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How to get a US Student Visa

If you are planning to pursue a degree in the US and you are not an US citizen, then you'll require a student visa. The process of applying for an US student visa could be an extremely long process therefore, make sure to prepare well in advance , at minimum, about three or five months prior to when your class is due to begin. There are typically many steps required to apply for an US students visa. The steps differ for every US consulate or embassy so it's essential to check the directions on the site of the consulate or embassy which you are planning to apply.

In general, potential students will have to go through five steps in submitting an application for the US Visa for students:

  1. Be accepted by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)-approved school in the US (six to 12 months before US studies);
  2. You must pay for the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) cost;
  3. Complete an US applicant for a student visa with a recent photo(s);
  4. Pay the visa application fee
  5. Attend an interview for visas.

The United States government offers three kinds of student visas: J, F, and M.

  • F Visa for Students: to studying in an approved U.S. college or university or to learn English through the English language institute
  • J Exchange Visa: for the exchange program that includes the study of high school and at university
  • Students with M student visas: to study studies that are not academic or vocational or for training throughout the United States

Before you are eligible to request an F or J the M visa for a student, you need to first be approved by an U.S. institution of higher education that has been certified through the Student Exchange and Visitor Program (SEVP).

Even if an institution has been SEVP-certified and can give out I-20 or DS-2019 forms to use for Visa applications, the institution might not be able to obtain accreditation at the national or regional level. In the U.S. Department of Education and the Council to Accredit Higher Education databases provide the accreditation status of all U.S. institutions. Institutions that are deemed as accredited by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs to accept students into Academic Exchange programs (J visas) have to be accredited. Recognition of course credits, as well as degrees offered by other institutions and from U.S. and international employers, is contingent upon the accreditation of an institution. To find out more about accreditation, speak to an EducationUSA adviser in person or via the internet.

After you have been accepted into an SEVP-certified college You will be issued an I-20 form or DS-2019 from the school's international student office. You must present it when applying for your student visa. When you've received your application go to:

  1. U.S. Department of State - Consular Affairs (Student Visas)
  2. U.S. Department of State - U.S. Embassies and Consulates
  3. U.S. Department of Homeland Security - Study in the States

It is vital to know that two distinct U.S. government agencies are involved in the international student's arrival and their status when they study at the United States. It is the State Department is responsible for the application process for visas as well as issuing visas. After a visa holder has arrived to the United States, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is then the agency responsible for allowing admission into the country, in addition to issuing and enforcing international students rules. Read the information in all three sources before applying for the U.S. student visa. These websites address topics such as how to apply for employment, keeping your status, as well as other important areas.

Check out the following article for more detailed information on each of the five steps.

1. Contact a SEVP-approved institution

As an international student you must ensure that you select an institution and program that is accredited through the US government's Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP).

Accreditation is essential since it assures that your education is accepted by other institutions as well as employers, professional associations and government agencies around the world. Only SEVP-approved institutions are eligible to accept students to SEVIS. Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) and offer you the necessary documents required to obtain an US Visa for students. Visit the US SEVIS website of the government's Study in the States website to locate recognized institutions.

Contrary to some nations in the world, unlike other countries, the US doesn't have a central application process for universities which means that you'll have to apply to each university you're interested in separately. You'll have to meet the admissions requirements of each institution and will typically be required to prove the evidence of having enough financial resources.

After you have been admitted by an establishment, it will then enroll you into the SEVIS system. Once you are enrolled, you will receive an SEVIS-generated form called Form I-20, if you're qualified to apply for the F and M visa or Form DS-2019, if you are qualified to receive the J visa.

Foreign students on F and M visas are managed by the SEVP, whereas international students on J visa courses and exchange visitor programmes are managed by the Department of State (DoS). To keep an eye on and track institutions, exchange visitor programmes, and international students, SEVP and DoS both utilise SEVIS.

2. Pay the SEVIS fee

It is necessary to pay the SEVIS fee at minimum three days before making an application for an US visa. To pay for the fee, you'll need to submit either an online form or a paper one. Both forms are available on the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) SEVP website. Make sure you enter the correct information exactly in the exact manner on your I-20 or DS-20 form.

As of the date at the time of writing the fee for I-901 is $200 for holders of F/M visas or $180 for J visa holders. J visa holders who work as counselors at camps au pairs, camp counselors or the summer months can pay for $35 instead. The website provides instructions for different payment options such as credit or debit card or check, international money order , and Western Union Quick Pay. Once you've paid the fee you are able to return on the website to see your payment's status, if you want. A third person (such for example, your employer) may also be able to make the payment for you. When the payment is made on behalf of you it is expected that you get a receipt from the third party.

