It gives me a great sense of pride to be a part of a country that houses that world’s most prominent universities, such as Harvard, Stanford, MIT Sloan School, Carnegie Mellon and more. These American institutions attract thousands of Indian students every year due to their quality education. Many of India’s leading academicians, politicians and renowned industrialists have honed their skills in such universities, which is encouraging other Indian students to follow suit.
According to an article published by The Economic Times on January 25, 2017, 1,65,918 Indian students sought and found a seat in around 4,726 colleges and universities across the US for higher education in 2015-16, a 25% rise from the previous year.
To enter America and study at an elite US institution, student needs to apply for an F1 student visa. However, before applying for the F1 Student Visa for the US, the student needs to apply for and be accepted by an SEVP approved school in the US for higher education. After being accepted, the student will require to pay the SEVIS I-901 Fee, which enrolls them in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). For this, you need to obtain a Form I-20 from the school, which needs to be presented to the US visa officer during the face-to-face interview.
Now, comes the important step of visa application. Here’s a quick guide that will help you understand the application process of the student visa (F1) for Indians.
F1 Student Visa Application
The F1 Visa is a common type of student visa, issued to applicants who desire to visit the US for the purposes of academic studies at an approved school, college or university, private secondary school, or approved English language program.
The F1 student visa application or the Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application (DS-160) form is available online, which allows you to complete and print Form DS-160. However, make sure that you read the Guidelines for Completing the DS-160 Form before filling the details in the form, since you can’t make any changes, once it is submitted. All the information provided by you should be true and correct. After submitting the form, pay the visa fees and schedule your visa appointment.
You should know that you need to schedule two appointments, one for the Visa Application Center (VAC) and one for the visa interview at the Embassy or Consulate. In the former interview, your fingerprints and photo will be taken. It is the latter interview that is rather serious and highly crucial in determining whether you’ll make it to the US for higher studies or not.
Documents Required for the F-1 Visa Interview
- Non-immigrant Visa Application, Form DS-160
- A valid passport
- The application fee payment receipt
- Certificate of Eligibility for Non-immigrant (F-1) Student Status (Form 1-20)
- Proof of financial stability
- A passport photo
Other documents may include academic transcripts, degrees, diplomas or certificates, anything that proves your eligibility for the F-1 student visa, along with test scores, such as SAT, GRE, TOEFL, or GMAT.
Now you are all set for the F-1 Visa Interview, where your visa will be approved at the discretion of the consular officer, given you meet all of the F-1 visa requirements.
All the best!
If you have any questions, let me know in comments.