USA Student Visa

USA Student Visa

The USA has emerged as the dream destination for higher studies and has continued to retain that position for quite some time now. Having an excellent line of Ivy League colleges and other state universities providing class-apart STEM courses, American universities are the most coveted institutions for students dreaming to have a degree from abroad. However, in order to study in the USA, you need to submit a list of documents, including, but not restricted to SOP, LORs, transcripts, and Visa. Obtaining a USA Student Visa may seem difficult and a complicated process. So, to provide clarity, here is a blog that elucidates upon the USA Visa application process and other essential details to pave your way for holistic education in the States! 

Latest News: USA Student Visa 2021

  • Because of COVID-19, the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement department has allowed US universities to electronically deliver Forms I-20 to students using their SEVIS email addresses. Minor pupils’ email addresses may be those of their parents or legal guardians.
  • US embassy has strongly recommended all the applicants start applying for a student visa. USA issued travel exemption for all Indian students after the ban by Donal trump was lifted by the Biden-Harris-led US administration. Indian students that are admitted in the Fall semester 2021 and have F -1 and F-2  type of USA study visas are eligible for travel to the USA.
  • While appointment slots for the student visa to the United States from India opened on June 14, there is now a rush to obtain the F-1 visa in time for the Fall 2021 academic session. New spaces are being introduced from July onwards, which is great news for students.

“Under the current Presidential Proclamation, student visa holders are able to enter the United States if their classes start on or after 1 August 2021. We are unfortunately unable to approve exceptions for F visa holders with a program start date before 1 August 2021” –  US Embassy in India 

Types of USA Student Visa

USA Student Visa is mandatory for nationals of any country aspiring to study in the States. Students will generally need a student F or M visa for a full course of study, whether it’s a bachelor’s, master’s, or research. The other types of Visas like Visitor (B) or Visa Waiver Program are not applicable for students to study full-time in the U.S. These two Visas are mainly for shorter periods of study or a non-credited offer of study. Tabulated below are the different USA student visa types and their respective application. 

USA Student Visa Types Applicable For
F1 Student Visa  An F1 visa is required for students applying to programs that require more than 18 hours of study per week. This includes all undergraduate and graduate programs such as MS, MBA, and so on.
F2 Student Dependent Visa  The student-dependent visa is referred to as the F2 Visa. The F2 visa is a non-immigrant dependent visa that allows immediate family members of F1 student visa holders to visit the United States. The spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 are considered dependents.
J1 Exchange Visitor Visa The J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa is intended for students, visiting researchers, or lecturers who are participating in an exchange program. Fulbright scholars and many students on short-term study abroad programs from Indian institutions, for example, will enter the United States on a J-1 visa.
J-2 Visa  The J2 visa is a visa issued by the US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). It is a special visa for J1 visa holders’ wives and dependents. These people may later accompany or join a J1 visa holder in the United States.
M-1 Vocational/ Non-Academic Student Visa The M1 visa is a sort of student visa that is only available to students attending vocational and technical schools. While the application procedure for the F1 visa and the M-1 visa is identical, the M1 visas are time-stamped upon entry and students cannot overstay their visit.
M-2 Visa  The M-2 nonimmigrant visa allows a valid M-1 student visa holder’s dependent spouse and children under the age of 21 to enter the United States.

USA Student Visa: Application Process

Be it for pursuing STEM courses in the USA or for other degree programs, you have to apply for a student visa. Though the process can vary from one country to another, here are the common steps to follow in order to apply for a USA student Visa:

Step 1: Collect Documents

The very first step to applying for a USA student Visa is to collect essential documents like scorecards of English proficiency tests [TOEFL or IELTS] and that of SAT exam/ACT.  The score requirement varies for each college or university and you should check it with them before attempting the test. 

Step 2: Apply to a SEVP Approved Academic Institute

The next step is to get your clearance from a SEVP-approved school in the United States. After your acceptance by the school, you will have to pay the SEVIS I-901 fee, following which, the school will issue Form I-20.  After filling up the form duly, you must schedule an interview with your nearest U.S. Consulate or Embassy.  Ensure to complete the online application form of the USA student Visa after payment of the required fee and carry a copy of the confirmation on the interview day. 

Step 3: Prepare for the USA Student Visa Interview 

  • Always remember the interview process may be lengthy but it’s not rocket science. You have to be careful not to miss any steps and be extra careful with documents. There is a range of interview questions that you will be required to answer. Prepare beforehand for the common interview questions for a US visa.
  • Carry a valid passport whose validity must be six months beyond your actual stay in the United States.
  • Carry a print out of Form I-20 duly signed by you and the school you are applying to.

Documents Required

At the time you are applying for a student visa for the USA, here is the list of documents you will require:

  • A valid passport
  • SEVP approved Acceptance
  • Form I-20
  • SEVIS application fee recipt
  • Form DS-160 confirmation page
  • Non-Immigrant visa application
  • Passport size photograph
  • Official academic transcripts
  • Bank Statements
  • Scholarship Letter (If applicable)
  • Pay/salary slips
  • Score sheet of exams like TOEFL, GMAT, IELTS, etc.

