Students in USA

How to Study in USA with a US Student Visa


(Last Updated On: February 12, 2019)

Did you know that there was a 12% increase in the number of Indian students studying in the US in 2017, as compared to the previous year? More and more students are choosing to study in America due to the high quality of education provided by the Ivy league colleges in the US.

The first step to pursuing your dream of US education is getting admission into a good college, preferably with scholarship. The second step is applying for a student visa.

There are three different types of student visas for the US. You will need to choose the right one to apply for, based on your specific situation.

F1 Student Visa

Candidates applying for a program that needs more than 18 hours of study in a week should apply for an F1 visa. This includes study programs such as undergraduate and graduate courses, including MS and MBA. In fact, children or spouses of F1 visa applicants can accompany the visa holder to the US with a valid F2 visa, says an article on Shiksha Study Abroad

Don't forget to get Travel & Medical Insurance

It’s a great idea to get Travel/Medical insurance when traveling to USA. As medical cost (even for the common cold) can run into hundreds of dollars in the US, it is recommended that you get good medical insurance, before your trip. Good thing is that if you buy it online before your trip, it may be cheaper. Compare & find a good plan here.

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J1 Visa

The J1 visa is an exchange visitor visa for students visiting the US on an exchange program. These programs may include research fellowships, scholarships or training programs of up to 10 months. The spouse and children of J1 visa recipients can visit the US with a valid J2 visa

M1 Visa

The M1 visa is issued to students who wish to visit the US for vocational and technical courses. The process of applying for this visa type is similar to that of the F1 visa. The only difference is that the M1 visa is time stamped and candidates cannot overstay their visa in the US.

The fee for the F1 visa, J1 visa and M1 visa is $200, $180 and $200, respectively.

Documents Required for the F1 Visa

Generally, candidates applying for a student visa need to submit more documents than those applying for a visitor visa. You need to submit mandatory and supporting documents and all your financial and academic certificates. The important documents that you need to bring to the F1 visa interview include:

  • A valid passport.
  • A copy of Form DS-160
  • A copy of the interview appointment letter
  • Form I-20, sent by the university or college
  • A copy of the visa fee payment receipt
  • Bank statements showing that you have sufficient funds to support your study and stay in the US
  • Educational certificates
  • A copy of the scorecards of the IELTS, TOEFL or GMAT exam.

F1 Visa Application Process

The online application process for the F1 student visa is very simple. You need to fill the non-immigrant visa electronic application form, Form DS-160. While submitting this form, you will need to pay the visa fee, for which you will get a confirmation receipt. After this, schedule your biometric appointment at the Visa Application Centre and visa interview appointment at the US embassy. You can see the other details at this website.

At the Visa Application Centre, you need to submit your biometrics, recent passport size photographs and other supporting documents. The final step in the visa application process is the visa interview. If you clear this interview, you will get your student visa.

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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)