USA Study Visa: A Complete Guide


Meridean Overseas

Updated On 05 January 2024 & Read Time 11 minutes


Have you received an offer letter from universities in the USA? Are you now in the process of applying for a USA Study Visa? If yes, then you must read this blog.


A USA Student Visa is a crucial step to studying at top renowned universities in the country. Although there are 3 types of study visas in the USA – F-1, J-1, and M-1 visas, which type of visa is suitable for you? This is the question that most of the students ask.


In this context, we have come up with this blog. Here, you will find the complete details of the USA Student Visa, its types, requirements, purpose, application process, cost, and visa interview. Therefore, read this blog, know the details before applying for a USA Study visa, and understand which type of visa is best for you.


USA Study Visa

The USA study visa, also known as a USA student visa, allows individuals from around the world to pursue education in the United States. This student visa is a gateway to accessing the world-class education system and plenty of academic opportunities the country offers.


Latest Update on USA Study Visa

The US government has recently introduced streamlined processes, digital enhancements, and policy updates to ensure a more efficient and applicant-friendly experience. Prospective Students must stay informed about these changes to navigate the application process effectively.


Several other notable changes and trends have been found in the student visa USA. Some of the latest updates regarding the USA Study Visa are given below. 

  • 29th November 2023 - According to a US State Department statement issued, between October 2022 and September 2023, the embassy and its consulates approved over 140,000 student visa for USA from India.

  • 30th June 2023 - In the summer of 2023, the US surpasses the record by awarding half a million Indian visas, well in advance of their goal of one million by year's end. This is the outcome of students' 50% shorter wait time to get a student visa for USA from India. Indian students can apply for interview seats in July and August of 2023. 

  • June 26, 2023 - Interviews for USA student visas are scheduled for this summer; candidates can reserve a time slot between mid-July and mid-August of this year. As per the official announcement, candidates can start scheduling their appointments. 


Also, Read: Upcoming Intakes to Study in USA


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Types of USA Student Visa

There are different types of student visas in the USA, each catering to specific educational programs. You can check the details below.


F1 Student Visa USA

The F1 visa is designed for students who want to study in the USA.  It is the most famous USA Study Visa as it is suitable for full-time UG and PG courses (courses in which more than 18 hours are required to study). To qualify for an F1 visa, applicants must have an offer letter from universities in the USA and prove financial ability to support and maintain a full course load during their studies.


Moreover, F1 visa holders are entitled for up to 12 months of optional practical training or OPT. This implies that you can begin working a year after completing your graduation. It is a short-term work permit that enables students to obtain real-world experience related to their course of study. If you need to keep working in the US after that, you will need to apply for a work visa.


J1 Exchange Visitor Visa USA

The J1 visa is intended for individuals, scholars, and working professionals participating in exchange programs or short-term programs. It requires sponsorship from a designated exchange program and is subject to specific program requirements.


M-1 Vocational/ Non-Academic Student Visa USA

The M-1 visa is for students pursuing non-academic or vocational studies. It is suitable for those enrolled in technical or vocational institutions. Like the F1 visa, applicants must have an acceptance offer and demonstrate financial capacity. However, an M-1 visa prevents students from overstaying in the USA.


USA Study Visa Requirements

Securing a USA study visa requires meeting specific criteria. The general USA study visa requirements are as follows - 

  • A passport that is currently valid and has at least 6 months remaining on it after your intended stay

  • A hard copy of the online application form, DS-160

  • SEVIS Fee Receipt

  • Appointment letter for interview (both original and copy)

  • Sending Form, I-20 from the college (where you plan to study)

  • Receipt for confirmation of payment for the visa fee

  • Bank statement (maybe a parent or guardian's) for the last three years demonstrating that you have sufficient assets to cover the first year's expenses

  • Salary/Pay Slips

  • Initial grade reports and temporary certifications

  • Exam results such as the TOEFL or IELTS as evidence of English proficiency. In addition to the results of the ACT or SAT for undergraduate admissions and the GMAT or GRE for graduate applications


Some financial documents are also required for USA Study Visa, which are given below.

  • 3 years' worth of tax returns (Form 16)

  • Passbooks and bank statements dating back three years

  • Original employment letters and pay/salary stubs

  • Verdict from a licensed CA

  • Scholarship letter (if it has been sent to the applicant)

  • The bank's or the relevant authority's letter of loan approval


The requirements may vary based on the type of visa and the applicant's specific circumstances. So, it is essential to check the document requirements to apply for a USA Student Visa.


How to Apply for a USA Study Visa?

The USA study visa process involves several key steps:


Step 1 - Obtain acceptance from a US university and receive the Form I-20 (for F1) or DS-2019 (for J1) from the school or program.


Step 2 - Pay the SEVIS fee online and receive a confirmation receipt.


Step 3 - Fill out the online nonimmigrant visa application (Form DS-160) and receive the confirmation page.


Step 4 - Schedule a visa interview at your home country's US embassy or consulate.


Step 5 - Prepare the required documents, including the acceptance letter, financial proof, SEVIS fee receipt, and passport.


Step 6 - Attend the scheduled visa interview, answer questions confidently, and present the necessary documents.


Step 7 - Some applicants may be required to provide biometric data as part of the application process.


Also, Read: Summer Intake in USA


Where to Apply for Student Visa USA?

Applicants should apply for a USA study visa at the US embassy or consulate in their home country. 

