US F1 Visa For Indians: The Requirements, The Fees, and Processing Times

05-Sept-2022

13 min read

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Explore vast academic opportunities that United States has to offer when it comes to the Higher education, it is well known for the for offering variety of degrees.

International students who are planning to pursue degrees in full-time academic programs for Bachelor’s, Master’s, or doctoral programs in the USA for Indians must obtain an F-1 student visa. As an Indian student, your course of study, the US university you plan to attend, and the exact type of visa you’ll need. You’ll need to work with educational advisers to learn the steps required to obtain the correct US F1 visa for Indians.

Who Needs a US F1 VISA

Any foreign country citizen seeking to enter the United States of America generally must first obtain a USA visa, which is placed in the traveler’s passport, a travel document issued by your home country. However, sure international travelers may be eligible to travel to the USA without a visa if they meet the US student visa requirements for visa-free travel.

The USA supports international education and welcomes international students and exchange visitors. However, before applying for a US F1 Visa For Indians (USA student visa), students and exchange visitors must be accepted by their schools or program sponsors.

Please note that the Department of State has authorized consular officers to waive the in-person interview requirement for certain visa applicants through 31 December 2022.

The new authorization applies to Indian citizens travelers with the US visa application for US f1visa for Indians, H-1 visa for Indians, H-3 visa for Indians, H-4 visa for Indians, non-blanket L visa for Indians, M visa for Indians, O visa for Indians, P visa for Indians, Q visa for Indians, and academic J-1 visas who were previously issued any type of visa if they are applying for a USA visa from India. The authority does not apply to Indian nationals previously denied a US visa. That denial has not since been waived or overturned. If the adjudicating consular officers need more information from the applicants, they may ask for an in-person interview.

What Is A US Study Visa For Indians

When you wish to study in the US, you need a student visa, also referred to as a US F1 visa for Indians (F or M). After entering on a visitor (B) visa or through the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), foreign nationals are not permitted to pursue further education, except for leisurely (non-credit) study as part of a visit.

A Visitor (B) visa could be suited for a short period of time of leisure studies. For example, a short recreational course of study that does not count toward a degree or academic diploma may be taken with a visitor (B) visa. However, study leading to the U.S. conferred degree or certificate is never permitted on a visitor (B) visa, even for a short duration. For example, a student in a distance learning program. Requires a period of time on the institution’s U.S. campus and must obtain US F1 Visa For Indians before entering the United States.

F1 Visa For Indians

The F1 Visa For Indians is the most common type of student visa. You require an F1 Visa For Indians if you want to pursue academic studies in the United States at an authorized institution. Such as an accredited USA college or university (higher education), a private high school, or an authorized English language program. You will also need an F1 Visa For Indians if your course of study is more than 18 hours a week.

U.S. public high schools: The U.S. law does not permit international students to attend public elementary school (kindergarten to 8th grade) or a publicly funded adult education program. Hence, US F1 Visa For Indians cannot be issued for study at such schools.

An F1 Visa For Indians can be issued for attendance at a public high school (grades 9 to 12). Still, the student is limited to 12 months at the school. The school must also indicate on Form I-20 that the student paid the unsubsidized cost of the education and the amount submitted by the student for that purpose.

M1 Visa For Indians

Suppose you plan to engage in non-academic or vocational study or training at a U.S. institution. In that case, you need an M-1 visa for Indians. More information about each of these visas and opportunities for studying in the United States can be found at Education USA.

U.S. public high schools: Foreign students are not permitted by American law to enroll in a publicly sponsored adult education program or an elementary public school (kindergarten through eighth grade). Hence, F1 Visa For Indians cannot be issued for study at such schools.

How To Check Visa Eligibility

While you want to start your US F1 visa for Indians, you need to check your eligibility before yo start.

Student Acceptance At A SEVP Approved School

The first step is to apply to a SEVP-approved school in the United States. After the SEVP-approved school accepts your enrollment, you will be registered for the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) and must pay the SEVIS I-901 fee. The SEVP-approved school will issue you a Form I-20. After you receive the Form I-20 and register in SEVIS, you may apply at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate for a student (F or M) visa. You must present the Form I-20 to the consular officer when you attend your visa interview.

