USA Student Visa : Complete Guide to F1 Visa


USA continues to top the list of dream study destinations for students looking for better curricula and academic opportunities. However, once you have gone through the meticulous process of applying to your desired program and have received an offer from your dream university, you still have the last hurdle to cross, i.e. obtain your student visa USA.

India continues to be one of the countries that enjoy the maximum number of student visa USA approvals; with the recent updates in the student visa USA approval process, this number could go up. The acceptance rate for a USA study visa stands at approximately 85%, with reasons for rejection frequently cited as incomplete documents, lack of financial proof, no motivation to return to India, etc.

As of March 2023, you can apply for a student visa USA as early as a year before the proposed date of joining classes in the USA. Moreover, if you have a STEM F1 visa USA, but your Form I-765 is pending, you can still apply for premium work permit processing. As promising as these updates may sound, applying for and getting approval for a student visa USA is still an extremely thorough and arduous process.

To begin with, let us understand the types of student visa USA:


F1 Student VISA USA

This applies to students applying for full-term programs in the USA. So if your study program, whether a UG, MS, MBA or whatever type of program, needs you to spend 18 academic hours per week, you will need the F1 student visa USA.


F2 Student Dependent VISA USA

This is a non-immigrant visa type for immediate family members of F1 student visa holders to visit the USA. The spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 are recognized as dependents under this visa clause.


JI Exchange Visitor VISA

If you are a student, a visiting researcher, or a lecturer only intending to partake in an exchange program in the USA, you will have to apply for this visa. For instance, full-bright scholars and students in short-term academic programs can apply for this visa.



If you are the wife or a dependent of a J1 visa holder, you may apply for a J2 visa to join the J1 visa holder in the USA.


M1 Non-Academic Student VISA USA

This is applicable only if you are applying for a vocational training program in the USA. Usually, the process of applying for M1 and F1 visas is similar. However, upon approval, the M1 visas are time-stamped to ensure that you cannot exceed the period of stay allowed by the visa.



This is again a non-immigrant visa to allow the wife and/or dependent of an M1 visa holder to enter the USA.

In this article, we will discuss the USA F1 VISA.


Student VISA USA Cost

Depending on the type of student visa USA, the course that you have applied for, the SEVIS and the application fee, the overall Student VISA USA fees may vary. The SEVIS fee for F1 VISA and M1 VISA now is INR 28,000 or $350, and for J1 VISA is INR 18,000 or 220$. Whether you are applying for F, J, or M types of visas, the application fee is the same at INR 13,000 or $160. However, the validity of this application fee is only for a year and is non-refundable.


Student VISA USA Requirements for Application

To apply for a student visa USA from India, you must present the following documents:

  1. A valid passport
  2. Passport size photograph
  3. SEVP-approved acceptance proof
  4. Form I-20 duly signed by you and your target university
  5. SEVIS application fee receipt
  6. Form DS-160 confirmation page
  7. Non-Immigrant visa application
  8. Official academic transcripts
  9. Bank Statements to show your ability to finance your stay and education in the USA
  10. Scholarship Letter (If applicable)
  11. Pay/salary slips to support your financial declaration
  12. Score sheet of relevant exams like TOEFL, GMAT, IELTS, etc.


Following are the financial documents required to apply for F1 Visa USA:

  1. Tax returns for the past three years (Form 16)
  2. Bank statements/passbook for the past three years
  3. Letters of employment and original pay/salary slips
  4. Statement from certified CA
  5. Scholarship letter (If applicable)
  6. The loan approval letter by the bank/concerned authority


How to Apply for Student VISA USA from India?

The process of applying for a student visa USA may differ from one country to another. However, if you are applying for a student visa USA from India, you will have to follow the following steps:

1. Documents

Ensure that you have collected all the essential documents as mentioned above. You also need to declare your English proficiency tests score (both overall and section scores).

2. Complete the SEVIS formalities

Once you receive your acceptance letter from a SEVP-approved academic institution, pay the SEVIS I-99 fee. Once this fee is submitted, you will receive the Form I-20 from the university. Fill this up and complete the online application for a student visa USA by paying the application fee. You will have to visit the sites for the SEVIS I-901 form and DS-160 Visa application form. Schedule a visa interview with the nearest US Consulate or Embassy and carry a copy of the payment confirmation on the day of the interview.

3. Prepare for the student visa USA interview

It may seem daunting but it is not difficult. The key to ace the interview is to properly answer all the questions and ensure that your answers are convincing. Ensure that you practice well.

Following is a list of the popular questions asked by a visa officer for a USA study visa:

  1. Have you visited the USA before?
  2. Do you have any relatives or acquaintances in the USA?
  3. Where/how did you learn about student visas in the United States?
  4. Which university are you going to?
  5. What is your course of study?
  6. How are you financing your education? Have you bagged any scholarships?
  7. What mode of accommodation have you selected in the USA?
  8. How are you paying for your education plus accommodation?
  9. Why do you want to go to the USA for your higher studies?
  10. How will this degree help you further?
  11. What do you intend to do after receiving a degree from a U.S. university?

Some Tips to Ace the USA Study VISA Interview:

  1. Arrange your documents in order beforehand
  2. Dress in neat and formal attire
  3. Be polite – in case of a disagreement with the authorities, calmly explain your points
  4. If you are unable to understand a question, do not get anxious; ask the authority to reframe the question
  5. Always listen to the question properly at first and then proceed to answer
  6. Be calm, remember you have prepared for it and give it your all
  7. Be prepared to answer your background, including academic, professional, and personal, justify your need to study the chosen program with relevance to your experience and future goals, justify why the USA is the correct destination for you to attain this education and not India or any other countries, justify your reasons for deciding on the particular university, elaborate on your short and long-term career goals, show a realistic plan to return to India, and declare that you have sufficient funds (along with stating the figures) to finance your education, travel, and stay in USA. Ensure that you stress both professional and personal reasons for returning to India after completion of your education in the USA

This entire process for application to getting approval for the USA Study visa will take you around 120 days. Hence, plan your visa application accordingly beforehand so that you can join your classes on time. Moreover, now that you can apply a year ahead, you can at least start with the interview preparation as these activities are time-intensive and if you leave it till the last minute, you will only end up getting anxious and confused in the last-minute rush.

The process of student visa USA approval can be lengthy. It is strictly recommended that you start the process early as arranging the necessary documents, including financial statements and preparing for the visa interview requires careful planning, attention, and time. For more guidance on Student Visa USA, get in touch with our expert advisors at Manya-The Princeton Review.

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How long does it take for USA Study visa approval?

120 days

What is the cost of an F1 Visa application?

The application fee is around $160 and the SEVIS fee is around $350. The visa fee is payable in dollars only.

How can I apply for an F1 visa?

Pay the SEVIS I-99 fee first following which you will get the Form I-20. Fill that up and complete the online visa application by paying the application fees. Next, schedule your visa interview at your nearest US Consulate or Embassy. 

Which visa do I need for full-time study in the USA?

You will need to apply for an F1 student visa.

How tough is getting USA study visa approval?

The usual reasons for visa rejections are incomplete documents, inability to show financial health to support study and stay in the USA, and unconvincing reasons for returning to India. If you prepare well, organize your documents, and take the interview confidently, you can easily get your visa approved.

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