Understanding the F1 Student Visa Process For the US from India
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Understanding the F1 Student Visa Process For the US from India


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Today, the US is considered one of the top choices for Indian students to pursue their academic careers. If you are aiming to get admission to a top university in the US, understanding the student visa process for the US from India can help make your transition to the US easier. This process can seem tricky and complicated for the ones who are new to this and have just started their journey.

For young students aiming to reach their goals and dreams, it can be overwhelming at first. The process is complicated without any guidance, supervision, or mentorship.

However, this blog from Zolve will answer all your questions on how to get a student visa for USA from India including the types of student visas, expenses, documents needed, and much more.

What are the types of US student visas?

The US offers 3 types of visas for Indian students:

  1. F1 visa- The most common type of visa applied by foreign students is the F1 visa. An F1 visa is a non-immigrant visa that is applicable for students who wish to pursue their academic careers in the US. This visa is eligible for those students who are studying for more than 18 hours a week. It includes almost all undergraduate courses, elementary schools, high schools as well as a few post-graduate courses like MBA and MS. For this visa type, your spouse or children can accompany you if they hold an F2 visa. However, they are not allowed to work there, but they can certainly enroll themselves in the US student visa process.
  2. J1 Exchange visa- The J1 Exchange Visitor visa is for students who are pursuing a short-term program or an exchange program. This visa allows an individual to work and/or study in a US university for a short period of time. An example could be the University of Cincinnati taking up a few students from an Indian university. Therefore those students will travel to the US via a J1 Exchange Visa. For this visa type, your spouse or children can accompany you with a J2 Visa and are allowed to work in the US if permission is granted in advance. The student visa process for the US from India for exchange students is comparatively easier with this type of visa since the universities help throughout the process and it is easier to get approval for the same.
  3. M1 Vocational visa/ Non-Academic Student visa- The M1 Vocational visa is not much in demand for Indian students. This type of visa is used most commonly by vocational and technical schools or colleges. The M1 US student visa process is similar to the F1 visa. The only difference would be that the M1 visa holds a time stamp. Therefore, a student cannot overstay their visit.

Now you know the types of US student visas and the process that follows for each of them.

Expenses for US Student Visa

There are 2 generic costs that are incurred for a US student visa process (includes F1 visa requirements and costs):

  1. The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) fee- The SEVIS fee is the first and foremost step for an Indian student before applying for a US student visa. This is a web-based application format that is followed by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). This fee and system are solely maintained for the US government to keep track of student records in the country.
  2. MRF Application fee- This is the general visa application fee that is to be paid by students for the process.

Documents needed for the F1 student visa application

The documents that you need for the visa process for the US from India are as follows:

  • A passport with at least 6 months validity beyond your actual stay
  • A copy of the DS-160 application form
  • Receipt of payment for the SEVIS fee
  • Interview letter- original and a copy
  • A copy of college provided I-20 form
  • 3 years of bank statements proving you have the funds to pay at least a year of college fees (Mostly for younger students, it can be of their parents/guardian)
  • Payslips
  • Original and a copy of your marksheet or provisional certificate from your previous school/college
  • Make sure to carry the original and copy of ll examination mark sheets needed for the visa process from the US from India including:
  • SAT
  • 10th-grade mark sheet
  • 12th-grade mark sheet or provisional certificate from your school
  • Supportive examination records/results

Financial documents needed for the student visa for US from India

The student will need to share their own or their parents’ bank statements that provide financial proof that they will have the funds to pay for their first-year college expenses. Apart from that, to get the F1 visa, you will need to share:

  • Form 16 that includes tax returns filed for the last 3 financial years
  • The bank statement and passbook copy of the last 3 financial years
  • Original salary slips and letters of employment
  • Statement from a certified chartered accountant
  • Scholarship letter (if applied/received)
  • The loan approval letter by the bank and/or the concerned authority

How to get a student visa for USA from India

The steps that you need to follow are mentioned below:

  1. In the beginning, you will have to get the I-20 form from the college that you are planning to study in. You may complete the SEVIS payment anytime during the process. However, it is advised to make the payments before you start the application since it may be time-consuming
  2. Once you complete the I-20 form and the SEVIS payment, you will get a receipt of the payment. After which you can apply online for the DS-160 visa
  3. Print the DS-160 application form and fill in all the details in it. Make sure to take it for the interview round
  4. Pay the visa application fee online or with the help of your respective bank account
  5. Once these payments are completed, book a biometric appointment and an interview appointment
  6. For the biometric appointment, you need to be present in person in order to get your photograph and fingerprint verified
  7. During the interview round, the interviewer may ask various questions on your college, reasons to study in the US, finances, and if you plan on staying or coming back. If they are satisfied with your answers then they will provide you with the F1 visa

A tip would be to be humble and at the same time confident in your answers and your intent of studying and life ahead.

Please note, to follow the F1 visa process for the US from India properly, you need to be ready with the visa at least 120 days before the commencement date of your college. Nevertheless, you will only be allowed to enter the US 30 days prior to the beginning of your course.
And, there you have it! Follow these simple yet efficient steps to further your dream of studying in the United States of America. To know more about visas, opening a bank account in the US, applying for a credit card in the US and passport related queries, check out Zolve now!