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Student Visa Procedure

Step by Step Process to Apply for a USA Student Visa

The process starts with putting an application of enrolment in a USA SEVP school or university. You are likely to obtain an I-20 form from the underlying school after you get an admission successfully. The next important steps to go ahead are

  • Settling the SEVIS fee
  • Acquiring form DS-160 (an online visa application form required to apply for a USA student visa)
  • Filling the DS-160 form
  • Collecting a copy of the form submission success page
  • Paying the visa fees
  • Planning for an interview in your convenient US embassy
  • Appearing in the interview as per the schedule
  • Awaiting a reply from the US embassy

Acquiring a USA student visa is a lengthy process that involves a certain set of steps. Hence, a student is required to prepare in advance (three to five months before the commencement of the study program). The general steps involved in a USA student visa process are given as under

Applying to a USA university or institution

The process starts with putting an application of enrollment in a USA school or university. Being an international student, you must assure that the institute you choose to apply to is SEVP (Student and Exchange Visitor Program) approved. After your application gets accepted, the university will enter your details in the SEVIS system and send you an I-20 form (for F and M visas) or Form DS-2019 (for J visas).

Settling the SEVIS fee

The fees must be paid at least three days before the submission of the US student visa application. The task can be accomplished using US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) SEVP website.

Make sure to enter the exact details as mentioned in your I-20 or DS-2019 form. Don’t miss to fetch and retain the payment confirmation proof as it will be required in the further steps. 

Completing the Application

The next step is to complete your USA student visa application. For this, you need to fill an online application form called (DS-160). All the mandatory documents should be ready in digital format while you complete the application form. The personal details to be given in the form include your name, DOB, contact details, address, passport details, educational background, health details, SEVIS ID, and so on.

Paying the Visa Fees

You can pay either offline or online. Ensure to collect the fee receipt as it will be needed during your visa interview appointment. 

Scheduling and attending an interview in your convenient US embassy

It’s time to complete the final step now i.e. attending the visa interview. You can do so by appearing for a physical interview at your nearby US embassy. Below is a list of documents that you may need during your visa interview

Your I-20 or DS-2019 form.

A valid passport (must be valid for at least six months besides your expected stay duration).

  • SEVIS fee receipt.
  • DS-160 confirmation page.
  • Receipt of fee payment.
  • Copy of interview appointment letter.

Do carry your academic records, employment experience letters (if any), marriage certificate (if applicable), and other important documents while heading towards the visa interview.

Awaiting a reply from the US embassy.

Now, it’s time to sit patiently and await the decision from the US embassy. This may take some time. You will be notified once the decision is ready.

F-1 or M1 visas are Student visas, and they can be your entry ticket for studying in the USA. While F-1 visas permit candidates pursuing an academic program or a language course, M-1 visas are applicable for candidates seeking non-vocational courses.

With F-1 and M-1 visas, international students are permitted to stay in the country for 60 days or more, or until the course completion.

Qualifying for Student Visas

There are specific pre-requisites to be fulfilled by the applicants. They are:

  • Proof of Foreign Residence: To show the authorities that you have your residence in your home country or another foreign land and that there are binding factors to return home to on course completion.
  • Proof of Admission: To prove that you have secured a place in one of the institutions in America. You will be allowed to study only in the institution which sponsors you for an F-1 visa.
  • Proof of Financial Capability: This documentation has to be submitted to confirm that you can bear your education and living expenses during the period of your stay in the US. Proof of funding from family, sponsorships from the country or through private international student loans, or other documents will be required to be submitted as a proof of financial capability.

How to Apply for F-1/M1 Visa

  1. Your application must be accepted in one of the SEVP (Student and Exchange Visitor Program) approved academic institutions.
  2. On receiving acceptance, you must pay the SEVIS (Student Exchange Visitor) 1-901 fee as applicable. You will be enrolled in the SEVIS system. The educational institution will provide an eligibility certificate in the Form I-20, which is mandatory to take the application process further.
  3. You can fill Form-DS 160 online and produce a printout of the form in your visa interview. You may have to bear a visa application fee which is non-refundable.
  4. Schedule your visa interview with the consulate well in advance.
  5. During the visa interview, the documents you produce will be verified for their authenticity. You will be questioned about your study plans, financial position, and other areas.

Documents Required

Be prepared with the following before the visa interview:

  • A valid passport
  • Form DS-160
  • Application fee payment receipt
  • Form 1-20

Sanction of visa is based on the consular officer’s discretion. You may also have to remit visa issuance fees on approval.

Visa denial can be a huge impediment to pursuing your education in the US. To ensure there are no slippages talk to Aspire Square today, the best-in class-visa consultants in Ahmedabad!

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