Top Universities in USA

The USA is home to Ivy League institutions and other prestigious universities. Students from across the globe want to be a part of the top institution of the USA offering management to STEM courses. Here are the top 10 universities in USA :

Top Universities to Study in USA QS World University Rankings 2022
Massachusetts Institute of Technology  1
Stanford University  =3
Harvard University 5
California Institute of Technology 6
The University of Chicago 10
University of Pennsylvania 13
Yale University  =14
Columbia University  19
Princeton University  20
Cornell University 21

USA Student Visa without IELTS

One of the biggest tasks when planning to study abroad is to get the required scores in English proficiency exams such as IELTS, TOFEL, PTE. What if you can be a part of American universities without these? The English proficiency exams are mandatory requirements to be fulfilled by every applicant planning to study in the USA. This eligibility has been lifted by few universities in the USA, this means students can apply at the universities in the USA without IELTS. The universities include:

Cost of Study Visa

The cost of a USA study visa depends on various factors. The type of student visa, application fee and SEVIS fees, and course you have applied for. The SEVIS fee is at present at $350 (INR 26,256) The validity of the application fee is of one year that is nonrefundable. G-1, G-2, G-3, G-7  don’t have to pay the SEVIS fees. The USA study visa of F, J, and M application fee is $160 (INR 11520). Here is the breakdown of different types of USA Student Visas:

Type of Fee F1 Visa  J1 Visa  M1 Visa 
SEVIS Fee (in USD) 350 220 350
MRV Application Fee/ Visa Application Fee (in USD) 160 160 160

Acceptance Rate 2021

A USA student visa is not that easy to get. Comparing the acceptance rate with other countries is not easy. The acceptance rate of a USA study visa is only 85%. According to the several surveys conducted, USA visa is the most applied visa by students across the world. USA student visa is declined by the authorities on various grounds such as incomplete documents, not valid proof of financial resources, or not being able to crack the USA student visa interview.

Upcoming Intakes in the USA

In the United States, universities and colleges have three intakes. Students can select their period of study from three primary flexible intakes: Spring, Fall, and Summer.

  • Intake 1 (Fall Semester): It commences in August/September and is the major intake.
  • Intake 2 (Spring Semester): It commences in January/February intake is also available.
  • Intake 3 (Summer Semester): It commences in May/June and is available for selected Courses.

Things to Note

Apart from the aforementioned application steps and the documents required, here are some essential details which you must keep in mind while applying for a USA student visa.

  • All your academic transcripts must be in order starting from your last or recently received to the very first one.
  • Furthermore, proper financial documents to prove that you can sustain your stay and study in the U.S have to be provided.
  • If you have been granted a scholarship then documents relating to that should also be submitted.
  • The application fee of the USA student visa is $160.
  • It generally takes up to 120 days to obtain a USA Student Visa.

Important USA Student Visa Interview Questions

The Visa officer may ask you a range of questions to test your preparedness to stay in a new country and before granting you a USA student visa. You should be prepared to answers basic questions such as – 

  1. Have you ever been to the USA?
  2. Do you have any relatives living there?
  3. Where did you learn about student visa in the United States?
  4. Which school are you going to?
  5. What is your course of study?
  6. How are you financing yourself? Do you have a scholarship?
  7. What is your mode of accommodation in the USA?
  8. How are you paying for your accommodation and education?
  9. Why do you want to go to the USA for studies?
  10. How will this degree help you further?
  11. What do you plan to do after receiving a degree from the U.S university?  

Tips for USA Visa Interview

One of the difficult tasks for a USA visa is to crack the interview round. Here are some tips for a USA visa interview:

  • Take all necessary documents required and ensure they are all complete.
  • Listen to all the questions carefully and then answer.
  • In case of disagreement, do not argue with the authorities
  • Always dress in neat and formal attire.
  • You can ask the interviewee to rephrase or repeat the question if you didn’t understand the question the first time.
  • Arrange all your documents in the correct order and format.


Is it easy to get a USA student visa?

Obtaining a visa to study in the United States takes time, but it may be a surprisingly simple process. While the application procedure for an international student or exchange guest visa might be complicated, hundreds of thousands of students each year are able to satisfy the visa criteria.

How long is a student visa valid in the US?

On a student’s I-94 card, it is generally “Duration of Status” or “D/S,” which means that you may remain in the United States as long as you are enrolled in school to complete your academic program. After the program concludes, you will have 60 days to leave the United States. Follow this link if you need to renew your F1 student visa.

Can I work on a student visa in the USA?

Yes, overseas students can work in the United States while studying, although there are certain limits. International students with F-1 and M-1 visas are permitted to work on campus and in certain training programs. During their first academic year, students are not permitted to work off-campus.

How much bank balance is required for F1 visa?

You must demonstrate one-year funding for whatever duration course you are taking. One year of tuition plus one year of living expenses.

Who can sponsor me to study in USA?

People who can sponsor your education in USA are:
Mix of Both
Banks/Bank Loans
Scholarships and more.

Relatable Reads

We, at Leverage Edu, are here to make the visa application process much easier. Along with the USA student visa, our experts will also help you complete the admission formalities of your choice of university and will also guide you in writing an SOP that sets your candidature apart from a pool of candidates!

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