Study in USA has always been, and continues to be a dream to every international student willing to study abroad. If you are looking forward to studying in USA, or already have been accepted by University in USA, this US Visa Guide will help you with step-by-step US Visa Application procedure and US Visa Requirements to get a study permit in USA. First of all, the USA Visa information on the classification of Student Visa in USA:
US Visa Types:
There are three type of USA visa for students: F1, J1 and M1. Here is the detailed description of them:
F1 Visa for USA:
F1 Visa for USA allows you study permit in USA in full time academic courses. Any accredited school, college, university, academic institute, seminary, or conservatory in USA must accept you beforehand to apply for F1 visa in USA. Students taking language training programs also come under F1 visa category.
Basic F1 Visa Rules:
You must have been accepted by a University or any type of above-mentioned institutes.
The institute that has accepted you must be approved by SEVP to accept international students in USA. SEVP stands for Students and Exchange Visitor Program.
J1 Visa for USA:
J1 Visa for USA is for the individuals sponsored by the organisation, or chosen by their institutions for exchange program, academic and cultural both. The students and individuals who are part of an exchange program apply for J1 Visa. The visa is only valid until the duration of the exchange program. A short window of grace period is given after the completion of the program to prepare for the departure.
Basic J1 Visa Rules:
Similar to F1 Visa, you must be accepted / sponsored by an institute organisation for the exchange program to get J1 visa in USA.
Maintain enrolment during the full course of the program and maintain health coverage.
M1 Visa for USA;
M1 visa is for the students who are willing to attend courses other than the courses covered in F1 type Visa. These are mostly vocational and non-academic courses on offer in USA institutes.
Basic Rules for M1 Visa:
Must be accepted by a vocational institute or a technical school in the USA authorised to accept international students.
M1 Visas are stamped with a date. Students are allowed to stay in USA as long as their educational program, or OPT (Optional Practical Training) and 30 days after that.
If students do not go through the whole duration of the program, the 30-day grace period is not applicable.
Apply for US Visa:
Here is how to Apply for US Visa:
Once you are accepted, the college / university will send you I-20 form.
It is advisable to pay SEVIS fees before the visa application starts.
After that, apply for online DS-160 form for US visa.
Fill that form and take a printout of confirmation page to take it to interview.
Pay Visa Fees.
Schedule biometrics (a photograph is taken, fingerprints are scanned) and interview appointment.
Interview will consists of questions regarding course, choice of college, and intent to come back to home country. If you clear the interview, the passport will be taken to get the Visa Stamped.
Work Permits on USA Student Visa:
Given below are the details of Student Visas in USA and work permit associated with them:
Mostly, Students cannot work for the first year of their study. The work permit associated with USA Student Visa is normally 20 hours a week during academic session and 40 hours a week in break / holidays. Different US student Visa will have different rules:
F1 Student Visa
No off campus Work Permit for 1st Year
After 1st year, off campus work permit only in sectors related to the study program:
CPT: Curricular Practical Training
OPT: Optional Practical Training
If not a student, can only work for sponsor employer.
Students who are pursuing Scholarship, fellowship, assistantship.
Part time Summer Work / travel exchange Program
If critical financial situation arise.
In any case, permitted hours are 20 hours per week.
M1 Student Visa
No Work Permit during the program
Eligible for Practical training of 1 month for every 4 months of study.
Can work for maximum of six months
Must apply to Designated School Officer for Visa extension to cover Training Period.
USA Student Visa Fees:
There are two types of fees associated with US student Visa:
1. SEVIS Fee
2. Visa Application fees
SEVIS stands for Students and Exchange Visitors Information System. It manages international students and exchange visitors coming to USA under F, M and J visas.
Visa Application Fees include MRV (Machine Readable Visa) fees.
Here is the US Visa Fees:
Currency to be paid in
Mode of Payment
Dollars in Applicable Exchange rate
Credit Card / Demand Draft / Money Order
Visa Application Fees
INR in Applicable Exchange Rate
NEFT / IMPS / By Cash at designated Banks
Documents Required for US Visa:
You will require these basic necessary documents when you apply for Visa:
A valid passport
A Non-Immigrant US Visa Application Form (DS 160)
The Application fee payment receipt
A passport photo
A certificate of eligibility for Non-Immigrant student status (Form I 20)
Academic records (Transcripts and Certificate / Degrees)
Proof of intent to depart from the United States after the course is over.
Proof of financial stability
Along with other documents mentioned above, you are expected to show enough monetary fund proof showing you can cover all the academic, living and other expenses for one year in USA. For that, you will be asked for (Parent’s or Guardian’s where applicable):
Tax returns of past three years
Bank statements of past 3 years and / or fixed deposit proof of parent / guardian.
Pay Slips and Employment Letters if applicable
Statements from a CA
Proof of any received scholarship.
Spouses and children under age of 21 are defined as Dependents. They are granted F2, J2 and M2 Visas.
A spouse with F2 and M2 status cannot enrol in full time academic study but can enrol at vocational studies to pursue hobbies and interests.
They are not allowed to get involved in any type of employment during their stay.
With J2 Visa, you can apply to Department of Homeland Security, US citizenship and Immigration Services for Employment Authorisation Document. The money earned cannot be used to support J1 Visa holder.
US Embassies and consulates in India:
US Embassy in India:
U.S. Embassy New Delhi
New Delhi – 110021
US Consulates in India:
You can get in touch with us, or your nearest American Visa Embassy if you need any information of assistance. Hope this US Visa Guide has cleared the doubts and questions you had about US Visa Process.
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