USA Student Visa

Many people, especially from India consider pursuing their higher education in the United States. Not only does it offer higher degrees of specialization but also improves job aspects both within and outside the country. To Study in the US one requires a Student Visa. The below article outlines the various aspects involved in the application for a US student visa.


  • First and foremost, before applying for a student visa, the applicant needs to have the letter of acceptance or approval from their respective school. If an applicant can pass the qualifying barriers for a school, the educational institution will provide the necessary documentation that is required at the time of Visa application
  • Before applying for a student visa application, the candidate must also apply and be selected by an SEVP school. The list of SEVP approved schools can be found on the Department of State Education USA website. Upon acceptance, the applicant is enrolled into the SEVIS program or Student and exchange visitor information system. The applicant must pay the SEVIS fee and will be presented a form I-20 which needs to be submitted to the consular at the time of visa interview

The course of study selected by the applicant will decide the type of student visa required. Below are the various categories of study available along with their corresponding visa

  • If the applicant is planning to attend either of the following - Private Elementary School, High School, Conservatory, Seminary, College or University, or any other academic institution which includes a language training program then the type of Visa required is F-1
  • If the applicant is planning to attend a vocational or other recognized non-educational institutions other than a program involving language training the type of visa required is M-1
  • If the study is for a short period during a recreational visit or is a recreational study that does not provide a certificate or credit then students can use a Visitor visa or B-1 visa

Applying for the United State Student Visa

  • The order of steps involved may change from embassy to embassy. Below are the broad guidelines to follow when applying for a student visa
  • The applicant must fill out the Non-immigrant visa form DS-160 and print out the form
  • The applicant must upload regulation sized photographs and hold a few copies with them when attending the interview
  • Attend the scheduled interview. Generally applicants below the age of 13 and above the age of 80 do not require an interview. Ages 14 to 79 are required to attend this interview
  • Interviews should be scheduled at the corresponding embassy. Wait times may depend on the type of visa applied and the season. One should schedule an interview early than cut it close to school admission time.
  • New F-1 and M-1 student visas are issued up to 120 days ahead of start date of the study course but one cannot enter the United States 30 days before start date
  • Continuing students can enter at any time provided they have maintained student status and have their records in SEVIS up to date
  • A Non-refundable visa application fee needs to be paid
  • If visa is issued, a visa issuance fee needs to be paid

Basic documents required for US Student Visa

  • Applicant needs to have a passport that is valid for travel to the United States with a validity of at least six months beyond your period of stay in the United States.
  • The confirmation page of the Non-immigrant visa application form DS-160
  • If application fee is to be paid prior to the interview, then the fee receipt
  • Regulation sized photographs
  • Form I-20 sent by the school for F-1 and M-1 visas. These forms need to be signed both by the school and the individual
  • Additional documents may be required which consist of transcripts or diplomas or certificates from schools attended by the applicant
  • Standardized test scores required by the US school
  • Proof to cover educational, living and other costs
  • Intent to depart the country and return to resident country upon the completion of the course

Additional Information to Keep in Mind

  • Any student that has a student visa but has not entered the United States in five months or more need to reapply for a visa
  • Spouses or dependants who wish to reside alongside the student need to apply for separate individual F-2 or M-2 visas. The school should provide them separate a Form i-20 and the applicant should show their F-1 or M-1 visas to prove relationship. No SEVIS fee payment is required.
  • A valid US visa in an expired passport is still valid as long as the visa has not been revoked or cancelled
  • One can apply for change of status from current Non-immigrant visa to another Non-immigrant category. This does not require a new visa if the visa is valid. If the visa will expire within the duration of status change, one has to apply for a new visa at their US embassy or consulate

Get Student Visa For Other Countries


News about USA Student Visa

  • US is making special arrangements for Indian student visas

    From next week, a large number of student visa appointments will be rolled out, with more Dropbox appointments for students already in the United States (US). At the Mumbai consulate, the mission recently employed five extra visa officers.

    They intend to handle two-thirds of their pre-Covid visa capacity this year, with the goal of reaching 100% by the end of 2023. They will open up 15,000 places for students with previous refusals between 15 August and 1 September. These appointments are also available to students who receive their I-20s later than planned.

    18 May 2022

  • Tech issues are blocking the road to US student visas for Indian hopefuls

    Indian students looking to book an appointment for getting a visa to US are facing technical glitches during the slot booking process. A student who has secured admission to one of the American Universities got her slot booked for February 2022, when the course is supposed to commence in August 2021. US authorities opened up the slots for visa appointments on 14 June. However, there has been numerous complaints regarding the failure to get the appointments booked. Nearly 2 lakh Indian students are planning to study in America each year.

    The US Embassy asked the students not to refresh the page too many times and promised that the slots will be given to the students as they are working to resolve the technical issue as soon as possible.

    29 June 2021

  • There are extra slots for July U.S. student visas

    The U.S. Consulate has now assured students that additional July appointments will be available. All students who were unable to get their visa slots are now applying under other categories. The candidates are in a rush to get their visa appointments and processing visas. For candidates who need have to start their college in Fall, they are trying to reach U.S. by early August.

    22 June 2021

  • Indian second largest country to send foreign students in the US

    US Consul General, Craig Hall stated that India is the second highest sender of foreign students to the United States (US). The US is the top destination for foreign students worldwide. Around 186,000 Indian students are currently studying in the US, next only to China. The number of Indian students in the US has more than doubled in the last 10 years. As per the Open Doors Report of 2017, Indians comprised approximately 17% of the total number of international students. There has been a 86% increase in the number of Indian students studying in the United States, since past five years. More than 4,000 Indian students took the visa interviews on the Student Visa Day of which 10 students were formally given visas.

    14 June 2018

  • US education visas issued to Indian students grew by 12% in 2017

    Even though there has been diplomatic tensions and growing uncertainty over the visa and immigration policy of the United States, there has an increase in US visas issued to Indian students for 2017. As per a report, as many as 1.86 lakh students from India were granted US educational visa in 2017. The figure saw an increase of 12% as compared to the previous year. It needs to be mentioned that India takes the second position when it comes to the total number of students visiting the US for education purposes.

    12 June 2018

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