USA Study Visa Requirements 2024: Student Visa Cost & Processing Time

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Are you planning to study abroad? If yes, then The United States of America must be on the list for study-abroad destinations. The United States gave 125,000 Student Visas to Indians last year. The US Government allows you to study in the country, but as a prerequisite, you must obtain a student visa first. The US government offers different types of student visas, each with its requirements and eligibility criteria. 

In this article, we will explore the USA study visa requirements in detail, including the types of visas, application procedures, cost, and processing time.

S.No.Type of VisasDescription
1F-1 Student VisaThis enables you to study at an accredited US college or university
2J Exchange VisaIt is for an exchange program in high school or a university.
3M Student Visa:It is for non-academic or vocational training/ study.

USA Study Visa Requirements: Types of Visa

Several types of visas may be required for studying in the USA, depending on the length of your stay and your specific circumstances. 

Here is the list of different types of student visas.

F1 Visa

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USA Study Visa Requirements 2024: Student Visa Cost & Processing Time

This is the most popular student visa for the USA. Any student who desires to pursue a degree at an accredited college or university in The United States of America will need to apply for this kind of visa. 

This visa is applicable only for full-time students. The F1 visa is the most popular student visa for Indian students who wish to study in the United States. This visa is available for those pursuing a full-time academic program. The F1 visa is a non-immigrant visa issued to students wishing to enter the US to study temporarily.

M Visa

The second kind of student visa for the USA that one can apply for is the M Visa. This visa is essential for students who have secured admissions to vocational or non-academic courses. Any student pursuing a course that is non-academic or technical should apply for this kind of visa. However, one must know that M visa holders can not pursue any academic education or degree in any university in The United States of America.

J Visa

The third and last kind of student visa for the USA from India is for applicants participating in international exchange programs or programs promoting cultural exchange. Here, you must be sponsored by a private sector or government organisation and can travel to the USA for medical or business training for a specified duration. 

Let’s understand the procedure for applying for a student visa from India to the USA. This article will discuss the USA student visa requirements and M1 and F1 visa types and their requirements.  

How do you apply for a Student Visa in the USA? 

1. Get admission and pay the SEVIS fee.

The first and most important condition to apply for a student visa to the USA is to be accepted in a degree program (for an F1 visa) or any vocational or training program in the country. Once received, you must pay a processing fee to be enrolled in the Student Exchange Visitor Information Systems (SEVIS). 

Here, you will be required to pay INR 29,110 (USD 350) as the SEVIS I-901 Fee post, for which your university will provide you with a document known as Form 1-20. This is a non-negotiable requirement for non-immigrant students applying for the visa mentioned above types.

Forms 1-20 and other documents must be kept safe and produced during your visa interview.

2. Fill out the application form

To apply for the F1 student visa, you have to begin by filling out an application form. This form is known as DS-160. After that, you must pay a fee while submitting the student visa application form. This fee is capped at INR 14,971 (USD 180).

You have to enter basic information like the place from where you intend to make the application and a security code to gain access to the portal. It takes approximately 90 minutes to complete the application form, and you will be guided to the next step – scheduling the interview.

3. Schedule the Interview

Once you have submitted your visa application form, you have to proceed to schedule the interview. This interview is in English and is done on a prior appointment only. The date for this interview depends on the average waiting period and the season you apply. Thus, ensure you apply for your visa well in time to receive it before your course starts.

You must note here that this is the most crucial step in your visa process. The visa issuance is solely at the discretion of the interviewing officer. Further, please understand that an interview does not guarantee your student visa in any way. Questions in this interview are generic and based on your current and past achievements and documents. You must be highly confident while answering these questions and be as honest as possible.

4. Prepare the documentation required

The USA Study Visa Requirements in terms of documentation can be comprehensive, starting with a valid passport and Form 1-20 provided by the university of study.

