A (F or M) Student Visa is required for foreign nationals to study in the United States. Foreign nationals will not be able to study in the US if they have entered through the visitor (B) visa or through the VWP (Visa Waiver Program). You can however undertake recreational studies on a tourist visa.
Types of Student Visa in USA
Travelling as a student, one can apply for one of the three visa options available. The types of visa are:
M1 Visa: M1 visa is issued to students who will attend a vocational non-academic school. M-1 visa holders (for technical and vocational programs) are not allowed to work during the course of their studies. The M-1 student visa applicants must provide evidence that sufficient funds are available for paying all tuition and living costs for the entire period of intended stay.
J1 Visa: J1 Visa is a non-immigrant visa for candidates who will be participating in a work and study-based exchange visitor program or have been funded through a scholarship. To be qualified for a J-1 visa, the participant must be proficient in the English language and have proper medical insurance. The participant receives a DS-2019 form from his/her sponsoring organization or US government agency, which is essential to apply for a J-1 visa.
F1 Visa: F-1 visas being the most common type are issued to students or researchers who wish to study or conduct research at an accredited USA college, high school, or university. In order to be qualified for an F-1 visa, students must be accepted by a recognized college or university as a full-time student and have proof of sufficient financial support during their stay in the USA. F-1 status allows students to work part-time, on-campus employment (fewer than 20 hours per week). Students are expected to complete their studies by the expiration
Eligibility Requirement For USA Study Visa
According to the application procedure of US universities, a student must have the following fundamental papers in order to obtain a US student visa.
Institution certification – The college or the university where you plan to study needs to be approved by SEVP Immigration & Customs Enforcement.
Full-time enrollment – You must be enrolled as a full-time student at the institution while your academic term is in session.
English language proficiency – You must meet the required English language proficiency score of the institution you are attending or be enrolled in courses that will help you improve your English proficiency.
Sufficient funding – You must prove you have sufficient funds available to finance your studies and living expenses while in the US.
Valid passport – Your passport should be valid for US travel for at least six months after your program completion date.
Home country residency – You are required to have a residence in your home country to return to following the completion of your degree.
Other Eligibility Requirements
- Age of the student must be more than 18 years.
- During their academic terms, students can work on-campus up to 20 hr per week or less and full-time during the academic break periods including the summertime.
- The applicant must be currently in legal status and have been registered as a student on an F-1 student visa in the US for at least one academic year for off-campus employment.
Documents Required for US Student Visa
Process of Obtaining a Student Visa in the United States: A student visa necessitates the carrying of many more papers than a tourist visa. You’ll need the required paperwork, as well as financial and academic records to back them up. Before heading to the consulate for the visa interview, be sure you read this checklist.
- A valid passport with a validity date at least six months beyond your period of stay.
- A printed copy of DS-160, the online application form
- SEVIS Fee Receipt
- Interview appointment letter (original and copy)
- Form I-20 sent by the college (where you are going to study)
- Visa fees payment confirmation receipt
- Bank statement for at least one year showing that you have enough assets to pay for the first year (could be of parent or guardian)
- Pay/Salary slips
- Original mark sheets/Provisional Certificates
- Score sheet of exams like TOEFL, GMAT, IELTS, etc.
|Fee Type||Cost in USD||Equivalent Cost in INR|
|Non-petition based non immigrant visa||$160||11,900|
|Petition based visa||$190||14,132|
|Border Crossing Card Fees||$160||11,900|
|SEVIS Fee for F visa applicants||$350||26,000|
|SEVIS Fee for M visa applicants||$350||26,000|
|SEVIS Fee for J visa applicants||$220||16,360|
|SEVIS Fee for special J visa categories||$35||2,600|
|SEVIS Fee for Government visitor||Free of cost||Free of cost|
USA Student Visa Application Process
Be accepted onto an educational program: Your chosen institution’s international student office will send you an I-20 form. This form needs to be kept safe, as you’ll need it for your visa interview.
Register for SEVIS and pay the fee ($350): This means the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System need to have your fee before the DS-160 is completed.
Complete and pay for an online non-immigrant visa application (DS-160 – $160): You’ll also need to upload a photo of yourself that meets specific requirements, and provide any other requested documents.
Schedule an appointment for a visa interview: This needs to be done at the U.S Embassy or Consulate in the country where you live. At this interview you will be questioned on things such as previous test scores and your finances.
Receive a decision: At your interview you should receive a decision on your application.
US visas for dependents (F2)
- If you have any family or children that will need to accompany you during your study time in the US, they will have to apply and be approved for an F2 visa.
- Contact your chosen university before they issue your I-20, and inform them of any children under 21 or a spouse that will be joining you in the US. You will then be sent their I-20 forms along with your own I-20.
- Your university may need proof that you can support yourself as well as any dependents before sending you the paperwork.