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US Student Visa Application Process | Full Guide |

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TYPES OF US STUDENT VISA

If you’re planning to Study in the US – either for a shorter period or for a full degree – you’ll have to make a US Student Visa Application . Here’s a quick sneak peek into the three types of non-immigrant UK student visas.

F Visa:

This type of US student visa is for international students who intend to pursue an academic degree at an accredited US college or university.

Below are the 3 types of F visas:

  • F-1 visas are for students enrolling in full-time courses.
  • F-2 visas are for dependents of F-1 visa holders (spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21), including same-sex married couples.
  • F-3 visas are for ‘border commuters’—Canadian and Mexican students who reside in their country of origin while attending part/full time school in the US.

M visa:

This category of US student visa is for international students who intend to engage in non-academic or vocational study or training at any institution in the US. They are further classified into three types, which will be discussed in another blog.

J visa:

This is the third type of US student visa exclusively for international exchange visitors that are participating in programmes promoting cultural exchange in the US. The students shall meet the eligibility criteria of the programme in question (whether it be medical, business, or other training programme) and the programme shall be sponsored by a private sector or government authority. Holders of J visas usually stay in the US for a comparatively shorter period of time, like for one or two semesters (depending on the programme). They further come in 2 types, which we will learn about some other time as they are not very common. In this article, we are majorly going to talk about the F-1 US Student Visa Application Process in depth as it is the most frequently applied for visa for studying in the US.

F-1 STUDENT VISA

The F-1 student visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows international students to study at institutions recognised by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program in the United States (SEVP). It is the most common type of student visa for students interested in studying at an American university or college, and only after your application has been accepted by an accredited US institution can you apply for an F-1 visa. The length of your stay as an F-1 student will be determined by the programme in which you enrol. The expiration date of the programme will be listed on the I-20 form provided by the university you wish to attend. You must complete your degree before the listed expiration date, which will give you an idea of how long you can stay in the United States. You may be eligible to apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT) after graduation. This will allow you to work in the United States in a field related to your studies for up to 12 months. STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) graduates can request two years of additional work in a related field. If you have no extensions or additional training, you must return to your country of residence within 60 days of graduation.

F-1 VISA APPLICATION PROCESS

STEP 1: Paying the SEVIS application fee

The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) is the Web-based, fully automated system that is used by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to maintain information on Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)- certified schools and F-1 and M-1 students who come to the US to attend those schools. It is a critical tool that protects national security while supporting the legal entry of more than one million F, M, and J non-immigrants to the United States for education and cultural exchange. The SEVIS fee that the student must pay is $350.

STEP 2: Completing the DS-160 form.

The DS-160, or Online Non-immigrant Visa Application form, is used for temporary travel to the United States. Consular officers use the information entered in the DS- 160 form to process the visa application and, combined with a personal interview, determine an applicant's eligibility for a non-immigrant visa. The applicant has to pay the $160 DS-160 fee, which will cover the cost of submitting the DS-160 F-1 visa application form to the US government. Students can apply for an F1 Student Visa through this website: https://ceac.state.gov/genniv/.

STEP: 3 Scheduling a US Visa appointment

To book a visa appointment, go to the U.S. Embassy’s website, select the country and the embassy nearest to you! Then finish that process and pay for your visa appointment. You can also save the application as it is and come back to it later if you can’t complete it all at once! You can book the appointment using this link: https://cgifederal.secure.force.com/. The student is responsible for paying the $160 visa fee while booking an appointment.

STEP 4: Begin preparing for your visa interview.

Prepare well for the visa interview as it is the last peg in our process. We would recommend getting professional help for your visa preparation as it is quite technical and can be overwhelming for first time applicants. Meridian Overseas has trained thousands of students for successful visa interviews. You can also visit our Visa Achiever’s list on our site. Some frequently asked questions in a visa interview are listed below. Your interviewer will ask you questions in order to determine:

  • Are you a genuine student?
  • Do you have the financial means to pay for your studies?
  • Will you go back to your country or not after completing your degree?

DOCUMENTS REQUIRED FOR F-1 VISA APPLICATION

MAJOR

  1. Offer letter from the university where the student has applied.
  2. Payment receipt for SEVIS fee
  3. Statement of Purpose
  4. Academic papers
  5. Financial records
  6. Support affidavit
  7. Score reports that are formalised
  8. I-20
  9. Confirmation of appointment.

You may be nervous about your visa interview as an international student. While feeling nervous is normal, remember to take deep breaths and avoid being stressed.

SUPPORTING

  1. A passport that is valid for at least six months following your visit
  2. An up-to-date passport photograph is required.
  3. DS-160 confirmation page.
  4. SEVIS application fees must be paid.
  5. Non-immigrant visa application
  6. Before you submit your application, your university will notify you if any additional criteria are required.

After graduation, F1 student visa holders are eligible for up to 12 months of OPT (Optional Practical Training), which is temporary work authorization that allows the student to gain practical experience in their subject after the course is completed

F-1 VISA DENIALS

Carefully read and follow all instructions to avoid having your F-1 student visa application denied. Before submitting your application, always double-and triple- check your documents. Remember that during your F-1 student visa interview, you must demonstrate that you are travelling to the United States to study and intend to return to your home country once your programme is completed.

MAINTAING F-1 VISA STATUS

You must actively maintain your F-1 status as an international student in order to continue studying in the US. To do so, you must follow both university regulations and codes of conduct, as well as the requirements and conditions outlined in your F- 1 visa.

STUDY IN US GUIDELINES:

  • Arrive in the United States no more than 30 days before the start of your programme.
  • When you arrive at your university, make contact with your DSO before the start date listed on your I-20 form.
  • While studying in the United States, you must attend all of your classes and maintain good academic standing.
  • f you require additional time to complete your program that exceeds the end date specified in your I-20, speak with your DSO about possible extensions.
  • During your academic term, enrol in a full course of study.
  • If you want to drop a class or switch classes, consult with your DSO first.
  • If you want to take a break or go on vacation, remember that you must first finish at least one full academic year at your institution. You must also register for classes for the following academic term after your vacation.

For further information related to the US Student Visa Application Process, you can contact the educational counsellors at any branch of Meridean Overseas. You can book free online counselling session through our website. For more details or queries, you can mail us at application02@meridean.org or you can call us at our toll-free number 1800-1230-00011.

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