F1 Visa Cost for USA from India: A Detailed Breakdown of the Costs for 2024!

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If you dream of studying abroad and the United States is your target destination, then you need to apply for an F1 student visa. The F1 visa is designed for international students who wish to pursue full-time academic programs in the United States. This visa category is classified as a non-immigrant student visa and encompasses a wide range of educational programs leading to degrees, diplomas, or certificates. While applying, you need to bear in mind the F1 visa cost. Eligible candidates can apply for the F1 visa only after receiving confirmation of admission from an accredited US college. Keep reading to know more about the F1 visa cost, its requirements and other details. 

What Does F1 Visa Cost Comprises?

The cost of obtaining an F1 visa for international students studying in the US comprises several mandatory fees:

Mandatory Fees:

  • DS-160 Nonimmigrant Visa Application Fee: $160 – This is the basic application fee paid to the US Department of State for processing your visa application.
  • SEVIS I-901 Fee: $200 – This fee maintains the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), a government database tracking international students and exchange visitors.
  • Biometrics Fee: $85 – This fee covers the cost of collecting your fingerprints and photos for identification purposes.

Additional Potential Costs:

  • Visa Issuance Fee: This fee varies depending on your country of citizenship and can range from $0 to $160. You can check the specific fee for your country on the US Department of State website.
  • Certified Translations: If any of your required documents are not in English, you may need to pay for certified translations.
  • Standardized Tests: Depending on your field of study and university requirements, you may need to take standardized tests like TOEFL or IELTS, which have separate registration fees.

Total Estimated Cost:

The total cost for an F1 visa can range from approximately $445 to $695, depending on the aforementioned factors. It’s always wise to budget slightly higher to account for unforeseen expenses.

Additional Tips:

  • Pay all fees using the designated methods to avoid delays in processing.
  • Keep receipts for all payments as proof of payment.
  • Check the official US Department of State website for the latest fee information and updates.

Also read: What is a Student Visa and How to Apply?

f1 visa cost

SEVIS Fee Exception

There are certain situations where you might be eligible for an exception from paying the SEVIS fee. Here’s a breakdown of the different scenarios:

General Exemptions:

  • Government-sponsored exchange visitors: If your program code on your DS-2019 form starts with G-1, G-2, G-3, or G-7, you are exempt from the fee as your program is sponsored by the US government.
  • Dependents of F-1, M-1, or J-1 visa holders: If you are applying for an F-2, M-2, or J-2 visa as a dependent of an F-1, M-1, or J-1 visa holder, you do not need to pay the SEVIS fee.

Specific Circumstances:

  • Visa Denial: If you paid the SEVIS fee for an F-1 or J-1 visa application and were denied within the past 12 months, you do not need to pay it again when reapplying for the same type of visa within that period.
  • Change of Status Denial: If you applied for a change of status to F, M, or J classification within the US, got denied for a reason other than missing the fee, and reapply within 12 months, you are exempt from the fee.
  • Re-entry after authorized overseas study: If you are an F-1 student who has been absent from the US for more than five months but participated in authorized overseas study related to your program, you may not need to pay the fee upon re-entry. However, this exception requires confirmation from your designated school official (DSO).

Also read: What is a SEVIS Fee?

F1 Visa Requirements 

You can enter the USA on an F1 visa if you meet the criteria mentioned below:  

  1. You are required to have been enrolled in a full-time program at an accredited and recognised university. 
  2. You need to have been enrolled in an academic program, a language-training program, or a vocation program. 
  3. Your previous school should have been approved by the Student and Exchange Visitors Program (SEVP), Immigration & Customs Enforcement. 
  4. You need a satisfactory TOEFL score that demonstrates your proficiency in English or you must have enrolled in a language proficiency course. 
  5. You need to have sufficient funds to support yourself for the entire period of the program. 
  6. You should also possess proof of permanent residence in your home country/abroad, demonstrating you have no intention of settling in the USA.
  7. You need to have a passport which is valid for travel to the USA for at least 6 months beyond your duration of stay.  

Also read: How to Apply for Visa?

Process for Obtaining an F1 Student Visa  

Here are the steps involved in applying for an F1 student visa from India:  

Phase 1: F1 Visa Application Form  

Step 1: Obtain Form I-20 from your university in the USA, which contains your SEVIS ID. 

Step 2: Pay the SEVIS fee of $350, and complete the DS-160 visa form online. 

Step 3: Upload a passport-sized photograph. 

Step 4: Submit the form and print the application confirmation page. 

Step 5: Schedule an interview appointment at the nearest US embassy or consulate. Step 6: Attend the F1 visa interview. 

When your Form I-20 is issued, the following information is recorded in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS): 

  1. Your SEVIS ID number, 
  2. Your intended program of study,
  3. Your program start and end dates,
  4. Cost of attendance at your chosen school,
  5. Your sources of funding, such as scholarships or sponsorships,
  6. Other personal details 

Phase 2: F1 Visa Interview  

For F-1 visa applicants, an interview is generally required, except for certain age 

groups. However, consular officers may require an interview for any visa applicant. 

F1 visa interview requirements based on age:  

  1. Interviews are typically not required for people who are 13 years old or younger. 
  2. For the age group of 14-79 years, the interview is required (except for a few renewals) 
  3. For individuals who are 80 years old or older, an interview is generally not required.

F1 Visa Processing Time

The current processing time for new F1 visa applicants is 120 days. However, due to a significant backlog of applications, the processing time for student visas in the USA has extended to over 400 days.

The F1 visa processing time in the US embassy of New Delhi and Chennai is 423 calendar days. On the other hand, the time stands at 444 calendar days in Kolkata. For Hyderabad and Mumbai, it is 409 calendar days. 

F1 Visa Validity

Once your F1 student visa is approved after the interview, the stamp on your passport signifies its validity for a period of 5 years. However, it remains valid for the duration of your course of study. It is essential for students holding F1 visas in the USA to maintain their student status throughout their academic program, as specified in Form I-20 and the offer letter from the university. 

Upon completing their studies, F1 student visa holders are permitted to remain in the USA for a maximum of 60 days (equivalent to 2 months). Notably, graduates in STEM fields have the opportunity to apply for a post-study visa called Optional Practical Training (OPT). This permit enables international graduates to work in a related field of study in the USA for a period of 12 months. Additionally, STEM graduates can request an extension of their visa for up to 2 years.

FAQs

How can I convert my F1 visa to an H1-B visa?

After you find a suitable job and your employer can sponsor your H1-B visa, you are able to convert your F1 to H1 status. Then, you can begin working based on that H1B visa for that employer.

What is an I-20 and how do I get one? 

Form I-20 is a government form that shows the US government that you are eligible to receive F-1 Student Status. You receive the I-20 from the university/college you have been accepted at. You are required to obtain this form to apply for the student visa. 

Can a bank loan help if I don’t have sufficient funds?

The US counsellor should be convinced about how you are going to repay the loan. If you have taken huge loans, then it can be difficult to obtain a visa. 

Many Indian students dream of pursuing education in the USA due to the exposure and career growth it offers. Consider joining a free counselling session with Leverage Edu if you are also planning to study abroad

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