Looking to apply for a US student visa from India? Look no further! The US is a top destination for international students seeking quality education and diverse cultural experiences. With access to renowned universities, cutting-edge research facilities, and a wide range of academic programs, studying in the US can provide unique opportunities for personal and professional growth.
To study in the US, Indian students must obtain a student visa, which varies depending on age and the type of program they wish to pursue. Here is a summary of the various types of study visas and their application requirements.
The USA offers three different types of visas for international students namely-
- F1 Visa – For international students wishing to pursue academic courses in colleges or universities or educational institutions in the USA.
- J Visa – For international students wishing to take part in the student exchange program in educational institutions in the USA.
- M Visa – For the students wishing to pursue any non-academic or vocational courses in the USA.
Let’s understand each visa type, the eligibility to apply, the application process, fees and other aspects in detail.
The F-1 visa enables students to temporarily reside in the US for a specified period. The residence is only permitted while the student is pursuing their education at a school, college, or recognised institute. For many students, studying in the US is the realisation of years of hard work and dedication. Unless the student is already a US citizen or permanent resident, they must obtain a visa to study in the US. The visa application can be long and tedious if all the required documents are not prearranged. To obtain a USA student visa from India hassle-free, students should be well informed of the prerequisites and plan sufficiently before the due college admission date.
The F-1 visa has a wide range of applications due to the numerous courses and institutions available in the US, but it also has specific regulations. Firstly, the student must intend to study in the US temporarily, meaning it is not an immigrant visa.
Under the non-immigrant F-1 visa, you may have limited work opportunities, as there are restrictions on the location and nature of your employment. Additionally, while your spouse and children may accompany you, they will not be permitted to work, but your children can attend school. They will hold F-2 visas and their status will be linked to your visa. The F2 visa is for immediate family members of F1 student visa holders who wish to come to the US. The F2 visa is applicable for the spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age of the F1 visa holder.
To be eligible for the F2 visa, the applicant must either be the spouse or dependent child (unmarried and under 21 years) of an F1 student visa holder. Additionally, the applicant must possess adequate financial resources to support the family during their stay in the US.
Eligibility for the F1 visa
To be eligible for an F-1 visa, the following requirements must be met:
- Apply and gain admission to a SEVP-approved school in the US. These schools can range from universities to elementary schools, conservatories, or English language programs.
- Demonstrate proficiency in English or enrol in courses to improve English language skills.
- Enrol as a full-time student at the institution.
- Provide evidence of sufficient financial resources to support your education in the US.
- Reside outside of the US when submitting the application.
- Demonstrate ties to your home country that demonstrate your intention to return upon completion of your studies, as the F-1 visa program is temporary.
Requirements for the F1 Visa Application
To apply for a US student visa for universities, you will typically require the following:
- A valid passport with an expiration date that extends at least six months beyond your intended period of stay in the US.
- The DS-160 confirmation page.
- A recent passport-sized photograph.
- The Form I-20 provided by your university.
- Filing the application as a non-immigrant.Payment of SEVIS application fees.
Your university may inform you of any other additional requirements that you need to fulfil before submitting your application.
How to apply for the F1 visa?
Once accepted by your SEVP-approved school, you will be enrolled in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), which is used by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) to track and monitor F, M, and J nonimmigrants while they participate in the U.S. education system. In order to complete your enrollment, you must pay the I-901 fee, which funds the SEVP program and is currently $350 for most people.
Your school will send you a Form called I-20. This form confirms your eligibility for the F-1 visa. With this form, you can apply for an F-1 visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate. The application process will vary by location, so be sure to check their websites for specific instructions.
You will need to complete Form DS-160, which is similar to the Form DS-260 for immigrant visas, and schedule an interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate. The U.S. Department of State recommends scheduling your interview in the country where you live, though you may schedule it elsewhere. Prior to the interview, you will need to pay the $160 application fee and, depending on your nationality, an issuance fee.
The visa wait times can vary, and you can check the appointment wait time tool to see how long you will have to wait for an appointment at a specific U.S. embassy or consulate.
Therefore, apply for the university and course you are interested in. Upon receiving the acceptance letter, you can begin the visa application process.
The first step after receiving an acceptance letter from the university is to get the form based on your requirement from the university. The two types of forms are to be eligible for non-immigrant student status and the exchange study visa.
Make the payment for the visa. The visa fees vary according to the visa type.