The documents required for the application will be:

  • Valid passport
  • Form DS 160
  • Form DS 160 payment receipt
  • Form 1-20
  • Passport photo

Additionally, though not required, you may be asked to produce these extra documents. Hence, it is best to carry them with you to your interview.

  • Transcripts, statement of purpose, certificates from schools you have attended
  • Bank statements or proof of how you will fund your education and stay in the United States of America
  • Proof of intent to depart the USA once the course is over.

5. Wait for the processing time

After the interview, wait for the visa decision. If approved, the visa will be stamped on your passport, and you can make travel arrangements to the USA. 

The USA Student Visa Requirements have a processing time that varies 

on a case-to-case basis. Sometimes, you may receive it in 15 days; sometimes, it may even take months. Hence, it is always advisable to apply for a student visa to the USA as soon as possible.

Ideally, the visa can be issued up to 120 days before the beginning of your academic course. However, due to USA entry restrictions, you can only enter the country 30 days before the start of your course. 

USA Student Visa Requirements: Financial 

To successfully obtain an F1 student visa, your application must be supported by solid documentation that proves that you have the requisite financial backing to fund your education and life in the USA. To prove this, you may require documentation like the following:

  • Income tax returns for the last 3 years.
  • Payment/ salary slips

Suppose you intend to fund your US degree through an education loan or have received a scholarship. In that case, you should also carry appropriate documentation and sanction letters regarding the loan to prove your financial credibility.

USA Student Visa Requirements: Centre for Application

The application procedure is wholly online in the USA Student Visa Requirements. In India, for biometrics and interviews, you may have to visit the centres mentioned below:

Delhi –

S – 1 American Plaza (Hotel Eros Managed by Hilton), International Trade Tower

Nehru Place, New Delhi – 110019

Mumbai –

Trade Center, Ground Floor, G Block,

Bandra Kurla Complex,

Bandra East, Mumbai – 400051

Chennai –

No 3, Cenotaph Road,

Teynampet, Chennai, Tamil Nadu – 600018

 Hyderabad –

1-8-384/385, Gowra Grand, S.P.Road,

Begumpet, Secunderabad – 500003

Kolkata –

Jasmine Tower, 31, Shakespeare Sarani (1st Floor)

Kolkata – 700017

Things To Remember about USA Student Visa Requirements

1. Working Allowances

As a part of the US student visa terms, F1 visa holders are permitted to work –on campus for up to 20 hours per week when their university program is in session and full-time (up to 40 hours) during vacations and breaks. On-campus employment means working anywhere on campus or at an institution that is affiliated with your campus. This can be a library, bookstore, cafeteria or any other facility.

Off-campus employment for F1 visa holders is generally not permitted. However, if you are facing economic hardship per the Department of Homeland Security’s emergent circumstances, you may be allowed to pursue full-time off-campus employment. In any situation, this is possible only after you have completed at least one full year of academic tuition.

2. Duration of the Visa

For Indian nationals, the F1 visa you obtain for your course in the United States of America is valid for five years from the date of issuance. However, even though the visa is valid for five years, your stay in the country solely depends on your student status. Once you lose your status as a student, the visa expires, and you will be asked to return to India unless you apply for an extension. Further, F1 visa holders are eligible to stay in the USA for 12 months post-completion of their stay under the optional practical training scheme.

To Sum Up

In conclusion, applying for a student visa to the USA can be complex. Still, with careful preparation and attention to detail, it is possible to obtain a visa and pursue higher education there successfully. We learned about the USA Student Visa Requirements, such as the application process, documentation required, cost, duration of the visa, working allowances, financial requirements, and centres for application.

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • Q. What are the USA student visa requirements?

    A. To obtain a student visa for the USA, applicants must first be accepted to a Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)-approved school and pay the SEVIS fee. In addition, you must complete the nonimmigrant visa application, provide a valid passport, pay the visa application fee, and attend an interview at the US embassy or consulate in your home country. You may also need to provide additional documentation, such as academic transcripts, proof of financial support, and a letter of intent.

