How To Get a Student Visa for US?

USA is been found as one of the top choices for students planning to study abroad and  every year, many international students apply for full-time/part time study courses at universities in the US. Unfortunately, getting a visa is bit complicated,If you have got the admission into your aspired university, applying for Student Visa is the next step and here is where we are here to help you!


In this guide, we cover the basics of visas and how to get a student visa to the US. We give you a handful of tips and resources.

What Is a US Student Visa?

A student visa (F, M, J) is required to study in the United States.To legally attend school in the United States, all foreign applicants, that is, those without US citizenship or permanent residence must first obtain a student visa for the United States. This international student visa allows you to temporarily reside in the United States to attend an approved school, language program, academic exchange program etc


Foreign nationals may not study after entering on a visitor (B) visa.
Foreign nationals (B) visa holders can enroll for short recreational course of study, but these courses are not for credit toward a degree or academic certificate


There are three types of visas for students for applying the visa:


F-1 Visa:

If you wish to study in United States at an approved school, such as an accredited U.S. college or university, private secondary school, or approved English language program then you need an F-1 visa. F-1 visa is applied usually if your course of study is more than 18 hours a week.


Every University / Institutions in USA have their own policies when taking an admission. Whichever university you will be choosing the Universities accordingly will tell you what they need to determine that whether you are academically eligible. Eligibility could be where you will need to show the university that you have enough money to support yourself while studying without having to work, show health insurance in order to cover any medical expenses and last not the least.

If you fulfill all the criteria of the university and the university has determined that your application is complete and you are academically eligible,than they will issue an I-20 form which will enable you to apply for your student visa.

M-1 Visa:

M-1 Visa is used for vocational and non academic courses of studies wherein you are engaged in some types of language programs, flight school, technical studies, cooking classes, some types of technical studies, cosmetology programs, religious vocational schools, and other types of degree programs etc that do not fall into the traditional academic category, in that case you will need to apply for the M-1 Visa.

M-1 Visa courses duration are usually of shorter duration. There are also more restrictions with the M-1 Visa. For example, you cannot continue on to an academic or university program on your M-1 Visa; you will need to apply for the F-1 visa if you wish to extend your stay or apply for higher studies.

Students on M1 visa may accept employment in the U.S. as a part of their practical training by obtaining an Employment Authorization Document.

J-1 Visa:


Exchange Visitor (J-1) non-immigrant visa category is for individuals who are approved to participate in work-and study-based exchange visitor programs. Participants are integral to the success of the program.

There are fifteen different categories of participants under the J-1 visa program, of which, thirteen categories include privately-funded programs that are implemented under the auspices of the Office of Private Sector Exchange in the Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Exchange visitors on private sector programs may study, teach, do research, share their specialized skills, or receive on-the-job training for periods ranging from a few weeks to several years. In addition to the thirteen private sector exchange categories, the J-1 visa program also includes two categories that are publicly funded: International Visitors and Government Visitors.

All the applicants applying for Student visa must demonstrate that they have strong ties to their home country. Strong ties like:

  • Assets (i.e., house, land, vehicle, etc.)
  • Bank accounts
  • Family

USA Student Visa Application Process:


Students should apply for a study visa for at least 3 to 5 months before starting their student work in the US, as the student visa process takes time.


US visas include F1 visas, M1 visas and J1 visas, so the application process may vary depending on the type of student visa the applicant is eligible for.


Step:1 Apply for a course approved by Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP).


You will need to apply to a SEVP-approved school in the United States.  After the SEVP-approved school accepts your enrollment, you will be registered at Student and Exchange Visitor Information System, (SEVIS) is the Web-based system that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) uses to maintain information on Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)-certified schools, F-1 and M-1 students who come to the United States to attend those schools, U.S. Department of State-designated Exchange Visitor Program sponsors and J-1 visa Exchange Visitor Program participants. It is a critical tool in our mission to protect national security while supporting the legal entry of more than one million F, M and J nonimmigrants to the United States for education and cultural exchange.


Schools use SEVIS to petition SEVP for certification, which allows the school to offer programs of study to nonimmigrant students. Designated school officials of SEVP-certified schools use SEVIS to:
Update school information and apply for recertification of the school.

Issue Forms I-20 to specific nonimmigrants to obtain F or M status while enrolled at the school, fulfill the school’s legal reporting responsibility regarding student addresses, courses of study, enrollment, employment and compliance with the terms of the student status.

Step:2 Pay the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System Fees.


To pay the SEVIS Fees, you must submit an SEVIS I-901 Form online or offline through the US Immigration and Customs Bureau (ICE). You must pay the fees at least 3 days before submitting the application for a US visa.

You must have a complete and accurate Form I-20 or DS-2019 If you do not have an I-20 or DS-2019 or if the information on the form is incorrect, contact your school official or program sponsor.

Do not pay for a dependent child or spouse who is on an F-2, M-2, or J-2 visa. There is no I-901 SEVIS fee due for a dependent child or spouse for these visa types.


Do not pay again if you know that you have made a mistake after you submitted your information.


Step:3 Start Your US Visa Student Application


  1. Once you receive Form I-20 from your university. It is strongly recommended that you pay the SEVIS I-901 fee before you start your US visa application.
  2. After paying the SEVIS fee you will need to fill online Ds-160 Form.
  3. Pay the visa application fee through NEFT/CASH/MOBILE PAYMENTS.
  4. Need to Schedule an appointment for your Biometric & Visa interview at the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate

Wait times for interview appointments vary by location, season, and visa category, so you should apply for your visa early. Keep in mind that you must receive your visa before the start date of your program. While you can obtain your student visa from the United States up to 120 days before the start date of your plan, you can not travel to the United States with this type of visa until 30 days prior to your actual travel date.

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