Suppose your family members and dependents intend to live with you in the United States while you study. In that case, they must also enroll in SEVIS, obtain individual Form I-20s from the SEVP-approved school, and apply for a visa (but they do not pay the SEVIS fee). You can learn more on the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Student and Exchange Visitor Program.

Validity Of Student Visas Following A Study Break

If you lose your student status for your US F1 Visa For Indians, it would also be invalid for upcoming travel to the United States unless USCIS reinstates the student status. Moreover, you can consult the USCIS and the instructions for Form I-539, Application for Extension/Change of Nonimmigrant Status.

Students visiting the United States after leaving the country

Unless their activities are connected to their course of study, students may lose their US F1 Visa For Indians or M-1 status if they leave the country for a break in their studies of five months or longer. Suppose there is doubt whether their activity relates to their course of study. In that case, students may want to check with their designated school official before leaving.

A returning Indian citizens student who has been out of the country and out of student status as a student for more than five months may be found ineligible by a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) immigration officer at the port of entry if the student presents a previously used, unexpired US F1 Visa For Indians or M-1 visa. After allowing the student to withdraw their admissions application, CBP may cancel the US F1 Visa For Indians. To avoid delays while returning to the United States to resume their studies after a more than five-month leave unrelated to their course of study, students should apply for new visas at a US embassy or consulate in India.

What Are The Visa Requirements

Like any other visa application, when you are applying for the US F1 visa For Indians, you will need to submit the supporting documents along with your US F1 Visa For Indians. The required documents are as follows.

  • A Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application (DS-160) Form.

  • A valid passport for travel to the United States with a validity date at least six months beyond your intended period of stay in the United States. If more than one person is included in your passport, each person desiring a US F1 Visa For Indians must apply.

  • One 2 x 2 inch (51 x 51 mm) photograph was taken within the last six months. This web page has information about the required photo format.

  • If a US F1 Visa For Indians is issued, there may be an additional visa issuance reciprocity fee.

  • An approved original signed Form I-20 from your U.S. school or program.

  • Photocopy of Marriage certificate for all spouses of principal applicants .

  • Bank statements.

  • The Original mark sheets/Provisional Certificates, the Score sheet of exams like TOEFL, GMAT, GRE, and IELTS.

How To Apply For Visa

The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) program requires schools and exchange programs to verify the enrollment status of all new and continuing international students and exchange visitors in. the US. In addition, US student visa applicants must pay a SEVIS fee before issuing a visa. The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) is the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) program that administers the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS).

To maintain national security, it makes sure that US government organizations have crucial information about nonimmigrant students and exchange guests. In addition to approving and monitoring the enrollment of F1 Visa For Indians and M-1 visas for Indian nonimmigrant students, SEVP also advises schools and students on the requirements for preserving their status.

Applying For the US F1 Visa For Indians

The process of applying for a visa involves multiple steps. Depending on the U.S. Embassy or Consulate, these stages may not be followed in this order or the same way. You must:

  • Complete the Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application, Form DS-160
  • Print the application form confirmation page to bring to your interview.
  • Photo –You will upload your photo while completing the online Form DS-160.

Finding a U.S. Higher Education Institution

EducationUSA is the Department of State’s official advising network providing accurate, comprehensive, and current information on higher education. In India, three EducationUSA partners administer seven centers in Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chennai, New Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkataand Mumbai employing more than 30 student advisors.

Schedule Your Appointment

Typically, a foreign national wishing to enter the United States must first secure a US F1 Visa For Indians, either an immigrant visa for long-term residency or a nonimmigrant visa for short-term visitation. The Visa Waiver Program may also allow citizens of certain nations to visit the United States without a visa. You must apply for a nonimmigrant visa if you are going to study abroad, work (work visa), or participate in an exchange program. You are not eligible for the Visa Waiver Program.

Applicants for U.S. visas must appear in person for an appointment at the Visa Application Center (VAC) and the visa interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate. You must schedule the VAC appointment at least one day before the interview appointment date. You can schedule both appointments either online on GC Federal or through the call center.

