The US remains a popular choice for higher education among students globally. Applying for a college and selecting one in the US is an uphill task. Every year, around 100,000 students apply for a US visa from India.
Before reaching the visa application stage, you have gone through a long journey: giving tests, selecting colleges, preparing your applications, getting an admit, or planning for your finances. You have made your way through all challenges.
This article will discuss the details of US study visas for students to help students realize their studies in the USA dream. It is paramount that you know the steps to be followed before applying for a US Student Visa. For more information on how to apply, check out our other article on US Student Visa application.
There are mainly three types of US Visas for students depending upon the course you intend to pursue: F visa, M visa, and J Visa. The F visa is for universities and colleges, and the M visa is for vocational courses. We will discuss these visas in further detail.
Different types of U.S. Student Visas
Three types of student visas:-
It is one of the most common and most popular visas of all. This type of visa is mainly for students looking to pursue a full-time course in the U.S. (18+ hours per week). As an F-1 visa holder, you can pursue any course, i.e., diploma, bachelor's, master's, Ph.D., and can also work part-time for 20 hours every week. Under the optional practical training program, you can likewise work for a year with an F-1 Visa after securing your degree. However, you can extend it for another year. Keep yourself updated with F1 student visa news and keep track of your F1 Visa Status.
M-1 student visa
Mainly for the students who wish to pursue a vocational course from a non-academic institution in the US These courses include culinary expressions, media creation, clinical help, cosmetology, and other specialized courses. The second-highest number of student visas issued are M1 visas. There is a provision of a 12-month stay, or till the time the course is ongoing. However, you can extend your stay tenure by applying to the US citizenship and immigration service department. However, you cannot work anywhere in the U.S. with your M-1 visa.
J-1 student visa
The J-1 student visa includes internships, international visitor programs, or other short-term programs. It is a six-month scholars visa for any understudy, visiting researcher, or instructor looking for work and study-based guest programs in the US You can stay in the US on a J-1 visa till your exchange program is completed.
Once you have completed your studies and got a job in the US, you can convert your Student visa to a professional working visa (H1B).
When to apply for a U.S. student visa?
You should apply for a US Visa for Student as soon as you receive your I-20 form from the university you are taking admission to. Usually, it takes 5-6 weeks to complete the visa process (including receiving your visa). The F-1 visa is given 120 days before the beginning of your course. Be that as it may, you won't be permitted to enter the US until 30 days before the beginning date of your course. So you should plan your future course of action accordingly.
US Visa application process
There are seven steps in the visa application process:-
Step 1. Applying for admission to US Universities
Apply for admission as early as possible to get your confirmation soon. After getting selected by a college or university, only you should apply for a visa. It is advised that you should apply for SEVP (Student and Exchange Visitor Program) recognized colleges.
Step 2. Receiving your I-20 form
Once any university in the US has selected you, they will mail you the I-20 form. The form will have the university's name and address, with the SEVIS (Student and Exchange visitor information system) I.D.
Step 3. Payment of SEVIS fees
Paying the SEVIS fee is the next important step before applying for the visa. This fee is around $200 and can be paid using your credit card.
Step 4. Fill out the visa application form
Once you have paid your SEVIS fees, you should fill out the DS-160 form: a non-immigrant visa application form. The following are the documents needed at the time of the interview:-
- Passport size photo
- I-20 form details
- Travel schedule, in case you have any travel plans
- CV and Resume
- Any travel history (any U.S. visit)
- 10+2 mark sheet
- Loan sanction statements
- Scholarship letter
- Salary slip of parents
- Fixed deposit receipts by bank
- Passbook details
- Verification of purpose to leave the U.S. after your program has finished.
- Proof of assets to oversee schooling, living, and travel costs.
Getting a US student visa by showing false material or misrepresentation may result in the refusal of a visa or your entry into the United States. All the documents mentioned above will come into play while filling out an application form. Take a printout of the confirmation page once you have filled the form successfully.
Step 5. Scheduling of Interview
You have to schedule an interview with your nearest US embassy. You can book your appointment by telephone or by visiting the US embassy. Select your appointment time as per your convenience.