At any time after the money has been processed, you can print and get a confirmation of your payment on the website. When you go in for your US Student Visa interview, you will need to provide this confirmation as payment documentation. If you decide to alter your status to non-immigrant or if you want to apply for more US visa advantages, you may also show the confirmation to the customs agent at the designated US Port of Entry.

3. Fill out the US Student Visa application

Once you've received your SEVIS application and paid your SEVIS fee, you are able to set up an appointment with the US consulate, or an embassy of your country to complete the US students visa. It is recommended to apply at the earliest possible time regardless of the time when your application is due to begin, because processing times for visas vary. The visa you apply for may be issued as long as 120 days prior to when you're expected to travel to the US.

Many countries have their own dedicated site for everything related to submitting the US Visa application for students. This is accessible from this page. If you can't find your country listed but you could be able to locate the US consulate or embassy in your country on the US Embassy's site.

Online visa application: DS-160

In all cases , you'll need to fill out the online form for visa applications DS-160. It is necessary to choose the destination that you'd like to apply and make sure there are all necessary documents and the information needed to fill out the application. After you've completed the selection and have answered an security question you'll be guided to the page of the application. The top will see the ID of your application. This ID will be required to access your application if you want to leave the application but return in the future.

Personal information needed to fill out the DS-160 form are:

  • Name and birth date
  • Contact number and address
  • Passport details
  • Travel plans and details and travel companions
  • The details of the prior US travel
  • Contact person is in the US
  • Education, family and work information
  • Background, security and medical information about health
  • SEVIS ID and the address of US program or school you plan to join (as indicated on the I-20 or the DS-2019 form)

It is also necessary to upload a recent photograph of yourself using the format specified in the requirements for photos. If your upload fails, you'll have to bring an image that is printed - and will meet the standards - to the visa interview.

Make sure you answer each question accurately and completely as you could be required to change your visa interview If you do make any errors. If you're confused while filling out the application form there are answers to your concerns via the website.

After the visa application form has been filled out, you'll have to electronically complete your DS-160 by pressing"Sign Application" or the "Sign Application" button at the bottom. After you've uploaded your application and you're sent an acknowledgement page that includes an barcode, a barcode number as well as your ID number for your application that you'll have to print and bring to the visa interview. There is no need to print out your entire application.

4. Pay the fee to apply for visas

The fee for a visa application is also known as"the Machine Readable Visa Fee or the 'MRV fee'. Be sure to read the instructions for payment on the consulate or embassy website, as the methods can differ. In general, there are three options to pay the non-refundableand fee for a visa that is not transferrable:

  • In person at an authorized bank
  • Contact us by telephone (you'll get a fee confirmation number)
  • Online (you'll have for printing your receipt)

When you are doing you research don't fret about it if you stumble upon the phrase 'visa issuance fee that is based on reciprocity'. it is not applicable to F1 and F2, as well as M1 and M2, as well as J2 visa holders.

When you show up for the visa interview, you must provide the MRV fee receipt. When they take part in a US Agency for International Development (USAID) programme or a federally supported educational and cultural exchange that has an initial serial number of G-1, G-2, G-3, or G-7, some J visa applicants are exempt from paying processing costs.

5. Make a plan to attend an US Visa interview for students

The last step to obtain an US visa for students is to schedule and take part in a visa interview. It is possible to do this via the internet or by telephone, or by calling your closest US consulate or embassy. In both cases you must finish the MRV fee first, since you might have to provide you your MRV fees number.

You must appear for your interview with a consular agent in order for the visa application procedure to be finished. You won't need to schedule an interview at a different US embassy or consulate than where you filed for the visa, be assured. Any US embassy or consulate can locate your information using the DS-160's barcode. However, you should be aware that it could be challenging to qualify for a visa application outside of your country of permanent residence. The location, season, and kind of visa determine how long applicants must wait for interview appointments.

Documents needed for the visa interview

Go to your website or the site of the consulate or embassy that you intend to apply to ensure you have all the necessary documents to be present for the interview. The documents you need could include:

  • Passport that is valid for at least six months after your duration of residence during your stay in the US. In the event that more than one is listed on your passport, every one who requires a visa has to apply for a visa on their own. It is also possible to carry all of your passports, both old and current.
  • Signature SEVIS Form I-20 or DS-2019 (including the individual forms for spouses and children)
  • Formula DS-7002 (for J-1 Trainees or Intern Visa applicants, only)
  • SEVIS fee receipt
  • Application confirmation page DS-160 with barcode and ID number of the application
  • Receipt for confirmation of fee payment from MRV
  • Copy of visa interview letter
  • One or two photographs that conform to the format described in the requirements for photographs. Printing should be done on high-quality photo paper.

