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USA Student Visa - Complete Overview

PBPiyush Bhartiya
Updated OnSep 24, 2022
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USA Student VISA 

Students who want to study overseas continue to flock to the United States. If you are one of the select few who wish to study in the United States and have already been accepted, applying for a Student Visa is the next critical step in realizing your ambition of studying in the United States. Candidates should also understand why their US Student Visa application was denied. According to the Open Doors study, there will be around 1,67, 582 Indian students in the United States in 2020-21.

US Visa Types

US Student visa is of three types. F1 Visa, J1 Visa, or M1 Visa. These Visa types are divided as per the type of education you plan in the USA. The following are the types of visa in the USA:

Types of USA Study Visa

This Students Visa Guide explores the different kinds of visas quickly and strives to provide a complete method for applying for the F1 Student Visa, which is accessible to students pursuing bachelor's and master's degrees in the United States. There are three different kinds of student visas for the United States:

F1 Student Visa

An F1 visa is required for students seeking for programs that require more than 18 hours of lessons per week. This applies to all undergraduate programs as well as graduate programs such as MS, MBA, and other similar degrees.

F-2 visas are issued to spouses or kids following F-1 visa holders. Remember that spouses are not permitted to work, but they may accompany and/or seek for their own visa to work or study in the United States.

J1 Exchange Visitor Visa

Students, visiting researchers, and lecturers undertaking an exchange program are eligible for the J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa. Fulbright scholars and many students participating in short-term study abroad courses from Indian colleges, for example, will go to the United States on a J-1 visa.

A working professional who is going to America on an exchange program normally applies for a J1 visa, which is also known as an Exchange Visitor Visa. This might be a 10-month vocational training program or a research fellowship, for example. Regardless of the situation, the candidates will be contacted by the appropriate institutions.

M-1 Vocational/ Non-Academic Student Visa

The M1 visa is a sort of student visa that is only available to students attending vocational and technical institutions. While the application procedure for both the F1 and M-1 visas is identical, the M1 visas are time-stamped upon entry, and students cannot overstay their stay.

Education Type

Type of Visa for USA

University or College

F1

Private elementary school

F1

Seminary

F1

Conservatory

F1

High School

F1

Language Program

F1

Vocational or another nonacademic program

M1

Exchange Program

J1

Latest Update

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) of the United States has introduced 22 new courses to the STEM OPT (Optional Practical Training) program for overseas students.

This permits overseas students with an F-1 visa to stay in the United States for 36 months after finishing their studies and work in their area of study.

More students will be eligible for STEM OPT extension as a result of the additional additions.

CORONAVIRUS/COVID-19 ALERT

Beginning November 8, the United States has abolished pandemic limitations for fully immunized people. From November 8, 2021, fully vaccinated overseas tourists will be permitted to travel to the United States by air and land. All vaccinations certified by the World Health Organization and the Food and Drug Administration will be acceptable for flight passengers, according to US health officials. 

Cost of Visa

The F1 student visa for the United States comes with two costs.

  • The SEVIS charge is now $350. (INR 26,256)
  • The MRV Fee (Visa Application Fee) is now $160. (INR 12,003)

The following is a list of the many kinds of student visas. 

   

Type of Visa

 

Type of Fee

F1

J1

M1

   

SEVIS Fee

 

Amount

$350

$220

$350

Accepted modes of Payment

 

Credit Card


Money Order/ Demand Draft

 

Payable in

 

Dollars at the current bank-determined exchange rate

 
   

MRV Application Fee/ Visa Application Fee

 

Amount

$160

$160

$160

Accepted modes of Payment

 

NEFT Online Transfer


Instant Money Transfer by Mobile - IMPS


By Cash at counters of Axis Bank/ Citibank

 

Payable in

 

Payable in INR at the Exchange Rate Fixed by the Consular Office

 

US Visa Application

There are several steps to apply for us visa.  To apply for an M or F type Visa, you must pay the non-refundable $160 US Visa Fees. 

Documents Required for US Visa

The following are the documents required for the visa in the US. 

