Students in USA

Documents Required for US Student Visa


(Last Updated On: February 8, 2019)

The US is home to many renowned universities, such as Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Stanford, Columbia and many more. No wonder then that the number of international students among the total student population in the US higher education system increased from 1% in 1949-50 to 5% in 2016-17, says an article by the Migration Policy Institute. And, the first step of being part of this illustrious population is applying for a student visa. For this, you need to know the types of visas and the documents required when you apply for each type.

Types of US Student Visa

There are basically three types of student visa to US, the F1, J1 and M1 visas. The F1 visa type is issued to students wanting to pursue graduate or undergraduate courses from a US university and the program entails more than 18 hours of study per week. On the other hand, you need to apply for an M1 student visa if you are going to attend career-focused programs like vocational or technical courses or medical training programs. The J1 student visa is issued to scholars visiting the US to attend lectures or courses through a student exchange program.

The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) fee varies based on the visa type you apply for. The fee for the F1 and M1 visa is $200, while the SEVIS fee is $180 for the J1 visa. However, if you are applying for a short-term course through an exchange program, you will need to only pay $35 as the SEVIS fee.

Mandatory Documents for US Student Visa

The important documents that you need to submit while applying for a US student visa are:

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  • Valid Passport and all older passports you might have.
  • The submission confirmation page for Form DS-160.
  • The submission confirmation page for Form I-20 or DS-2019
  • Visa fee receipt.
  • The appointment letter of the student visa interview – original and a copy.
  • The payment receipt for the SEVIS fee I-901 – original and a copy.

Supporting Documents for US Student Visa

The supporting documents that you will be asked for include your educational certificates and financial documents. You will have to submit your original degree and mark sheets you’re your school and undergraduate or diploma courses. You will also have to submit the test scores for exams like GMAT, TOEFL or GRE, says an article on Immihelp.com.

The financial documents required include:

  • Bank statements proving that you have sufficient resources to support your education fees and stay in the US.
  • Tax Returns (Form 16), if you were employed.
  • Scholarship details, if you have any.
  • Loan approval letter from the bank, if you have taken an educational loan to support your studies in the US.

Other supporting documents might include:

  • Character certificate from the police, stating that you have a clean criminal record.
  • Health certificate from an authorized doctor, stating that you are fit to travel and stay in the US.

Other than the above-mentioned documents, students must also remember that the university and the program that they are getting enrolled in must be approved by the US government’s Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP). SEVP accreditation is mandatory for enrolling in SEVIS. Moreover, only an SEVP certified university can provide you with all the necessary documents required for the application of US student visa.


Having lived in 3+ countries, worked for companies small and big in USA, Middle East & India, I have a lot of stories to share about international travel, immigration and living as an NRI in the US. Add me on WhatsApp if you have any queries (+001-408-489-4785)