Apply for Student Visa USA




For the Biometrics interview


S - 1 American Plaza, (Hotel Eros Managed by Hilton), International Trade Tower Nehru Place, New Delhi - 110019


Trade Center, Ground Floor, G Block, Bandra Kurla Complex, Bandra East, Mumbai - 400051 


No 3, Cenotaph Road, Teynampet, Chennai, Tamil Nadu – 600018


1-8-384/385, Gowra Grand, S.P.Road, Begumpet, Secunderabad - 500003


Jasmine Tower, 31, Shakespeare Sarani (1st Floor) Kolkata – 700017

US Embassy and Consulates Addresses

New Delhi

Shanti Path, ChanakyaPuri 110021

Mumbai (Bombay)

C-49, G-Block, Bandra Kurla Complex, Bandra East, Mumbai 400051

Chennai (Madras)

220 Anna Salai, Gemini Circle, 600006

Kolkata (Calcutta)

5/1 Ho Chi Minh Sarani, 700071


Paigah Palace, 1-8-323, Chiran Fort Lane, Begumpet, Secunderabad 500 003

Student Visa USA Cost

The student visa USA cost includes components SEVIS fee and visa application fees. Check the details below. 

Student visa USA cost

Types of Student Visas

F1 Student Visa USA

J1 Visa USA

M1 Visa USA

SEVIS Amount




MRV Application Fee/ Visa Application Fee Amount




SEVIS Accepted Modes of Payment

Credit Card
Money Order/ Demand Draft

SEVIS Payable in

Dollars at the applicable exchange rate as determined by the bank

MRV Application/ Visa Application Accepted Modes of Payment

NEFT Online Transfer
Instant Money Transfer by Mobile - IMPS
By Cash at counters of Axis Bank/ Citibank

MRV Application/ Visa Application Payable in

Payable in INR at the Exchange Rate Fixed by the Consular Office (At present the exchange rate is fixed at $1 = INR 83.26)

Additional Student Visa Fees for USA

Applicants should budget for additional student visa fees for USA related to document preparation, travel to the embassy or consulate, and any required medical examinations. It is crucial for applicants to check the official US embassy or consulate website for the most up-to-date fee information.


USA Student Visa Processing Time

The processing time for a USA study visa can vary. On average, the processing time from submitting the visa application to receiving a decision range from 3-5 weeks to 2-3 months. However, if you receive a positive response from the embassy, you can get the hard copy of the USA Student Visa in 2-3 days. There are many factors behind this processing time, such as the time of year, the specific embassy or consulate, and the complexity of the application and visa types. Moreover, the F-1 Visa must be issued before 120 days of the commencement of your courses to study in USA.


USA Student Visa Interview Process

A USA Study visa interview is a vital step in the application process. The interview assesses the applicant's eligibility, intentions, and ability to study in the United States. USA Student Visa interview usually takes 4-5 minutes to complete. However, you have to carry all the required documents to study in USA. Here are the tips for a successful interview -  

  • Familiarise yourself with the visa requirements and have all necessary documents ready. 

  • Answer questions truthfully and confidently. 

  • Communicate your intent to study in the USA and return to your home country upon completion. 

  • Applicants should be aware of the specific requirements and expectations outlined by the US embassy or consulate where they are applying.


Scholarships for studying in USA

Financing education in the USA can be challenging. If you are a brilliant student, you can apply for scholarships for financial support. Numerous scholarships are available for international students who want to study in USA. Some top scholarships are given below. 

  • Fulbright Foreign Student Program - Offers scholarships for graduate-level study in the US 

  • Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program - Provides non-degree academic study and related professional experiences. 

  • Merit-Based Scholarships - Many US universities offer merit-based scholarships based on academic achievements. 


You can apply for scholarships that align with your academic and career goals. However, checking eligibility criteria, application deadlines, and submission requirements for each scholarship program is essential before applying.


Also, Read: Fall Intake in the USA



In conclusion, obtaining a USA study visa consists of careful planning, attention to detail, and staying updated on the latest changes. Above, we have covered everything about the USA Student Visa. We hope you now understand the visa application process, the types of visas available for international students, visa costs, where to apply, the interview process, and scholarship opportunities. By following the step-by-step procedure to submit your student visa for USA from India and being well-prepared for an interview, you can increase your chances of successfully applying to the United States.


We hope this blog will be helpful for you to apply for a student visa USA. However, if you have doubts and are seeking to study in the USA, contact our expert counsellors at Meridean Overseas Education Consultants (MOEC). You can also take free online counselling through our website. Our expert counsellors will provide you with the best support and guidance you need for admission and visa. In addition, they will help you shortlist the universities according to your profile. For more information or any queries, contact or 1800-1230-00011.


Contact our counselors for application details


Q1. What are the main differences between F1, J1, and M-1 student visas?

Ans. F1 visas are for academic students, J1 visas are for exchange visitors, and M-1 visas are for vocational/non-academic students. Each visa type has specific eligibility criteria and purposes.


Q2. What are the general requirements for obtaining a USA study visa?

Ans. General requirements include acceptance from a US institution, financial proof, completion of Form DS-160, and payment of the SEVIS fee. Additional requirements may apply based on the specific visa type.


Q3. How much does it cost to apply for a USA study visa?

Ans. The cost includes the SEVIS fee (varies by visa type), a visa application fee of $160, and additional costs for document preparation and travel to the embassy or consulate.


Q4. What tips do you have for a successful USA study visa interview?

Ans. Be well-prepared with all necessary documents, answer questions truthfully and confidently, express your intent to study in the US, and familiarise yourself with the specific requirements of the embassy or consulate where you are applying.

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