  • Q. How much money do you need to apply for a student visa to the USA?

    A. To apply for a student visa to the USA, you must pay a processing fee of INR 29,110 to enrol in the Student Exchange Visitor Information Systems (SEVIS) and the visa application fee of INR 14,971. 

  • Q. Can I get a US visa without a bank statement?

    A. You must provide a bank statement as proof of financial stability during the visa application process. However, if you can provide other forms of economic evidence, such as a scholarship or sponsor letter, you may be able to apply without a bank statement. It ultimately depends on your specific circumstances and the discretion of the visa officer reviewing your application.

  • Q. Is getting an F1 visa difficult?

    A. Getting an F1 visa can be a challenging process, but it is not impossible. With proper preparation and documentation, many students can obtain this visa and pursue their academic goals in the United States. The key is to stay optimistic, follow the guidelines provided by the US government, and seek guidance from experienced professionals who can help you navigate the application process.

  • Q. What is SEVIS?

    A. SEVIS stands for Student and Exchange Visitor Information System, a web-based system that allows schools and the Department of Homeland Security to track international students and exchange visitors. SEVIS helps to ensure that these individuals comply with the terms of their visas and maintain their status while in the United States. It also facilitates communication between schools and government agencies, making monitoring and managing the flow of students and visitors easier.

  • Q. What documents are required for a USA Study Visa?

    A. To apply for a USA study visa, you must submit various documents, including a valid passport, a photograph, a visa application form, a SEVIS fee receipt, and proof of financial support. You may also need to submit academic transcripts, test scores, and English proficiency certificates. It is essential to check with the US embassy or consulate for a complete list of required documents.

  • Q. What are the financial requirements for a USA Study Visa?

    A. The financial requirements for a USA student visa include providing solid documentation proving that you have the necessary financial support to fund your education and life in the USA. This documentation may include income tax returns for the last 3 years and payment or salary slips. If you intend to fund your education through an education loan or scholarship, you should also provide appropriate documentation and sanction letters to prove your financial credibility.

  • Q. How many types of Student visas are there?

    A. There are three types of student visas for the United States. The F-1 visa is for full-time students pursuing academic programs, while the M-1 visa is for students enrolled in vocational or non-academic programs. The J-1 visa is for students participating in cultural exchange programs sponsored by the U.S. government, educational institutions, or private organisations.

  • Q. How many years is an F1 visa valid for?

    A. The F-1 visa is for full-time international students pursuing academic programs. The F-1 visa has a maximum validity of five years, but it’s only valid if you also have a valid I-20 form. Your US residency status will be determined by the duration noted on the I-20 form.

  • Q. Can I get a scholarship in the USA?

    A. Yes, it is possible to get a scholarship in the USA. Many universities, organisations, and foundations offer scholarships to international students. However, the competition for these scholarships is often high, and the eligibility criteria can be strict. Researching and applying for scholarships well in advance is essential, as well as ensuring you meet all the requirements.

  • Q. Is IELTS compulsory for an F1 visa?

    A. The IELTS (International English Language Testing System) is not mandatory for obtaining an F1 visa. Still, it may be required by the university or college you plan to attend in the United States. Each institution has its language proficiency requirements, so it’s best to check with them directly to confirm their specific requirements for admission.

  • Q. What are the USA Student visa fees in Indian rupees?

    A. To need to apply for an F1 student visa, you will need to pay a total of USD 510 (equivalent to INR 42,427). This is the America Study Visa Cost. It covers the cost of the F1 Visa application (USD 185 or INR 15,390) as well as other fees such as the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) fees and maintenance fees. So, the US visa fees in Indian rupees 2024 can fluctuate as per currency exchange.

lalitha manjunath
Lalitha Manjunath

My 8-year long journey as a SAT trainer has been paved with considerable success, excellent feedback, and extremely satisfactory learning outcomes.

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