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101 of Student Visa for the USA

Living the American dream is an aspiration of almost every student in today's times. The United States of America has always been one of the top preferences of international students because of its promise of exciting and wonderful opportunities. The USA is a country of diverse cultures, spectacular landscapes, and most importantly home to many of the world's top universities. Student life in the United States is a unique experience both inside and outside the institution. The vibrant vibes of the country are guaranteed to make studying there the best decision of your life.

With a huge global student population, you're bound to connect with people through the pursuit of knowledge and professional development. This social tapestry respects distinct backgrounds making the USA  a perfect place for international students to fit in.

The United States of America dominate the multiple charts of World University Rankings with some of the best universities in its bag. The leading faculties, residential campuses, strong entrepreneurial spirits, and expert subject knowledge is what grabs these top institutions their reputation.

Here’s a look at some of the most popular universities in the USA

  • California Institute of Technology
  • Columbia University
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • Princeton University
  • Harvard University
  • New York University
  • University of California
  • University of Chicago
  • Stanford University
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • Yale University

Whichever state of the United States you decide to stay in, there will be so many ivy league options for you to choose from.

Student Visa as the name suggests is the official travel document issued to the candidate whose primary purpose of visiting the United States is the pursuit of education. Once you've received the letter of acceptance from your desired university, it is time for you to start the application procedure for your student visa.

The United States offers three types of student visas to international scholars.

F1 student visa:

The most common type of non-immigrant visa issued to any international student is known as an F1 visa. A program or discipline which involves more than eighteen hours of learning in a week requires a student to apply for the F1 visa. This includes enrolment in high school, private elementary school, language training programs, and undergraduate or graduate programs like MBA, MS, etc. This type of visa allows a candidate to opt for part-time or on-campus employment opportunities if required. Partners or children of the F1 visa recipients can travel to the US on an F-2 visa. The partners won't be allowed any work permit but can accompany the partner.

Method to apply for an F-1 visa

  • A student can apply for your F-1 visa only after the university or institute confirms the admission and sends you an I-20 form to start the visa process. You can only apply for the visa before 120 days of the commencement of the program. Also, make sure you don't delay the process as it can be time-consuming.
  • I-20 form is the most important document of the procedure and is mailed to you by the institution along with the SEVIS ID and your institute's address and other relevant information.
  • You can apply for the DS-160 visa form after you successfully pay the SEVIS fee and get a valid receipt for the same. DS-160 is an online application form to be filled by an international student.
  • After the successful submission of DS-160 form, you need to print up your application and carry it along during the visa interview process.
  • You will be required to pay the set visa fee at the authorized bank locations or online via NEFT facility.
  • The last step is to schedule a biometric and interview appointment at the embassy as per your agenda plan.

J-1 Visa:

The scholars, students, or lecturers who desire to pursue to pursue an exchange program in the United States can request a J-1 exchange visitor visa to fulfil his educational dreams. The main purpose of this visa is to help the applicant to provide or attain some practical training in their area of study. The aspirants can opt for a 10-month long vocational training or research fellowship in the eligible US universities. The applicants of this visa are also required to have a 2 year home residency in the country for a successful application for the J-1 visa. Spouses or children of these visa applicants can travel on a J-2 visa and can also work in the US if the permission is obtained from the respective authorities in advance.

Methods to apply for a J-1 visa

  • The foremost thing is to find a designated sponsor to accept you into their program. There is an official department that provides you with a list of designated sponsor organizations that can help you to apply for a J-1 visa.
  • Once you've been approved and selected by a designated sponsor organization you're all set to submit a DS-2019 visa form. This will make you eligible for the interview process with the embassy.
  • Pay the SEVIS I-901 fee and get the confirmation receipt. Apart from this, you'll also be required to pay the visa application processing fee as well.
  • Schedule an appointment for the interview at the embassy or consulate as per your schedule and the date of commencement of the program.

M-1 Visa:

The scholars who want to take up a non-academic or professional and technical school can apply for an M-1 visa for the USA. These visa holders are not permitted to work for the entire duration of their program and visa timeframe. You should be able to finance your stay and education in the United States when applying for the M-1 visa.

Methods for applying for M-1 visa

  • Once you get accepted into the vocational school of your choice, you will receive an I-20 form. This form will help you to initiate the visa application process.
  • Submit the DS-160 form online as the next step of your application process. After the submission of this form, you'll receive a confirmation code and page required at the time of your interview at the embassy.
  • Pay the application fee of the M-1 visa along with any additional fee applicable as per the embassy. Keep the receipts of the same safely with you.
  • Pay the SEVIS I-901 fee and save the receipt for the records required later.
  • Schedule an appointment for the visa interview as per your schedule and the program commencement date.

Employment on any student visa

The students are not allowed to accept any off-campus employment offers during the first year of their studies. Students are allowed to work for approximately twenty hours per week. at the time of breaks and holidays, the working hours allowed can be extended up to forty hours per week. Commercial firms like a bookstore, cafeteria, etc. are places that provide part-time job opportunities to the students.

Cost of the student visa

There are two types of fees associated with all three types of visas.

  • SEVIS Fee
  • Visa Application Fee

Type of Visa

Amount of SEVIS Fee

Amount of Visa Application Fee

F-1 Visa



J-1 Visa



M-1 Visa




The SEVIS fee can be paid using credit cards, money order, or demand draft as per the convenience of the applicant. The payment is accepted in dollars at the applicable exchange rate determined by the bank. The visa application fee is accepted via the modes of NEFT, instant money transfer, or by cash. It is accepted in the INR currency at the exchange rate fixed by the embassy.

Documents required for applying for the student visa in the United States

  • A duly filled and printed copy of the DS-160 application form.
  • An original and duplicate copy of the interview appointment letter.
  • A clearly printed copy of the I-20 form sent by the university or institute in the USA.
  • Confirmation receipt of the successful payment of the visa fee.
  • Bank account statement of at least past three years to prove that you've adequate finances to handle your relocation and tuition fees.
  • Tax returns of the past three years, i.e. Form 16.
  • Declaration from a certified CA.
  • Original letter offering a scholarship, if received.
  • Original or provisional mark-sheets and credentials.
  • Depending upon the university you've applied to, you'll need the scoresheet of language exams like TOEFL, GMAT, IELTS, etc.

Rejection of the student visa

  • It is important to be aware of the major reasons for the rejection of a visa to avoid making the same mistakes in your own application. Some of these reasons are
  • Insufficient funds: The visa is rejected if a candidate fails to provide adequate financial proof to support his education.
  • Potential immigrant: If at any stage of the application process, it is established that the candidate can be a potential immigrant, the visa is rejected without any further ado.
  • No home ties in the United States: Inability to justify home ties in the US also leads to the rejection of your visa.
  • False or inappropriate documentation is also a major reason for visa rejection.

Studying abroad is a lifelong dream for many individuals but it requires quite meticulous planning to make this dream come true. It is advised to keep in mind the deadlines of the US institute while planning the admission and application process. Prepare properly and appear for your English eligibility tests as per the policies of the institute. Keep the required documents safe and sound in one place to ensure a smooth application process. It is essential to apply for the visa in advance, approximately 3-4 months before the commencement of the program, to avoid any last-minute complications and rush. Timely process all your financial needs i.e. the loans or scholarships to save time as these applications can take longer than the usual ones.

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