As the United States remains a popular destination for higher education, students from all over the world are eager to study at universities in the US. However, before students can enrol in an American university, they must obtain a student visa. The student visa process can be quite complex, so in this blog post, we will provide step-by-step guidance on how to obtain an F-1 student visa for the USA.
In this blog:
- What is an F-1 Visa?
- How to Get an F-1 Student Visa for USA?
- Step 1: Fill in the I-20 Application Form
- Step 2: Pay the SEVIS Fee
- Step 3: Fill in the DS-160 Online Application Form
- Step 4: Pay the Visa Registration Fee
- Step 5: Book Your US Embassy Visa Appointment
- Step 6: Attend the Visa Interview
- US Student Visa Fees
- Documents required at the time of booking your VAC appointment
- Documents required on the day of your VAC appointment
- Documents required for the visa interview
- Bottom Line
What is an F-1 Visa?
First things first, let’s talk about what an F-1 visa is. An F-1 visa is a non-immigrant student visa that allows foreign students to study at a university or college in the United States. So if you want to pursue your academic dreams in the land of opportunity, you’ll need to get one of these bad boys.
How to Get an F-1 Student Visa for USA?
To obtain an F-1 student visa for the USA, follow these steps:
- Fill in the I-20 application form
- Pay the SEVIS fee
- Fill in the DS-160 online application form
- Pay the visa registration fee
- Book your US embassy visa appointment
- Attend the visa interview
Now, let’s get down to business. Here’s how you can obtain an F-1 student visa for the USA:
Step 1: Fill in the I-20 Application Form
The first step is to fill out the I-20 application form. This form is provided by the university or college you plan to attend. It asks for personal details, academic background, and financial support information. You’ll also need to show proof of financial support, like bank statements, scholarship letters, or a letter from your sponsor. Once you submit your completed form and documents, the university or college will issue an I-20 form, which is a fancy way of saying “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status.”
Step 2: Pay the SEVIS Fee
After receiving your I-20 form, you need to pay the SEVIS fee. SEVIS is not the name of a funky new dance move, but rather an acronym for “Student and Exchange Visitor Information System.” This database is maintained by the US government to keep track of international students and exchange visitors. You can pay the SEVIS fee by going to their website and following the instructions.
Step 3: Fill in the DS-160 Online Application Form
Next up, you need to fill out the DS-160 online application form. This one collects your personal details, passport information, and travel plans. You’ll also need to upload a recent photo that meets US visa requirements. Once you’re done, submit it online and print the confirmation page.
Step 4: Pay the Visa Registration Fee
After you’ve filled out the DS-160 form, you need to pay the visa registration fee. This fee is non-refundable and depends on the country where you’re applying from. You can find the fee schedule on the US embassy’s website.
Step 5: Book Your US Embassy Visa Appointment
Once you’ve paid the visa registration fee, you can schedule your visa interview at the US embassy. Don’t forget to bring your passport number, the date you paid the visa registration fee, and the ten-digit barcode number from your DS-160 confirmation page. Head to the embassy’s website to book your appointment.
Step 6: Attend the Visa Interview
The final step is to attend the visa interview. This is where you need to bring all the required documents, like your passport, I-20 form, SEVIS fee receipt, DS-160 confirmation page, and visa registration fee receipt. You may also need to bring additional documents to prove your ties to your home country, like employment or property ownership. During the interview, the consular officer will ask you questions about your academic plans and financial support. If everything goes well, they’ll stamp your passport with the F-1 visa.
USA student visa fees
There are a few fees you’ll need to cough up before you can get your hands on that coveted F-1 student visa.
First up, there’s the SEVIS fee, which will set you back $350. And then, depending on where you’re applying from, the visa registration fee will vary. The US visa fees for Indian students stands at $160 presently which roughly translates to INR 13,146. But don’t worry, you can find out exactly how much you’ll need to pay by checking out the US embassy’s website.
Documents required at the time of booking your VAC appointment
Now, let’s talk about paperwork. Brace yourself, because there’s a laundry list of documents you’ll need to present when you’re applying for your F-1 visa. When you’re booking your VAC (Visa Application Center) appointment, you’ll need to have your passport number, the date you paid your fees, and your 10-digit barcode number on your DS-160 confirmation page handy.
Documents required on the day of your VAC appointment
On the day of your VAC appointment, make sure you’ve got your passport (which should be valid for at least six months beyond your intended period of stay in the US), your DS-160 confirmation page, and your appointment confirmation page with you.
Documents required for the visa interview
And finally, when it’s time for your visa interview, you’ll need to bring a printed copy of your appointment letter, your DS-160 confirmation page (with a photo that’s not older than six months), all your current and old passports, and the original visa fee payment receipt.
One more thing – if you’ve been denied a US visa in the past, you’ll need to fill out a fresh Non-immigrant Visa Electronic Application (DS-160) form. Phew, that’s a lot of paperwork!
But don’t let all that paperwork get you down – with a bit of planning and preparation, you can breeze through the US F-1 visa application process. Remember to book your appointment early, get all your documents in order, and be ready to talk about your academic goals and financial situation. And before you know it, you’ll be on your way to starting your academic adventure in the good ol’ USA.
We, at Jamboree, have helped over 170,000 successful students land at their dream universities seamlessly–we know how to ace the game of US student visa. Book a free visa counselling session with our expert and foolproof your US student visa.