  1. Non-Immigrant Visa Electronic Applications Form or DS-160 Form
  2. A passport which validates a minimum of 6 months after the intended period of stay for the student.
  3. One 2x2 inches photograph taken within six months of the visa application.
  4. An approved original signed form I-20 from your US university or College.
  5. Score Sheet of TOEFL or SAT or IELTS.
  6. Bank Statement of three years
  7. Original Marksheets

Documents Required for F1 Student Visa Application

A student visa needs a lot more documentation than a tourist visa. You'll need the required paperwork, as well as financial and scholastic records to back them up. Before heading to the embassy for the visa interview, be sure you go through this checklist. 

  • A valid passport that is valid for at least six months beyond the duration of your visit.
  • A printed copy of DS-160, the online application form
  • SEVIS Fee Receipt
  • Interview appointment letter (original and copy)
  • Form I-20 sent by the college (where you are going to study)
  • Visa fees payment confirmation receipt
  • At least three years' worth of bank statements demonstrating that you have sufficient assets to cover the first year's expenses (could be of parent or guardian)
  • Pay/salary slips
  • Original mark sheets/provisional certificates
  • Score sheet of exams like TOEFL, GMAT, IELTS, etc

Procedure for US Visa

The USA Study Visa Process is a step by step procedure that includes:

  • The first procedure is to get Student Acceptance at any SEVP (Student and Exchange Visitor Program) approved School in the United States.
    • For this, one needs to apply to a SEVP approved Program. 
    • After you are accepted in the University, you will be registered for SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) and must pay SEVIS I-901 Fees i.e. $350.
    • You will then be issued an I-20 Form, which will be needed further to apply for US Visa
  • Now you can apply for DS-160 Form, an online application form.
  • Upload your photo while applying for DS-160 India Form
  • Schedule an Interview for Visa Approval
Age Interview Possibility
13 or Below

No Interview Required

14 or Above

Interview Required

  •  You should schedule an interview with the US Embassy. The time can vary as per location, season, and visa category.     
  • During the Interview, the Interviewer asks questions related to your course, duration, source of payment of course.
  • If approved, you will be later given your passport with visa stamped.

Where to apply for US Visa Interview?

Following are the details of all the Embassies available in India for US Visa:

US Embassy Mumbai

C-49, G-Block, Bandra Kurla Complex

Bandra East, Mumbai 400051

Phone: (91-22) 2672-4000

Visa Type

Appointment Wait Time

Visitor Visa

29 Days

Student/Exchange Visitor Visas

29 Days

All Other Nonimmigrant Visas

29 Days

US Embassy Hyderabad

Paigah Palace

1-8-323, Chiran Fort Lane Begumpet

Secunderabad 500 003

India: 040-4625-8222; 0120-484-4644

Visa Type

Appointment Wait Time

Visitor Visa

21 Days

Student/Exchange Visitor Visas

21 Days

All Other Nonimmigrant Visas

21 Days

US Embassy Kolkata

38A, J.L.Nehru Road

Kolkata 700 071, West Bengal, India

Tel: 91-33-3984-6300

Visa Type

Appointment Wait Time

Visitor Visa

28 Days

Student/Exchange Visitor Visas

28 Days

All Other Nonimmigrant Visas

28 Days

US Embassy Delhi

Shantipath, Chanakyapuri

New Delhi – 110021

Tel: 011-91-11-2419-8000

Visa Type

Appointment Wait Time

Visitor Visa

24 Days

Student/Exchange Visitor Visas

24 Days

All Other Nonimmigrant Visas

24 Days

US Embassy Chennai

Gemini Circle

Chennai 600 006

Phone: 044-2857-4000

Visa Type

Appointment Wait Time

Visitor Visa

24 Days

Student/Exchange Visitor Visas

24 Days

All Other Nonimmigrant Visas

23 Days

Working on Student Visa

Students studying in Universities can work with Student Visa but there are some rules to that:

  1. Students cannot accept off-campus employment in the first year.
  2. Students can work only upto 20 hours per week.
  3. During Holidays, students can work upto 40 hours per week
  4. Students can work for any firm that provides services to the University they have admitted in, which includes cafeteria, bookstores, library, etc.