It is also recommended to submit these documents

  • Diplomas and transcripts from the earlier institutions that you have that you have
  • Test scores from the standardized tests demanded by the school like TOEFL, LSAT GRE, GMAT, etc.
  • Evidence of financial stability that shows you or your patron (i.e. parents or government sponsored sponsor) is able to pay for your tuition, costs for travel and living expenses while within the US.

You may also want to bring an additional list of all prior employers and the schools you've attended to help you with information.

Any applicants with derivative visas will require:

  • A copy of the marriage or birth certificate as proof of connection
  • A photocopy of the applicant's passport (i.e. F-1 M-1, J-1) or official documents from the USCIS verifying the status of the principal applicant.
  • A duplicate of the personal information page of the principal passports of the applicants.

Participating in the visa interview

It's crucial to be punctual for your visa appointment - late applicants could be asked to change their appointment to another date. In the majority of cases, only those who have an appointment scheduled will be allowed inside the US consulate or embassy. There are exceptions for parents of children younger than 18, translators, as well as assistants for disabled people You'll have to call your consulate or embassy to provide them with details of your translator, parent or assistant that will accompany you.

The goal to conduct a visa screening is to allow an officer from the consulate to decide if you're eligible to get an US student visa, and in the event that you are, what category of visa is suitable for you. Prepare yourself to answer questions concerning your connection to your country of origin as well as your English language proficiency and educational background, the degree program in the US that you have been admitted, as well as proof of your financial sources. You might also be asked to describe the steps you will take after your studies have ended.

Digital fingerprint scans that are ink-free are taken during the application. This typically happens at the time of your visa interview.

After the interview, The consular official will inform that your application is subject to additional administrative processing. This could mean that you have to wait longer for you to wait until you get your visa. The wait times for visas will differ based on the country. It is also possible to be informed of how as well as when your passport with visa can be delivered to you (usually the delivery is by courier). In certain countries, the courier will send to you an email with tracking code that you can use to monitor the return of the passport.

The M-1 as well as F-1 visas are able to be issued as long as 120 days prior to the date you start your studies However, you won't be permitted to be admitted to the US prior to 30 days prior to the start date. J-1 visas may be issued at any point. If you wish to enter the US within the 30 days are up, you must be eligible and receive an entry visa. The 30-day restriction is not applicable for students returning to continue their studies. They can visit the US anytime with an approved visa.

Using your visa

Since there is no guarantee you'll be granted an entry visa, don't decide on your travel plans and purchase tickets until you have an approved visa. Make sure you are aware that the validity of a visa does not ensure access to the US and only permits travelers to go to an US port of entry and to request permission to travel to the US. Permission to enter the US is granted by an official from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Customs and Border Protection (CBP) official.

Make sure you have your visa-related documents in your carry-on luggage since you'll be required to in a position to show the documents at the entry point. Documents that you must keep on hand include:

  • Passport
  • SEVIS Form I-20 or DS-2019
  • The evidence of financial resources
  • The evidence of status as a student (such as recent transcripts and tuition receipts)
  • Name and contact details for the contact information for your Designated School Official (DSO) as well as an emergency number that is available 24 hours a day at the school you choose.
  • In the case of an exchange student, Letter from your home institution that states your desire to return to your university of choice.

It is mandatory to carry your Form I-20/DS-20-2019 with you every when you enter the US and if you plan to take your vacation out of the US you'll need to fill out the SEVIS form to allow you to return to the country.

Arrival in the US

If you're arriving in the US via plane, you'll have to fill out an Customs Declaration form (CF-6059) prior to landing. It is possible to request a flight attendant's assistance if you're not understanding the form. It is also necessary to fill out the Arrival/Departure Records I-94 form either online or on paper. The US student visa can be used for the date indicated on the visa. It is the CBP officer will write an additional date, as "D/S" (duration of status) on the I-94 form. It is this date at which you are required to depart the US. You are able to stay within the US until the end of this date, even the visa expires during your stay. If you leave the US with a visa that has expired and you want to apply for a new visa prior to being able to return and begin your studies. The student visa cannot be renewed or renewed within the US It must be obtained at an US consulate or embassy in another country.

If you receive an I-94 paper form the date will be written on the form. If you're given an electronic I-94 The CBP officer will give you an admission stamp to your passport that serves as proof of the electronic I-94 and also write the D/S in the stamped stamp.

If you're given the form of paper I-94 form, ensure to save it in your passport since you'll have to hand it in to an CBP official upon your departure from the US. If you're using an electronic I-94 then a CBP official will instead document your departure using the manifest information taken from the sea or air carrier you're traveling.

You must go to the office of your school that is accountable for supporting students from abroad within 30 days from your course's commencement date, which is noted upon the SEVIS Form I-20/DS-2019. It might be an Office of International Services, the Office of International Education, the International Programs Office, or similar. A designated school official (DSO) will confirm your intention to participate by submitting your arrival to SEVIS. SEVIS system. It must be done within 30 days, or your SEVIS record will be immediately canceled and you could be found as in violation of the status you have within the US.