Visit the nearest US consulate for the application. Fill out the online DS-160 form.
Make an appointment for the interview process and complete the payment.
Attend the interview and complete the procedure. There might be an issuance fee after the entire application procedure. The student visa for the USA from India costs around $550.
English language requirements for the visa application procedure-
In order to obtain a US student visa, demonstrating proficiency in English is typically required. This often involves passing a secure English language test to prove your ability to communicate effectively.
The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is the most widely recognized high-stakes English language proficiency test for study, work, and migration. It has been taken by over three million people in the past year alone and is recognized by over 11,000 organisations in 140 countries, including educational institutions, employers, and governments.
US educational institutions typically require a minimum IELTS score of 6.5. Your university or program may provide additional information on English language requirements for your specific application. Additionally, several scholarships are provided on the basis of this English language test score.
M1 Student visa
The M1 visa is a non-immigrant student visa that allows foreign students to study in the United States, but not all students are eligible for it. The M1 visa is specifically designed for individuals seeking vocational training in the U.S.
Once issued with the M1 visa, students can enter the United States and enrol in a full-time vocational course.
To apply for a US student visa from India, you must fulfil the following requirements:
- You have applied for academic or vocational training courses in the US.
- You have been admitted by a US-based educational institution and have obtained Form I-20.
- You have the minimum educational qualifications necessary for admission to the vocational course.
- You possess the required level of English proficiency.
- You have permanent residency in your country of origin.
- You have demonstrated sufficient funds to cover your expenses while in the US.
- The educational institution is convinced that the education you will receive will benefit your country of origin.
The J-1 visa also called the Exchange Visitor Visa or J-student visa, is issued by the Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs to foreign individuals who wish to participate in study- and work-related exchange programs. Typically, an educational or nonprofit organisation sponsors J-1 visa holders. The College and University Student Program category allows J-1 visa holders to study at a US college or university and stay in the country for the duration of their course or degree program.
The duration of stay on a J-1 student visa depends on the program selected by the applicant. For instance, a Case study program may require a short stay (e.g., four months over the summer), whereas a Research Scholar program could require a J-1 visa valid for several years in the US.
J-1 visa holders are required to go back to their home country after completing their program and live there for at least two years. Only after fulfilling this requirement are they allowed to return to the US.
To apply for a J-1 student visa, you must follow these steps:
- Find a Sponsor
You need a non-personal sponsor to fund your program. The sponsor should be accredited by the US Department of State. You can find the list of designated sponsor organisations on their website.
- Submit DS-2019 Form
Once you are accepted into a program, you will receive a DS-2019 form, which is your Certificate of Eligibility to apply for J-1 status. You will need to submit this form to proceed.
- Pay Required Fees
In addition to your program fee, you will need to pay other fees such as the SEVIS I-901 fee to the Department of Homeland Security, a nonimmigrant visa application processing fee, and a visa issuance fee. You may not need to pay these fees if your program is sponsored by the Department of State, USAID, or a US government-funded educational and cultural exchange program.
- Schedule a Visa Interview
You will be interviewed by a consular officer at the US Embassy or Consulate in your home country. You should schedule your appointment as soon as possible as waiting times vary depending on your country and the time of application.
- Attend Your Visa Interview
The consular officer will interview you to understand your intentions for travelling to the US.
These are the visa types required for international students to study in the USA, with an F1 visa being the most commonly opted one. Expert education can help you with the admission and visa application procedure to make this entire journey hurdle-free for you. Visit your nearest Expert education centre or reach out to us by call to avail of this assistance.
Yes, you can work in the US on a student visa. The time permitted for students during their course tenure is 20 hours a week, however, you are allowed to work full-time during annual breaks.
Yes, you can travel internationally on an F1 visa provided you inform your school office and have all the relevant documents like a valid F1 visa, passport, I-20 form, etc. along.
Your F1 visa is generally valid for five years from the day of issue.
The Although there is no specific minimum bank balance requirement for a US student visa, it is recommended to have a balance of at least $10,000 USD or more. Additionally, this amount should be consistently reflected in your bank statements from the previous 6-9 months.
The maximum age for a student visa application in the US is 79 years.
The student, if applying for a visa for an undergraduate program, should have an acceptance letter from the college and a valid high school degree. In the case of application for postgraduate programs, the qualifying graduation course is considered an eligibility criterion.