US Student Visa Dependency 

Your Spouse and children who plan to stay with you during the tenure of education can apply for F2 Visa or M2 Visa

  1. SEVIS fee payment is not required for the dependents
  2. Your University must assign them an individual I-20 Form for their Visas
  3. You must provide your F1 or M1 Visa as proof of relationship
  4. Your minor children can attend full-time school during the tenure

Additional Information

  1. The Embassy or fee payment does not guarantee your visa, so it is advisable not to buy tickets beforehand
  2. A valid Visa in an Expired Passport is considered valid, Unless cancelled or revoked, a US Visa is valid till its expiration.
  3. Students with F or M visas are not allowed to enter the US before 30 days of  your start date
  4. To enter before 30 days, you must apply for Visitor Visa
  5. Visa Renewal process is the same as applying for Visa for the first time.
  6. A Visa does not guarantee your entry to the USA, The Department of Homeland Security decides whether you enter or not.
  7. Students must depart from the United States within 60 days after their program has ended.

Foreign students can apply for an extension of visa through U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website.

Where to Apply

After graduation, F1 visa holders are entitled for up to 12 months of OPT (optional practical training). The application for an F1 visa is completed entirely online. The materials to fill out your paperwork are shown below -

  • DS-160 Visa Application Form 
  • SEVIS I-901

Biometrics interview

Delhi -

S - 1 American Plaza, (Hotel Eros Managed by Hilton), International Trade Tower

Nehru Place, New Delhi – 110019

Mumbai -

Trade Center, Ground Floor, G Block,

Bandra Kurla Complex,

Bandra East, Mumbai - 400051 

Chennai -

No 3, Cenotaph Road,

Teynampet, Chennai, Tamil Nadu – 600018

Hyderabad -

1-8-384/385, Gowra Grand, S.P.Road,

Begumpet, Secunderabad - 500003

Kolkata -

Jasmine Tower, 31, Shakespeare Sarani (1st Floor)

Kolkata – 700017


Also Read: How to Get a Student Visa for USA in 2020?


FAQs

✅ What are the requirements for student visa in USA?

Ans: Documents required for Student Visa in USA are:

  1. Non-Immigrant Visa Electronic Applications Form or DS-160 Form
  2. A passport which validates a minimum of 6 months after the intended period of stay for the student.
  3. One 2x2 inches photograph taken within six months of the visa application.
  4. An approved original signed form I-20 from your US university or College.
  5. Score Sheet of TOEFL or SAT or IELTS.
  6. Bank Statement of three years
  7. Original Marksheets

✅ What is a student visa called in the US?

Ans: Student Visa in the US is called an " F Visa". F1 Visa is issued to students pursuing any academic education or Language program from any SEVP College.

✅ Can I work in USA with student visa?

Ans: Yes, you can work with a student visa but there are certain criteria:

  1. Students cannot accept off-campus employment in the first year.
  2. Students can work only upto 20 hours per week.
  3. During Holidays, students can work upto 40 hours per week
  4. Students can work for any firm that provides services to the University they have admitted in, which includes cafeteria, bookstores, library, etc.

✅ How long does a student visa last in the US?

Ans: A student can enter the United States a maximum of 30 days before the beginning of their course and must leave within 60 days after the course is completed. The following can change if the student applies for extending their visa or apply for a Visitor Visa.

✅ How much bank balance is required for a US student visa?

Ans: For US Student Visa, one must show the entire source of their course duration's fees as mentioned in the I-20 form provided by the University. Say, if it mentions $20,000 for the first year and your course is for 3 years, you must show the proof of $60,000 in your account. It is advisable to show the bank balance in dollars for the committee to understand.

About the Author
PB
Piyush Bhartiya
Study Abroad Expert & Co-Founder @ AdmitKard
Piyush values education and has studied from the top institutes of IIT Roorkee, IIM Bangalore, KTH Sweden and Tsinghua University in China. Post completing his MBA, he has worked with the world's # 1 consulting firm, The Boston Consulting Group and focused on building sales and marketing vertical for top MNCs and Indian business houses.