The DSO can also be reached to provide advice on issues like insurance. Since the US has no social health system and it is likely to be a requirement for enrolment with your US institution to provide proof that you have purchased health insurance through a private company to cover medical expenses.

The departure from the US

The holders of F-1 visas can stay within the US for another 60 days after the completion of their program and M-1 or J-1 visa holders are able to stay for a maximum of 30 days after the conclusion of their program. This is known as a 'grace period' that lets the applicant make preparations for departure from the US.

All students must leave prior to the deadline on their I-94 forms/stamps. If you fail to leave the US will result in you being declared to be considered out-of-status. Being out of-status within the US is an infraction of the immigration laws and could cause you to be denied an immigration visa in the near future. If you want to prolong the duration of your visit, you'll require the approval of USCIS. If you're a continuous student, you can extend your visa any point so long as you've kept your student status and current SEVIS information.

Frequently asked questions

Is US student visa easy to get ?

It is not difficult to obtain a student visa for the United States from India, but you must adhere to all regulations and allow enough of time to prepare and submit your papers.

How much does it cost to get US student visa ?

An F1 visa enables international students to pursue full-time studies at a US institution that participates in the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP). You should apply for an F1 visa at least three months before the commencement of your study. Applications cost about $510.

What are the requirements to get a student visa in USA ?

requirements for US student visas (F1 Visa)

  • a passport that is current and has at least six months left on its validity term.
  • a current passport-sized picture.
  • DS-160 confirmation page.
  • Form I -20.
  • SEVIS application costs must be paid.
  • filing a non-immigrant application.
Why do student visas get rejected ?

Common grounds for denying student visas are lack of appropriate financial resources or documentation to support study abroad. the incapacity to affirm that a return to India is required after finishing schooling. fraudulent or inaccurate documentation inadequate proficiency in a language or communication.

How long does it take to get a US student visa ?

New students may apply for a student (F and M) visa up to 120 days before their program's start date. The length of time you must wait to get a visa appointment varies greatly between nations. Depending on the situation, you can receive it in three days or three months. Waiting periods are further complicated by the COVID-19 situation.

Is US giving student visa now ?

Choose an American embassy or consulate:
Students who are continuing their studies can apply for student (F and M) visas at any time as long as they are enrolled in a SEVP-approved institution and have registered in SEVIS. Continued students are allowed to enter the country at any time prior to the commencement of school.

Is USA still giving student visa ?

Students who are still enrolled in school and are registered in SEVIS are considered continuing students, and student (F and M) visas for continuing students may be awarded at any time. All times prior to the commencement of lessons are permissible entry for continuing students.

How can I pass US student visa interview ?

The following advice is meant to assist you in getting ready for your visa interview at the American embassy or consulate in your country.

  • home country ties
  • English.
  • Be your own advocate.
  • Find out how the program fits with your career goals.
  • Be Brief.
  • Additional Information.
  • Not all nations are created equal.
  • Employment.
How many times I can apply for US visa ?

You may submit applications as often as you like. Analyze the reasons for rejection before reapplying, though, and focus on those. Some individuals wrongly think that there is a daily or monthly quota for visas, and after that, they just flat-out deny everyone. There is no quota, and that is just not the case.

Can I get US visa without interview ?

Based on your age or if you are renewing a previous U.S. visa, you might be able to apply for a visa without having to go through an interview. We only accept applications for Interview Waiver at this time from students and crew members (C1/D) from foreign airlines, cruise cruises, and ships (F-1).

How long can you stay in America without a green card ?

The Customary Law. For the majority of individuals, the simple response to the issue of how long a tourist may legally remain in the United States is six months. To be more exact, once an entry is deemed to be "fair and reasonable," a six-month stay is automatically given to the tourist.

How can I live in USA permanently ?

Obtain a Green Card
If you meet the requirements, submit Form I-485 - Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status to USCIS together with all required payments. After reviewing your application, USCIS will set up a meeting with you. Your Green Card will be good for ten years after it is issued.

How long can you stay on a student visa ?

Your educational program is covered by the period of your student visa. Therefore, your visa will be given for the same length of time if you want to study abroad for two years. Most student visas are granted for a period of two to four years.

Can you work with student visa ?

You can work on campus up to 20 hours a week while classes are in session thanks to your student visa for the US, and full-time when classes are out (up to 40 hours per week). Work that is done on campus or at an off-campus site connected to the institution is referred to as on-campus employment.

How long does it take to get visa ?

Depending on the nationality and excluding unusual instances, the Indian Mission/Post needs a minimum of three working days to process the case and issue a visa upon receipt of the application through the Indian Visa Application Center or directly.