Step 6. Payment of visa application fees
You have to pay $160 (as of 2021). After paying the required payment, you will get an opportunity to face an interview. You can contact the US embassy to know more about the fees.
Step 7. In-Person interview
It is one of the most crucial aspects of the application process. It will decide whether you are eligible for a visa or not. You have to prepare very well. You can likewise look at a couple of interviews that are accessible on the web.
The steps mentioned above are easy and should be followed diligently.
What to do if your US visa is rejected?
The US denies a vast number of visa applications consistently, from the absence of planning to genuine appalling violations concerning the candidate. In the unfortunate event of your visa application being rejected, there is no need to worry. Numerous reasons lead to visa rejection. The embassy might furnish you with the reason behind the dismissal. Some of the primary reasons are:-
- Failure to provide adequate evidence of assets to finance your schooling.
- You failed to bring on the record all the necessary reports in the meeting, or you gave bogus documentation.
- You were unable to pass the security check.
- You missed the visa meeting or were late for the visa meeting.
- On the off chance that you are exceptionally reluctant about the appropriate responses and don't answer sensibly.
In case your application gets rejected, there is no fee refund. But you can avoid all the mistakes mentioned above to ensure that your visa doesn't get rejected. Always bring all the required documents demanded by the embassy, and don't be nervous while talking to the interview officials.
COVID-19's impact on the process
US Immigration and Customs Enforcement department has permitted US Universities to send Forms I-20 to students during the pandemic via email. The email address can belong to either their parent or a legal guardian for minor students.
The emailed Form I-20 is now being considered officially to apply for the visa by the US embassy. As a result, you can hold on to your shipping fees.
You must pay your I-901 fees to get the visa appointment at the earliest by applying to the U.S. embassies.
Can you convert your F1 student visa to a Green Card?
Planning for your life after graduation is essential. You should apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT), a temporary employment permit directly related to your primary study area. OPT is given to international students to demonstrate to potential employers that they have the skills. Most employers want to see how you work and your skills for a few months before hiring you full-time and sponsoring your work visa (H1B visa).
H1B visa (general)
A non-immigrant visa program permits US managers to employ individuals who possess practical and theoretical knowledge with an undergraduate degree.
Numerous global students on F1 visas looking to move from an undergraduate or graduate program desire to change their visa status from F1 to H1B. Before applying for H1B, many students apply for OPT, giving them enough time to get an employer to sponsor their H1B visa. Follow the H1b Visa Process properly to avoid any inconvenience. Keep checking H1B visa news frequently.
H1B visa holders enjoy the following benefits :
- They can work lawfully in the USA for 3 to 6 years.
- They will gain practical and hypothetical experience related to their field of interest.
- They can bring their mate and family members to the U.S. on an H4 visa.
- Travel all through the USA as long as the legitimate H1B status is kept up.
- One can apply for perpetual residency in the USA, otherwise called a green card.
A Green Card, or Permanent Resident Card (P.R.), is a permanent renewable visa for the USA. It gives you a permanent resident's status and legal rights to work in the USA. After obtaining a green card, you may apply for US citizenship after a few years of staying in the USA.
After completing their program, many students studying in the US look for P.R. or a long-term visa. For that, you must secure a job, and your employer will assist you in getting a US work visa. The Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, also known as Green Card Lottery, allots 55,000 immigrant visas (green cards) to foreign nationals from October to November. Immigrant visas are made available to people from countries with low immigration rates to the US via the green card lottery.
If you are amongst the students who have effectively gotten admission into your dream college, applying for a Student Visa is the next significant step to fulfilling your dream to study in the US It is not tough to secure a US Visa for students, but you should know the application process altogether to avoid any mistakes.
We hope this article has addressed all your questions about the U.S. visa application process. It is indeed a long cycle; however, if you are diligent and have complete faith in your potential, it will be easy to qualify for the visa process. It is the last obstacle before you fly out to your college and start your next part. So strive to make your future bright. You have to keep in mind the type of visa you wish to apply for. It is essential to mention that the green card process can be extraordinarily long. However, if you intend to carry on with your professional life in the United States, a green card is your best answer for acquiring permanent resident status.