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USA Visa Application



There are mainly three categories of student visas:

  • F-1 (Student Visa): The F-1 visa is for full-time students enrolled in an academic or language program. F-1 students may stay in the US for the full length of their academic program plus 60 days. These students must maintain a full-time course load and complete their studies by the expiration date listed on the I-20 form. You should apply for a multiple entry F-1 student visa. With a multiple entry visa you can travel between US and India during the duration of your stay in the Unites States.
  • M Visa (Non-Academic or Vocational Studies ): This visa is appropriate f or people who want to study or train at a non-academic institution in the U.S.
  • J-1 (Exchange Visitor Visa): The J-1 visa is issued to students needing practical training that is not available in their home country to complete their academic program. The training must be directly related to their academic program. The J-1 visa obligates the student to return to their home country for a minimum of two years after the end of their studies in the US before being eligible to apply for an immigrant (permanent residence) visa.


Students generally are not eligible for employment in their first year of study. However, they can pursue on-campus and other kinds of employment upon approval of the school’s administration.


Acceptance by University: This is the foremost condition for applying for a student visa. The university sends you form I-20 (certification of eligibility) that needs to be filled and submitted at the time of the interview.

Knowledge of English Language: Proof of the required scholastic preparation is usually established by form I-20 from the institution involved and the entries on the form. To establish their knowledge of English, applicants are encouraged to take the “Test of English as a Foreign Language” (TOEFL). This is available in many Indian cities.

Financial Resources: Since a student visa is a non immigrant type of a visa, you will have to provide proof that you have sufficient funds to cover the total cost of education and stay in the U.S. This implies evidence of readily available funds to meet all expenses for the first year and of the availability of funds for the following years from reliable financial resources. To satisfy this requirement, applicants may show that funds are available from the educational institution, from their personal resources or from sponsors (normally a very close relative), who have agreed to pay for their education. If the support is from the educational institution, in the form of a scholarship, assistantship, on-campus employment, etc., it is usually noted on the I-20 form.

Non-Immigrant Intent: It is difficult to prove that you intend to return to India after your studies are complete even though you sincerely intend to. This is because by law, all non-immigrants are viewed as “intending immigrants.” This means that the visa officer is under the assumption that you will be coming to the US and will remain in the US permanently. You should carry with you documents that demonstrate ties to India and would help convince the consul of your intent to return. Such documents may include:

Proof of land ownership

  • Economic and Social ties are very important: An applicant’s future roles in a family business, academic institution, government agency, professional organization are all possibilities. Bring letters from appropriate parties to demonstrate such facts.
  • If other family members have studied in the U.S. and returned it should be mentioned.
  • Letters from prospective employers recognizing the need for specialized training offered in the U.S. can also serve to aid an application in the applicant’s home country.


After the 9/11 attack, security concerns have risen. If, however, you keep all the required documents at hand and follow the process diligently you can hasten the process. It is advisable to apply for a student’s visa at the earliest possible, immediately after receiving form I-20. The interview can be arranged up to 120 days prior to the beginning of the course and the student can enter the US 30 days prior to the commencement of the classes.

Here are a few steps of the process:

Step 1 (Pay the fee): You must pay the application fee (currently $100 or INR4, 600) and VFS service’ charge at a designated branch of HDFC bank before applying for a visa.

Step 2 (I-20 and SEVIS charges): You must have received from the school a document called I-20. This document also requires a payment to the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) registration system. If the school has made this payment on behalf of the applicant, the confirmation information must be produced at the time of interview.

Step 3 (Schedule an interview): Log on to the website and click on the ‘Apply for a Non-immigrant Visa’ link once the fees are paid. You will need to use the barcode number from your HDFC bank fee receipt in order to schedule an appointment. You will be required to fill the forms DS-156 and DS-157 and DS-158 (if applicable) at that time. You will have to wait 48 hours after paying the fee before you can book an appointment.

Step 4 ( Report for the interview): Report to the US Embassy or Consulate where your appointment for a visa interview is scheduled.


Having written many essays and SOPs, you should not find the interview process stressful. The American consulate has introduced a system of prior appointments for visa interviews. On the given date, you will have to appear for a personal interview. You should convince the visa officer that you have the necessary funds to cover the cost of education. You should prove that you hold strong ties with India and also that are not an intending immigrant. While answering the questions, one should be brief and to the point. Most importantly, consular officials want to hear from the applicant. At no time, is it recommended that the applicants bring family members with them to the interview.


  • When appearing for the visa interview, carry the following documents:
  • Passport having validity of at least six months.
  • Original HDFC Bank Fee Receipt with its two barcode stickers.
  • Interview appointment letter.
  • Form I-20 and the admission letter from the University/College mentioning the total cost of education in the USA (If you have received admission letters/rejection letters from more than one university, carry all of them).
  • Evidence of scholarship/aid/grant, if any
  • Sponsorship letter
  • Educational certificates, degrees, diplomas & mark sheets
  • Score reports of TOEFL and GRE/GMAT/SAT
  • Work experience certificate/reference letter from employer, if employed
  • Bank statements/pass books of the sponsors for the last three years
  • Summary statement of assets and total income of family members
  • Income tax papers of the sponsor and his family for the last 3 years
  • Proof of all movable and immovable assets.


New Delhi
The Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy
Nyaya Marg
New Delhi – 110 021

All individuals who need to appear at the embassy for visa matters should report to gate 6 (visa gate) which is located on Nyaya Marg