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The United States is the most popular student destination in the world. It provides exceptional opportunities for students from all disciplines to learn and flourish in their chosen subjects. With an economy that requires new talent every year, it is the ideal destination for students India wishing to study and create a career after graduation. It is feasible to study in the United States with a US student visa.

To even apply for an F1 visa, you must meet certain requirements, such as:

  • Get admitted into a SEVP accepted institution. The Student Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) has a list of schools, universities, and other institutions which meet the conditions and accept international students. It is recommended that before applying to your preferred schools or universities, you should first check the SEVP and see if those institutions are listed there. If yes, you can proceed to send them any documents that they require to make an admission decision. If not, you should not apply since you will not get the student visa even if you are accepted into the school.
  • Be enrolled as a full-time student.
  • Have strong ties to your home country. If you don’t prove and submit documents that you have strong ties to your home country and intend to go home after your educational program ends, it will be more difficult to get an F1 visa.
  • Proof financial sufficiency. You should prove that you have sufficient funds in your bank accounts to cover the expenses of studying and living in the United States. This does not mean that F1 students are not eligible for scholarships. In fact, you are encouraged to apply for scholarship funds and organizations to lower your financial burden.
  • Be proficient in English. You must prove that you can speak and understand English at a level that enables you to enroll in an academic program. Students can prove their language proficiency by taking standardized English proficiency tests such as the TOEFL or the IELTS.

The following documents are necessary to apply for an F1 Visa:

  • Your valid passport.
  • Form DS-160 for non-immigrant visa applications.
  • Two photographs meeting the US Visa Photo Requirements.
  • Proof of paid F1 visa fee.
  • Form I-20. Your Form I-20 states the amount of funds you need to finance your education and living in the US. You must submit documents which prove you have that amount readily available. This can be done by submitting various documents, such as:
    • Bank statements for the last 3 years
    • Tax records for the last 3 years
    • Pay stubs of previous employment
    • If you have received a scholarship, you also need to submit proof of it
    • Paying a semester’s or a year’s worth of tuition is also a good idea, but not mandatory
    • If you are supported or sponsored by someone else in the US, you will need to submit Form I-134, Affidavit of Support and bank statements for the last three years of that person.
    • If you are funding your US education through a loan, you must also show proof of the approved loan
  • Documents that prove your previous education and current qualifications:
    • Original transcripts
    • Standardized test scores (TOEFL, IELTS, GRE, GMAT, etc.)
    • Acceptance letters from the educational institution which accepted you
    • Previous degree diplomas
  • Proof of purchased health insurance for international students.

The F1 visa application process consists of the following steps:

Get your admissions documents from the SEVP institution

After you apply and are accepted to the institution of your choice, they must fulfill various formalities before you can apply for the F1 visa. Form I-20, Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status, is the most significant document you must have. You will be unable to apply for an F1 student visa and attend your interview unless you have this paperwork.

Read Also: How do I Prepare For F-1?

Apply online through the DS-160 form

After receiving your Form I-20, you can begin the normal application process. This involves submitting the DS-160 form online with your visa status information.

Pay the application fee

The student visa application price is $160. You must pay this money and obtain a receipt, which you will require for your interview documentation later. Additional fees may apply depending on your place of origin and the US Embassy from which you apply.

Pay the SEVIS I-901 fee

Your school instantly registers you in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) if you are admitted by a SEVP institution. There is a SEVIS I-901 charge for full registration. This price is $200 for the F1 visa.

Schedule your F1 visa interview

After filing the DS-160 form and paying the fees, you will need to schedule your interview. The interview is a mandatory step before you get your student visa. Try to schedule it as early as possible, since there might be delays due to the heavy workload of the US Embassy. When you schedule it, you will receive an interview appointment letter which you will need later on in the application process.

Submit the file with the required documents

Before you go to attend your interview, you should prepare your file with the required documents for students.

Attend the student visa interview

When you go to attend the student visa interview, the questions will mostly revolve around your reasons for going to the US and the institution you are going to. The interviewer will try to assess whether you intend to return to your home country after you complete your degree.

In most circumstances, you will receive a response on this visa soon following your interview. The interviewer may congratulate you on obtaining the visa or provide you with a paper informing you of the reason for denial at the end of the visa interview. This is due to the fact that the processing of this sort of visa occurs prior to your interview. The interview is the final step for the US Embassy to determine whether or not to issue the visa.

There are instances where the response and processing of the F1 visa takes a few days, so be patient if this occurs.

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