Student Visa: The complete process | homeis

Student Visa: The complete process | homeis

Student Visa: The complete process | homeisPhoto by Dylan Gillis

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Whenever you plan to move out from your country and pursue a higher degree in a foreign land it’s mandatory to obtain a visa. If you wish to enter the United States, your 1st step should be applying for the student visa. Your course of study and the type of school you plan to attend determine whether you need an F visa or an M visa.

Qualifications & Admissions

What is M visa

M visa is just a study visa. Generally, it belongs to ‘full course study’ which means studying in college with at least 12 semester or quarter hours with the only exception that “The M student visa” holder needs a smaller course load to complete the study. This means this is not principally academic in nature at an established vocational or other recognized non-academic institution such as a post-secondary vocational or business school. The M visa is classified into M1 and M2 visas. M1 visa is used by a person who wishes to do the non-academic or vocational courses. The M2 visas are given to the dependents for spouse and unmarried minor children.

The M1 visa allows some employment with restrictions. M visa holders are only allowed to work on campus, part-time when school is open and full-time during breaks. The maximum amount of time you can work is 6 months.

What is F 1 visa

F 1 is full-time student visa. Most of the students apply for this visa. It’s mandatory for F-1 students to maintain the minimum course load for full-time student status. The F1 student visa holder can remain in the US for up to 60 days and beyond the length of time to complete its academic course. F visa is classified into F1 and F 2, the F2 visas are given to the dependents for a spouse.

Steps for issuing a student visa

Applying to universities

Of course, before applying for the Visa you need to apply to different universities that offer your course of interest. Every university has different requirements for application and you should check on the university’s website for them. Get in touch with your university and they will tell you the required documents in order for your application to get accepted.

Also, it’s mandatory to show you have enough money to support your education and living expenses in the USA. You may have to show health insurance in order to cover any medical expenses should you need any medical assistance. Once the university has determined that your application is complete and you are academically eligible, they will issue an I-20 form to enable you to apply for your student visa.

Pay the I-901 SEVIS Fee:

Once you receive your I-20 from your school, go online and pay the I-901 SEVIS fee. The fee is 200 USD for F-1 students, and you can pay it by credit card.

Forms Required

Visa Application Form Ds-160 & Interview Scheduling

You need to compete online visa application known as form DS- 160, right after that you need to print the application page and bring those pages along with other documents for the interview.

There are several steps to apply for a visa. It’s always advisable to visit the official website of USCIS before applying for any visa. There are certain rules which may vary at different US embassies, read all the instruction carefully before applying for any visa. Follow the link for more information.

Embassy or consulate website.

Be it F or M, visas for new students can be issued up to 120 days in advance of the start date for a course of study. Also, you will not be allowed to enter the United States on your student visa for more than 30 days before the start date of your academic course.

Documents required for a student visa

  • Passport – Your passport must be valid for at least six months
  • Online application form DS- 160
  • Application fee payment receipt
  • Photo(mostly it’s taken in the consulate on the day of bio-metrics, get in touch with the embassy for more information on this )Photograph Requirements.
  • Official original I- 20 issued from the school. You and your school official must sign the Form I-20.
  • Transcripts and diplomas, a degree from the previous school you have attended in your country.
  • Test scores that you have applied to get admission in your respective school. (GRE, TOFEL, IELTS)
  • Financial documents to show you can support your education and living expenses in the states.
  • Last and important your intent to return to your homeland after completing your studies.

It’s always advisable to take as many documents as possible its acts as evidence to show your ties to your home county. Such evidence can include:

  • Ownership of property
  • Proof that you have your family in your home country such as your parents, brothers, sisters.
  • Evidence of a mortgage payment
  • Letter from a future employer stating that you have a job offer when returning home
  • Assets, a car or anything else that can show that your intention is to return to your home country.

Pay the VISA application fee:

You have paid the SEVIS fee, and you have to pay the visa application fee to schedule your interview. The fee payment methods vary based upon your country of residence, so make sure ti check it. In person at an approved bank — is the most common procedure for paying your visa application fee. And, don’t forget to keep the fee receipt with you on the visa interview day.

Interview Stage

  • This is the final step — either you will be getting your visa or it will be rejected. Before you attend make sure you have all the required documents with you. These documents may include:
  • Passport valid for at least six months beyond your period of stay in the US.
  • Signed SEVIS Form I-20 or DS-2019 (including individual forms for spouse/children)
  • SEVIS fee receipt
  • DS-160 application confirmation page with barcode and application ID number
  • VISA fee payment confirmation receipt
  • Printed copy of visa interview appointment letter
  • 1–2 photographs in the format explained in the photograph requirements. Should be printed on photo quality paper.
  • Your particular embassy may require additional forms and documentation, such as:
  • Official transcripts from colleges/universities you’ve attended
  • Diplomas/degrees from high schools/colleges/universities you’ve attended
  • Standardized test scores (if required by your US school)
  • Proof of sufficient funds
  • Proof of your intent to depart the US at the end of your program

Please arrive on time for the interview — late applicants may be asked to reschedule for another day. You will go through a rigorous security check and your digital fingerprints will be taken as a part of your application process just before the interview.

The purpose of the visa interview is for the consular officer to determine your credibility for getting the F1 visa. You will be asked regarding your academic background, the program in the US to which you have been admitted, about your research plan, your ties to your home country, proof of financial resources, and, obviously, your plan after your graduation.

Getting A Student Visa

Your VISA has been approved!!!

Everyone after the interview would like to hear that. However, the consular officer might put your name on further background check — which is known as administrative processing, which requires you to to wait additional time for receiving your visa. This administrative processing times vary depending on country. You will also be informed how and when your passport with the visa will be returned to you.


In conclusion, the process is a s follows:

  • Shortlist the universities you want to apply to.
  • Send your applications based on the requirement criteria for each university.
  • get an Admit from a university along with the form i-120
  • Make sure your bank accounts show the required funds for the course. In many cases an approved loan from a bank will do.
  • Apply for the Visa category best suited to you by filling the form DS 160
  • Pay the fees
  • Appear for the interview

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