A student visa for the USA continues to be a highly coveted document, with the country still being one of the top choices for international students. Applying for a student visa for the USA from India or any other country is the first step towards achieving the dream of studying at leading institutions there. Here are all the basic aspects that you should know before applying.
Read More: Student Visa- A Detailed Guide!
Student Visa for the USA- Types/Categories:
Want to know how to get a student visa for the USA? You should first learn about the various types of visas that are available.
This is for students applying for educational programs that need 18+ hours of study every week. This covers undergraduate courses along with graduate courses like MBA, MS and others. Children and spouses can go with applicants but only on F2 visas. Spouses cannot work in the US unless they separately apply for study/work in the country on their independent visas.
The Exchange Visitor Visa is meant for visiting lecturers, students, and scholars as part of exchange programs. Several students from international universities or Fulbright scholars often visit the US for various programs for example. This is also suitable for working professionals who are visiting the country. Accompanying spouses and children can go on the J2 visa only. Spouses may work if permission is garnered beforehand.
Read More: What is a J1 Visa?
This student visa for the USA is for technical and vocational institutions. The procedure for applying is the same although the key difference is that these visas come with time stamps.
Read More: What is M1 Visa?
Student visa for the USA from India- Fee and charges:
The student visa fees for USA are the SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) charge which is $350 or INR 26,000 and the MRV/ visa application fee that is $160 or roughly INR 11,800. The MRV charges are the same for all three types of student visas while the SEVIS charge is only different for the J1 Visa at $220 or approximately INR 16,300.
How to Get Student Visa for the USA- Application Process:
These are the steps to be followed:
· The entire procedure begins with the receipt of Form I-20 from your institution. The SEVIS fee may be paid anytime throughout the application process, it is advisable to pay this prior to starting your application itself.
· Post getting the receipt for SEVIS fee payment, you may apply for the DS-160 visa form which is readily available online.
· Print out the confirmation page and carry this at your interview.
· Pay visa charges via authorized Citibank or Axis Bank branches or NEFT.
· Book your Biometric and interview appointments. You will have to visit personally to get the photograph taken for the visa and scan your fingerprints for the former.
· The interviewer will pose queries about your educational choices, funds, institution, intention to return to your home country and other aspects at the personal interview. If convinced, your passport will be kept for stamping the visa.
F1 visas may be granted around 120 days before the start of your course. However, you cannot enter the US with this visa before 30 days to your first day of the course.
USA student visa requirements- Documents needed:
Several documents are to be submitted as USA student visa requirements for Indian students. Here is a guide on the documents that may be required for your application.
a. A valid and original passport with six months of validity beyond your proposed tenure of residence in the USA.
b. Receipt of SEVIS fee payment.
c. Printed DS-160 copy which is the application form.
d. Form I-20 given by the institution where you are enrolling for the course.
e. Appointment letter (copy and original).
f. Payment confirmation receipt for visa charges.
g. At least three years’ bank statements indicating ample funds for covering tuition fees and living expenses.
h. Original mark sheets or provisional certificates.
i. Salary or pay slips.
j. Score sheets of examinations such as GMAT, TOEFL or IELTS.
Read More: Why choose to study in the USA?
Students should offer supporting financial papers to demonstrate ample funds for covering the total expenditure for the first year at least. Proof of available funds for the remaining duration should also be shown. These documents include tax returns or Form 16 for the last three years, last three years’ passbook or bank statements, certified CA’s statement, loan approval letter from the concerned authority or banking institution and scholarship letter if applicable.
Those on F1 visas may have eligibility for up to a year of optional practical training or OPT after graduating. This means that they may work for 12 months after finishing their courses. This is a temporary employment opportunity, giving ample scope to aspirants to get more experience in their chosen professional fields. They will then have to apply for work visas.
Read More About: Study in the USA from India
Dependents and How they Should Apply:
Spouses of applicants and children under 21 years of age can accompany primary applicants on M2 or F2 visas. Spouses may not enroll for an entire study course but they may attend recreational or vocational classes or pursue hobbies. Children on these visas may attend elementary, big and middle school full-time. Spouses or children of applicants cannot take up jobs.
USA Study Visas- Where You Should Apply:
You can fill up the forms at https://www.fmjfee.com/i901fee/index.html or https://ceac.state.gov/genniv/.
Here is the list of centers for the Biometric interview:
· S-1 American Plaza at Hotel Eros by Hilton, International Trade Tower, Nehru Place, New Delhi-110019.
· Number 3, Cenotaph Road, Teynampet, Chennai-600018.
· Trade Centre, G Block, Ground Floor, Bandra-Kurla Complex, Bandra East, Mumbai-400051.
· 31, Shakespeare Sarani, Jasmine Tower, First Floor, Kolkata-700017.
· 1-8-384/385, S.P. Road, Gowra Grand, Begumpet, Secunderabad, Hyderabad-500003
Read More: A guide to settle in USA from India!
1. U.S. Embassy- Shantipath, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi-110021
2. U.S. Consulate General- 220 Anna Salai, Gemini Circle, Chennai-600006
3. U.S. Consulate General- C-49, Bandra-Kurla Complex, G-Block, Bandra East, Mumbai-400051
4. U.S. Consulate General- Paigah Palace, 1-8-323, Begumpet, Chiran Fort Lane, Secunderabad, Hyderabad-5000035. U.S. Consulate General- 5/1, Ho Chi Minh Sarani, Kolkata- 700071