If you have accomplished the mission of securing an admission to the programme of your choice at your dream (or reach or safe) university in the US, you should already be pondering over what to do next.
The next, and let’s say, the final step before setting off on your academic journey is to apply for a Student Visa. There are two types of visas for international students who wish to pursue undergraduate, MS, PhD, or an MBA in the US.
F-1 visa: This visa type is for those international students who wish to pursue courses at universities, colleges, high schools, private elementary schools, seminaries, conservatories, or language training programmes at academic institutions.
M-1 visa: This visa type is for those international students who wish to pursue vocational courses at recognised non-academic organisations.
- Once you get an admission from an educational institution, you will automatically be registered with the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS)
- You will be required to pay the SEVIS I-901 fee of around USD 350
- After the payment of the fees, you will be issued a Form I-20.
- Once you receive the Form I-20, you may apply at the US Consulate or Embassy for your F or M Visa depending on the type of study you are going to pursue
- You will be called for an interview and will be required to present this Form I-20 to the consular officer during your interview
How to Apply for the visa?
- Online Application
- Carefully and thoroughly fill up the Form DS-160, the Online Non-Immigrant Visa Application
- Take a print out of the application form confirmation page which you will have to carry with you on the day of the interview
- Check out the required format for a photo and upload it along with the DS-160
- Visa Application fee
- Non-refundable fee of around USD 160 is to be paid before the interview
- On approval of the visa, you will also be required to pay the ‘visa insurance fee’
- If you fall in the age group of 14 to 79, then you will be, barring few exceptions for renewal, required to attend the interview personally
- Applicants 13 years or younger and 80 years or older are generally not required to attend an interview
- Visa issuance
- For new applicants of F and M visa types, the visa may be issued 120 days before the commencement of the programme. However, they cannot enter the US more than 30 days before the programme start date
- For continuing students who are still enrolled at an SEVP-recognised institution, the F and M visas can be issued at any time and they may enter the US at any time
Documents checklist for F-1 and M-1 visa types:
- A valid passport – the validity of the passport must extend at least 6 months beyond your course duration
- A print out of the Application Form Confirmation Page
- Application fee payment receipt
- Your photo in the format prescribed in the ‘Photograph Requirements’ (Though you would have uploaded one along with the Form DS-160, just carry one in hand)
- Form I-20
- Certificate of Eligibility for Non-Immigrant (F-1) Student Status – for students applying to Academic and Language courses
- Certificate of Eligibility for Non-Immigrant (M-1) Student Status – for students applying to vocational courses
- Few additional documents that may be required are:
- Academic documents – Degrees, Diplomas, Transcripts, and other academic certificates
- Standardised Test Scores – SAT, GRE, GMAT, etc
- A statement of your intent to leave the US after completing the said course
- Financial documents – bank statements, etc.
Student Visa Assistance
Though the process seems simple, it entails some real planning and professional guidance. Reach out to our overseas education consultants who will guide you and help you proceed in an organised manner. They will help you get your documents in order and check all items off the documentation checklist. They will conduct mock interviews to give you a simulative experience and also help you identify your areas of improvement.
So if you are already having an admission in hand, there is no time to waste. Contact our Study Abroad Consultants at 1-800-102-4646 !!!