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Application to Approval: Everything You Need to Know About US Student Visa

Oct 07, 2023

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If you are planning on studying in the US, then getting an admission is only the first step. To be able to get into the country and legally stay there for the duration of your course, you are required to have a visa permit approved by the US government.

Once you get admission you need to make sure you apply for the visa soon i.e., at least three to four months in advance of the class start date to ensure smooth processing. 

In this article, we will break down the entire student visa USA application process for international students so you can be well prepared and go through the process smoothly.

Step-by-Step Process for USA Student Visa 

1. Get an Admission at a SEVP Accredited University

Prior to applying for a visa make sure that the university or institute you plan on studying in is accredited by the US government’s Student and Exchange Visitors Program (SEVP). This is extremely crucial as only the universities accredited by SEVP are recognised worldwide and only they can get you enrolled in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) which is important to get the visa. 

Your SEVP approved university will be able to provide you with the necessary documents for the visa application. Once you get accepted by an institution, the university will enrol you in the SEVIS system and you will be sent a document called Form I-20 if you are eligible for an F-1 visa or not. Once you’ve been sent the document showing your eligibility for an F-1 visa you can continue further with the visa process.

2. Submitting USA Visa Application

A DS-160 is an online non-immigrant visa application form for a temporary stay in the US. It is mandatory for international students to submit this form to the Department of State website. You need to fill and submit this form before you can apply for the interview process as it is one of the key factors in deciding the eligibility for a non-immigrant visa. Once that is approved you can proceed further with the visa process.

3. Pay the Visa Fee

Once you have completed your visa application form, the next step is paying the visa fees. At present the student visa fee is $185. This visa fee can be paid in USD or the local currency. There are varied visa fee payment options available like Online Banking Transfer, Online Payment with a Debit Card, and Cash at Citi Bank. After paying this fee, you will get a receipt with the acknowledgment number. This number will be required to book the visa appointment. 

4. Schedule the Visa Appointment 

After paying the visa application fee, you can schedule your interview within the next business day. Login to your visa application profile and click on the schedule appointment button on the dashboard. Schedule two appointments simultaneously, one for the Visa Application Center (VAC) and another for the visa interview at the Embassy or Consulate.

Three essential information required for scheduling the visa appointment are your passport number, the visa application fee receipt number and the ten-digit barcode number from your DS-160 confirmation page. So, ensure that you have all this information handy while applying for the visa. 

5. Pay the SEVIS Fee

To enrol in the SEVIS, you will have to pay a fee at least 3 days prior to submitting the USA visa application. You can pay the fee by filling out an online or paper form through the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) website. 

The payment process and details are clearly mentioned on the website, once the fee is paid you can download the receipt anytime. Make sure to print the receipt as you will need it later during the visa interview.

After the SEVIS form is filled and the fee is paid you need to make an appointment with a US consulate or embassy in your country. It’s best to apply at the earliest as the visa processing time may vary. Keep in mind, that you can issue the visa 365 days before you have to enter the US, but you can only enter the country 30 days prior to start your study in America.

6. Visa Interview Process

The final step is to apply, attend or appear for the visa interview. You can easily do so either online or by calling your nearest US consulate or embassy. 

On the day of the interview make sure to be on or before time. During this interview, the interviewer will determine whether you are qualified to receive the student visa and if so, which category of visa is appropriate for you. 

You will be assessed on the basis of questions regarding your ties to your hometown, education qualifications, English language skills, the program you have applied for higher education abroad in the US, and proof of your financial resources.

Once the interviewer has given their approval, your visa will be shortly delivered to your mailing address, or you can collect the visa from the courier provider. The duration of receiving the visa will vary depending on the number of applications and student traffic for the visa.

Documents Required for Visa Interview 

During the visa interview make sure to have these documents handy:

  • Passport with validity of at least 6 months beyond your period of stay in the US.
  • Printed copies of SEVIS and DS-160 payment confirmation,
  • 1 Photo for your Visa Application (the photo is taken digitally but could be handy in case of a technical glitch)
  • Bank statements or other Proof of Finance
  • School Transcripts and Official Test Scores cited on the University Application
  • Diploma (if applicable)
  • Standardised Test Scores
  • Evidence of your intention to depart the country upon completion of your course.

Summing up the visa application process for studying in the USA, this is everything that you must know. 

If you too are a study abroad aspirant who wishes to pursue their higher education in the USA then you can connect with KC Overseas to know about the complete admission process. We will provide you with assistance throughout, right from letting you know how to get admission in USA to help you obtain the visa to get in USA.

Reach out to us for our US experts assistance! We wish you all the best for this new educational journey and hope you excel in your future endeavours!

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