What is Student Visa?
Student Visa, as indicated by the name is a type of visa that is only granted to the foreign students who intend to study in the colleges and universities of the United States of America. Without a valid student visa, a foreign student cannot be permitted to study in the US. Thus, an international student visa is extremely vital for getting admitted to foreign colleges and universities.
Types of International Visas for Students
Any of the international student coming to the United States of America would require visas but basically, there are three different types of visas that can be issued to the students. The types of visas are as described below.
This is one of the most common form visas that are issued to the students. The F1 student visa is issued to the students who come to the US for academic studies. The student might come for attending an academic course or program or a program of English Language. The student should possess a full – time student status and must be able to maintain the minimum load of the course which is intended to be done. This type of visa even allows a part time employment on the campus itself which should amount to less than a twenty hour every week. In an addition to this, the student can also opt for a practical training which is optional for a maximum duration of one year after the academic course has been completed.
This type of visa is issued to the students who come to the US for a practical training which is not available in the home country of the student for the completion of the academic course. The J1 visa allows the students with the same employment terms as in the case of the F1 visa but a valid permission is required from the exchange visitor of the concerned sponsor of the program.
The M1 visa is a completely non – academic in nature. This type of visa is issued to the ones who come to the US for any kind of vocational programs, technical programs or training that is not related to academics at all. The holders of this visa do not allow to work or engage in any kind of employment. Also, the applicants must provide sufficient proof of possessing the required money to pay all the costs for the programs and the living expenses for the entire duration of stay.
How to Apply for a Student Visa in the USA
Studying in the US is a dream for many but the question that arises in the mind first is how to get a student visa. Getting a student visa is the primary step towards studying in the US. Thus, it becomes extremely important to know the steps about how to apply for a student visa so that you can get one with ease. In general, the interested students need to go through five steps for the application for a visa which is as described below.
- First and foremost, an international student who intends to study in the United States of America should make sure to choose a program or institution which is approved and accredited by Student and Exchange Visitor Program abbreviated as SEVP of the government of the US. The accreditation is of utmost importance here which confirms that the degree is recognized by all. Thus, all the interested students should apply to an institution which is approved by SEVP to enhance their chances of getting the visa. It should be kept in mind that only the institutions that are approved by SEVP have the eligibility to enroll the students in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System abbreviated as SEVIS. After an acceptance from any institution, you will be getting a document which is called Form I – 20 (eligibility for an F or an M visa) or Form DS – 2019 (eligibility for a J visa)
- After the enrollment, SEVIS will provide the students with all the documents that are necessary for the student visa application. The next step is to pay the necessary fees of the SEVIS which must be done before the submission of the application of student visa at least three days earlier. This payment can be done both online and offline as per the convenience of the candidates but extreme care should be taken to fill in all the required details since the details should exactly match with the Form I – 20 or Form DS – 2019.
- Once the SEVIS form is received and the SEVIS fees are paid, the next step is to make an appointment with the embassy of the US in the home country for the application of the student visa. It is always recommended to start well in advance irrespective of the date of commencement of the program since the overall time taken for the processing of the application may vary at times. In this case, you need to complete the visa application form which is known as DS – 160 where you need to fill in all your personal details which include, family, work, education etc. You also need to give the passport details and most importantly the ID given by SEVIS. Also, the details of the institution where you wish to attend the program need to be furnished as mentioned in Form I – 20 or Form DS – 2019. You need to fulfill all the student visa requirements so that you become eligible to get the visa.
- The next step is to pay the application fee of the visa which is also called the Machine Readable Visa fee abbreviated as MRV fee. This payment can be done both online and offline as well by following the necessary steps. You should always remember to keep the receipt handy with you and produce it as per the requirements.
- The final step in getting the student visa is fixing an interview with the US embassy in your home country. This interview can be done online, physically in person or over the phone as per the convenience of the students. The application for a visa cannot be completed without the interview with a US embassy officer. The system is different in different countries but getting a student visa Canada is somewhat similar to the US.
Documents Required for the Visa Interview in the USA
There are a number of documents that you need to carry while attending the visa interview with the officer of the US embassy. A list of the documents required is as given below.
- The first requirement is a valid passport for a time period of at least six months added to the intended period of stay in the US. You might need to carry the old as well the new passport if there is any.
- Next is the duly signed Form I – 20 or Form DS – 2019 from the regulatory authority. If there are spouse and children individual forms are required for all.
- The form DS – 7002 which is only required in case of applicants for J -1 Visa.
- The receipt for the SEVIS fee should be presented which is extremely important in this case.
- The confirmation page of the online application form for a visa that is the Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application Form DS – 160. The presence of the barcode and the application ID number is mandatory otherwise it might result in a rejection of the visa.
- The confirmation payment receipt of the Machine Readable Visa fee is required to carry to the interview.
- The interview appointment letter should be carried to the interview failing to which would result in cancellation of the interview and it needs to be rescheduled again on a different date.
- Two copies of photographs should be printed on a quality paper should be carried to the interview. An important point to keep in mind here is that the photos should be in the exact prescribed format otherwise the application for a visa will be rejected.
- You should carry all the previous degrees and diplomas from all the previous institutions that you have attended.
- The scores from any of the standardize test which is required by the institutions like GRE, TOEFL, GMAT etc. should be presented in front of the interviewer.
- All the necessary financial proofs of yourself or your sponsor showing the possession of the required funds to cover all the expenses in the US including travel, living, tuition etc.
Tips to Attend the Interview for a Student Visa in the USA
Some of the useful tips for attending the interview are as follows.
- Reaching the interview on time is of utmost importance since a latecomer will have the interview to be rescheduled.
- You should be in formal dress while you go to attend the interview.
- You should not forget to carry any of the necessary documents to the interview.
- You should answer all questions without hesitation. All the answers must be prompt and clear since the English language skills are also assessed by the interviewer.
Following the above-mentioned tips will result in a successful interview and the chances to get the visa will be higher.