of Student Visa

Traveling as a student, one can apply for one of the three visa options available. The types of visa are:

  • M1 Visa: M1 visa is issued to students who will attend a vocational non-academic school. M-1 visa holders (for technical and vocational programs) are not allowed to work during the course of their studies. The M-1 student visa applicants must provide evidence that sufficient funds are available for paying all tuition and living costs for the entire period of intended stay.
  • J1 Visa: J1 Visa is a non-immigrant visa for candidates who will be participating in a work and study-based exchange visitor program. To be qualified for a J-1 visa, the participant must be proficient in the English language and have proper medical insurance. The participant receives a DS-2019 form from his/her sponsoring organization or US government agency, which is essential to apply for a J-1 visa.
  • F1 Visa: F-1 visas being the most common type are issued to students or researchers who wish to study or conduct research at an accredited USA college, high school, or university.  In order to be qualified for an F-1 visa, students must be accepted by a recognized college or university as a full-time student and have proof of sufficient financial support during their stay in the USA.  F-1 status allows students to work part-time, on-campus employment (fewer than 20 hours per week).  Students are expected to complete their studies by the expiration date mentioned on their I-20 form.


Cost of USA Study Visa

There are two types of fees- SEVIS Fee & Visa Application Fee. The SEVIS fees for F1, J1, M1 is $200, $180, $200 respectively. The visa application fee is $160 for all three types of visa.


Documents Required for USA Study Visa

Student visa requires you to carry all the documents listed. You need all the mandatory documents alongside supporting documents of academic and financial records. Make sure you refer to this checklist before attending your visa interview. 

  • A valid passport with a validity date at least six months post your period of stay.
  • A printed copy of DS-160, I 20 the online application form.
  • Interview appointment letter (original and copy)
  • Form I-20 sent by the approved college.
  • Original mark sheets/provisional certificates
  • Score sheet of exams like TOEFL, GMAT, IELTS, etc.
  • Visa fees payment confirmation receipt
  • Bank statement of at least 3 years showing that you have enough money to pay for the first year.
  • Payslips.


How to Apply for USA Study Visa?

Applying for visa one has to take care of a lot of things. Follow the below steps to apply for your visa correctly.

  • Choose the type of your visa.
  • Complete the Non-Immigrant Visa Electronic Application (DS-160) form correctly. You cannot make changes later.
  • Pay your visa fees and keep the receipt number for a visa appointment.
  • Schedule two appointments- Visa Application Center (VAC) and the visa interview at the Embassy or Consulate.
  • Visit the VAC and Embassy for interviews with all the documents.


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