USA Student Visa: A Brief Guide for Study Abroad Students

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Students from all over the world wish to study in the USA, which is one of the most popular study abroad destinations. Despite the pandemic, the USA has approved 55,000+ student visas for India alone, which has broken all the records.

If you plan to study in America and you are looking for all the necessary information about the USA student visa, then this article is for you. So, let’s dive in.

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1. Confirm admission

Once your university confirms your admission, you will receive an acceptance letter. Unless you receive this, you cannot proceed with the visa application process. The university gets you registered on Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). You will receive either Form I-20 or Form DS-2019, the former is for F (study program more than 18 hours) or M visa type (vocational courses), and the latter is for J visa type (visitors pursuing an exchange program).

2. USA student visa types

F1 student visa: If the duration of the study program is more than 18 hours per week, you can apply for an F1 student visa. All the undergraduate and postgraduate programs are covered under an F1 visa.

J1 exchange visitor visa: As the name suggests, this is exclusively reserved for exchange programs and not for regular courses.

M-1 visa: If you are opting for vocational training or technical programs, then an M-1 visa is for you.

3. Eligibility Criteria

Acceptance letter: Your university should confirm your admission by sharing an acceptance letter with you. Keep this ready for further US student visa application process.

Proof of Funds: When you are studying abroad, you need to have sufficient funds to pay for your university and cover your living expenses, etc. When you apply for an education loan, your education loan provider will provide proof of funds. This document suggests that you have enough funds to live in the USA.

English Proficiency Test: Your English language skills will be gauged based on English Proficiency Test scores. So, take English proficiency tests like IELTS, TOEFL and PTE well in advance to ensure that you have the test score ready when you apply for a USA student visa.

4. SEVIS

The university will get you registered on SEVIS, but you will have to pay the fees. Currently, the SEVIS fee is $350, $220 and $350 for F1, J1 and M1 visas respectively.

5. DS-160 Form – USA student visa application

This is a new non-immigrant visa application form that has to be filled online. Ensure you enter all the details just as they reflect in your passport. Also, proceed with the DS-160 application process only after you have completed the SEVIS registration. You will have to enter your SEVIS ID when applying for the DS-160 Form.

6. List of documents required to apply for a USA student visa
  • Acceptance letter
  • A valid passport
  • SEVIS receipt
  • DS-160 application confirmation
  • Form I-20
  • Visa fees payment receipt
  • English language proficiency test scores
  • Proof of funds
  • Previous academic certificates
  • Two photographs
7. Visa Interview

To avoid the last-minute rush, you can apply 2-3 months before your study program begins. After filling the DS-160 form, connect with the nearest US Embassy to schedule your visa interview. Thoroughly prepare for your visa interview by making a list of questions that may be asked during an interview. Your English language skills, your chosen course & university, entrance exam score, and so on could be some of the questions asked during the USA student visa interview.

Ideally, soon after your visa interview, authorities will inform you if you cleared the interview or not or if they need more documents. An F1 visa will be issued up to 120 days before your university admission date. However, you will be allowed to travel 30 days before your course starts, not earlier.

We, at Avanse, understand that there can lot of education-related costs which can be expensive when you travel abroad. Hence, our education financing solutions cover the holistic cost of education including airfare, tuition fees, equipment cost, accommodation cost, living expenses, and more. So, we hope this helps when you plan to study abroad.

If you have any doubt, we will be glad to assist you. We are just a call away. All the best!

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