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US Visa Procedure for Indian Students

Doing a Master’s in the US opens up many avenues for students worldwide. They can either opt for a teaching assistantship or earn rewarding opportunities at leading firms worldwide. This is why international students aim to get into many prestigious universities in the USA, including the Ivy Leagues. However, many reckon that the whole process of being accepted to study (and often work) is cumbersome as a student not only needs to be accepted academically but also legally by the Government of the United States.

Indian students wanting to study in the US are required to acquire a visa from the U.S. Embassy. Currently, there are five U.S. Embassies in India, that are located in Mumbai, New Dehli, Kolkata, Hyderabad, and Chennai. Master’s students typically require the F1 visa to pursue a full-time master’s program in the US.

There are several documents that you will need in order to apply for an F1 visa. There would also be a visa interview where you would be asked a few pertinent questions about your course and aspirations.
Below are the documents that you would require to apply for an F1 visa:

1. Form DS –160: This is a non-immigrant form that students studying masters need to fill before the visa interview. After filling up the form online, the confirmation page needs to be printed with the barcode on it. The printed copy needs to be taken to a nearby HDFC bank where the visa application fee of USD 360 needs to be paid. After submitting the fees, two online appointments need to be scheduled; one for the interview at an American embassy and another at a visa application center for submitting biometrics.

2. I – 120 Form: This form is issued by the colleges in the US where you are applying affirming your enrollment. The fee for this form needs to be paid online through the website of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

After the above formalities, you can start applying for your F1 visa interview through the website of VFS. Here you will require the barcode number in the DS – 160 forms and the fee receipt from HDFC bank.

On the day of the visa interview, there are several documents that you need to carry with you. These include your current and previous passports (if any), a recent passport size photo was taken in a white background, VFS appointment letter, DS – 160 confirmation page print-out, receipts of visa application fees, the SEVIS receipt and I –120.

It also needs to be told that you must apply for a visa at least three months before the start of the master’s program. The validity of US F-1 student visa is valid for up to two months after the course duration ends, although you might need to renew it every year during your stay.

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By Joydeep Das, Senior Editor

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