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How to apply for a US student visa

The article guides you on how to appy for a US Visa; the things that you need to avoid while applying

Antony Chacko

Ensure that your passport is in good condition before applying for a visa. Successful applicants are likely to receive their student visa within two days after the visa interview.

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A lot of Indian and South Asian students plan for higher education in the US, as the country lodges many top ranking universities and colleges. But making it to the US involves more than being accepted academically as a student; it involves dealing with the legal and governmental hurdles to travel to the US 

As an Indian student planning to study in the US, you need to obtain a student visa from the US embassy near you. The visa approved to you will be an F-class student visa which covers your plan to pursue full-time education at the undergraduate or graduate level.
The process of obtaining a student visa from the embassy may seem extensive and difficult, but the more you are equipped and the sooner you put together your documents, the earlier you will leave to the U.S. for higher education. The US Visa Procedure can be staged as:

Procedures before the interview

You need to ensure that you complete Form DS-160 before the interview for your student visa. After filling Form DS-160, print out the confirmation page with the barcode and pay the visa application fee in an approved bank. You should make an online payment for the I-20 form, which is issued by the American institution affirming your enrolment and you should pay the I-901 fee online through the U.S. Immigration and Customs enforcement website. Finally, fix an appointment for a student visa interview through the VFS website. This will necessitate you to have your DS-160 barcode and your bank fee receipt. Read more on procedures before the interview

Procedures during the interview 


When interviewing for your student visa, make sure that you are present on time carrying the following documents with you:
  • A valid undamaged passport and previously issued passports if any
  • Latest passport size photo (50mm x 50mm)
  • DS-160 confirmation page with barcode
  • Bank receipts (visa application fee $200.00/ Rs. 10726.00)
  • VFS appointment letter
  • Original education, identity and address proofs
  • I-20 Form
  • Medical fitness certificate
Always cross check with your nearest American embassy for updates and changes.

The interviews happen Monday through Friday and majority of successful applicants usually get their student visas within two business days. Progressive travel planning and early visa application are important, as visa applications are subject to a greater degree of inspection than in the past. It is essential that your passport is in good condition for an F1 Visa to be placed. Read more on procedures during the interview 


Procedures after landing in the US

Just a visa alone does not guarantee entry into the US. The Department of Homeland Security, US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials permit or deny admission to the US. You should have your Form I-20 and in advance of travel, you should review important information about Admissions/Entry requirements, as well as information related to restrictions on food, agricultural products or other restricted/prohibited goods explained on the Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection website. 
Upon arrival, you will be enrolled in the US-VISIT entry-exit program and when allowed to enter the US, the CBP official will decide the length of your visit on the Arrival-Departure Record Form I-94. Read more on procedures after landing in the US

Procedures to extend a visa 

When you enter the US on a student visa, you will be allowed for the duration of your student status i.e. you may stay as long as you are a full time student, even though the F-1 visa expires while you are in the US. If you have completed the course of studies shown on the I-20 and any authorized practical training is to be taken, you will be allowed additional time before departure. As an F-1 student you will get additional 60 days to prepare to leave the US or to transfer to another school. Read more on procedures to extend a visa
All the Best.

List of US Embassies and Consulates

New Delhi
US Embassy
Shantipath, Chanakyapuri
New Delhi - 110021
Tel: 011-91-11-2419-8000
Fax: 011-91-11-2419-0017
Consulate General
5/1, Ho Chi Minh Sarani
Kolkata- 700071
Tel: 011-91-33-3984-2400
Fax: 011-91-33-2282-2335
Consulate General
No. 220, Anna Salai
Chennai - 600006
Tel: 011-91-44-2857-4000
Consulate General
C-49, G-Block, Bandra Kurla Complex
Bandra East, Mumbai - 400051
Tel: 011-91-22-2672-4000
Consulate General
Paigah Palace 1-8-323
Chiran Fort Lane, Begumpet
Secunderabad - 500003
Andhra Pradesh
Tel: 011-91-40-40338300
Sri Lanka
US Embassy
210 Galle Road,Colombo 03,
Sri Lanka
Tel: +94(11)249-8500
Fax: +94(11)243-7345
US Embassy
Madani Avenue, Baridhara, Dhaka -1212, 
Tel: (880) (2) 8855500
Fax: (880) (2) 8823744 
US Embassy
Maharajgunj Road, Kathmandu 44600, Nepal
Tel.: 977-1-400-7200 
Fax: 977-1-400-7272
US Embassy
Diplomatic Enclave, Ramna 5
Islamabad, Pakistan
Tel: (+92) 51-208-0000
Fax: (+92) 51-2276427


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Applying for a student visa?

Khushboo Gera Khushboo Gera,
Study abroad expert.
Our advisors can help you file your visa application and conduct mock interviews to boost your confidence. Request a call back or call us now on 1800 103 2581 / 1800 103 9634 (toll-free) for guidance.