How to Apply for US Student Visa? Full Application Guide

You must get a US student visa after accepting to the course of your dreams to study there.

10,000 of international students from all over the world come to the US each year to pursue higher education. The country is home to some of the most famous universities in the world, many of which have outstanding student cultures.

The requirements and paperwork for getting your student visa might seem to be overwhelming. But if you break down each process, completing a visa application is simple.

Before you go to the US to start your course, we’ll go through what a visa is, the many forms, and how to apply in this guide.

A US Student Visa: What Is It? Do You Need One?

All international applicantsthat is, those without US citizenship or permanent residencemust first get a US student visa to lawfully attend school in the US. This international student visa allows you to temporarily remain in the US while engaging in an authorized academic exchange program, language program, or school.

Your student visa expires after your course of study is complete. At that moment, you must depart from the US. (However, you may subsequently visit the US on a different visa, such as a work visa, as a tourist.)

US student visas come in three different categories:

  • F-1 visa: This visa is available to both undergraduate and graduate students who wish to study in the US for high school or college/university (including language programs).
  • M-1 visa: This visa is for a study that is not academic or vocational in the US. These courses are often brief and career-oriented. You may enroll in a medical training program or a culinary school, for instance.
  • J-1 visa: This visa is for exchange travelers, such as academics, au pairs, study abroad students, and interns.

International students often need an F-1 visa to enroll full-time in undergraduate or graduate programs. In contrast, you will need to apply for a J-1 visa if you intend to study abroad for just one or two semesters at a US institution (and wish to earn credits that transfer back to your home institution).

How Much is the Cost of a Visa?

The SEVIS fee and the fees associated with visa processing are both included in the typical cost of a student visa.

Depending on the sort of visa you are seeking, these fees vary slightly.

  • The SEVIS Fee for an F1 Student Visa is $350, and the visa application fee is $160.
  • The SEVIS Fee for an M1 Student Visa is $350, and the visa application fee is $160.
  • The SEVIS Fee for a J1 Exchange Visitor visa is $220, and the visa application fee is $160.

Checklist for US Student Visa Applications

Let’s briefly review the specific items you need in order before we go into how to apply for a student visa.


Every international student is expected to have a current passport that was issued by their native country. This passport must also be valid for at least another six months after your program in the US has ended. As a result, you are unable to use a passport that will expire while you are studying in the US or soon after it has ended. Instead, you must apply for and use a new passport.

Each country has different passport procedures and fees. For information on obtaining or renewing a passport, see the official website of your country.

Passport-Style Photograph

You must provide a recent (within the last six months) passport-style photograph with your application. This will eventually used as your visa photo when you apply for a visa online.

The US visas website offers detailed instructions on how to shoot and upload a visa photo along with samples of permitted and rejected images. As of November 2016, glasses are not allowed in visa images.


Last but not least, you’ll need to have enough cash on hand to cover the many visa-related fees. Later, we’ll go into further detail about these fees and how to pay them. However, the following is a brief outline of the fees for a US student visa:

  • I-901 SEVIS fee: For F-1/M-1 students, this cost is 350 USD, while for J-1 students, it is 220 USD (or 35 USD for those entering short-term J-1 programs). This cost must be covered by all applicants.
  • Visa application fee: 160 USD is required. This fee must be covered by all applicants.
  • Visa issuance fee (if required): Only specified nationalities that apply must pay this fee. Visit the US Visas website to find out if you need to pay a visa issuance fee.

How To Apply For A Visa To The US?

You may start the application procedure as soon as you select the type of visa you want for your US course. So that you may focus on your studies rather than hurry with a visa application, keep in mind that it is preferable to begin this procedure sooner rather than later.

Here, we provide a step-by-step tutorial on how to start and finish your complete US visa application.

#1 Registration

You must first register with SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System). As soon as you’ve been accepted by your university and have your I-20 form, you should ideally complete this. Additionally, a fee (SEVIS I-901) must be paid; you must save the receipt since you’ll need it later on in the application.

#2 Application Form

Next, fill out the application at the US Department of State Consular Electronic Application Centre (DS-160).

Here, you will supply personal information and official identification documentation. You might reveal your passport details, travel plans, previous trips to the US, career & educational background, and criminal and medical records.

You will also need your SEVIS ID (as included in your university-issued I-20 form). Immediately after completing this step, print the confirmation page.

#3Process Fee Payment

You must pay your visa processing fees using NEFT online or in person at an Axis or Citibank branch to continue. Get and save the payment confirmation receipts once done. How to do this will be explained to you during the application process.

#4 Biometrics and Book Interview

Next, schedule an appointment for your biometrics and visa interview at the nearest embassy. You may either make a reservation over the phone or online. For the above-mentioned payment, you must refer to your receipt number.

#5 Interview

Attend the visa interview and make sure you have all the documentation listed on the checklist below. Bring any receipts you have from transactions you made while applying as well.

You will participate in a brief interview with a government representative after applying. The interview conducted so the official learn your motivations for moving to the US and determine whether you become a real student.

The official will probably question you during the interview about your academic history, personal information, and the reasons you choose your university.

#6 Provide Passport

You then present your passport for examination and verification. When handing up your passport, you must ensure that it is valid and up-to-date. Your application for a visa can take longer if your passport outdated.

After 3-5 weeks of waiting until the checks finished, you will notice when you may pick up your passport.

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