Optional Practical Training (OPT)

F-1 visa holders may be eligible for up to 12 months of optional practical training following completion of all course requirements for graduation (not including thesis or equivalent) or after completion of all requirements. Optional Practical Training is separate from a student's academic work, and time for Optional Practical Training will not generally be reflected during the student's academic program or in the finished study date. Students may produce an I-20 with an initial end-of-study date that may have already passed when applying for US F1 Visa For Indians to participate in Optional Practical Training.

These I-20s, however, must be marked by the designated school official to indicate that an OPT program that lasts past the conclusion of the ordinary period of study(Study visa) has been approved. A Form I-797 notes that an Optional Practical Training application is still pending or an authorized Employment Authorization Card is an acceptable form of documentation for the student to show that USCIS has approved their practical training program.

What Are The Visa Fees

To start the visa application process for a US F1 Visa For Indians or the M-1 visa for Indians, you must pay your $160 application fee and submit the documents specified on What Are The Visa Requirements.

You also need to have an interview appointment letter confirming from the interviewer attesting to the fact that you scheduled your appointment through their service. Additionally, you are welcome to bring any documents that you feel will help the consular officer understand the information you have supplied. In most situations, whether a visa is awarded or not, each visa applicant—including children—must pay a non-refundable, non-transferable Machine Readable Visa (MRV) application cost. The type of visa you want to apply for will decide the visa application fee.

Remember, the MRV fee is non-refundable.

What Is The Visa Processing Times

The estimated wait time for an interview appointment at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate can change weekly and is based on actual incoming workload and staffing. Therefore, these are estimates only and do not guarantee the availability of an appointment.

Administrative Processing

These time estimates do not account for administrative processing time, which could impact some applications. The timing will vary depending on the particulars of each situation when administrative processing is necessary.

Check the estimated wait time for a nonimmigrant visa interview appointment at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate. The length of time required for administrative processing, which may affect some applications, is not considered in these time estimates. When administrative processing is required, the exact timing will vary depending on the specifics of each circumstance.

The U.S. Embassy Or Consulate In New Delhi

The visa Appointment wait time for the Nonimmigrant Visa Type Visitor Visa is 575 Calendar Days US F1 Visa For Indians is 486 Calendar Days All Other Nonimmigrant Visas is 58 Calendar Days

The U.S. Embassy Or Consulate In Mumbai

The visa Appointment wait time for the Nonimmigrant Visa Type Visitor Visa is 532 Calendar Days US F1 Visa For Indians is 43 Calendar Days All Other Nonimmigrant Visas is 241 Calendar Days

The U.S. Embassy Or Consulate In Chennai

The visa Appointment wait time for the Nonimmigrant Visa Type Visitor Visa is 521 Calendar Days US F1 Visa For Indians is 14 Calendar Days All Other Nonimmigrant Visas is 79 Calendar Days

What Are The Common Questions Asked In US F1 Visa For Indians Interview?

So as you are preparing for the US F1 Visa for Indians you will be asked for an in-person interview. here are some Interview questions you can start preparing.

  • Why have you chosen this specific University?

  • Which all universities did you apply to (both admits and rejects) .

  • Where did you complete your bachelor's?

  • Who is sponsoring you?

  • What does your father/mother do?

  • What is your father's/mother's/sponsor's Income?

ALL DONE!

Now that you know how to apply for the US F1 visa for Indians, go on and start that visa application process.

Written By: Mable Chidi

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is An I-20, And How Do I Get It?

The Form I-20 is an official U.S. Government form issued by a certified school, which a prospective nonimmigrant student must have to get a US F1 Visa For Indians or an M-1 visa. Form I-20 acts as proof of acceptance and contains the information necessary to pay the SEVIS I-901 fee, apply for a visa or change visa status, and be admitted into the United States. The Form I-20 has the student's SEVIS identification number, which starts with the letter N and is followed by nine digits, on the upper right-hand side directly above the barcode.

How Early Should I Apply For My Student Visa?

You are encouraged to apply for your nonimmigrant US student visa as soon as you have your I-20. You may apply at any time to ensure you get an early and timely date. However, a US student visa may be issued no more than 120 days before the start date mentioned on your I-20 I Received My US F1 Visa For Indians; when Should I Travel?

You may only enter the United States within 30 days of the beginning of the course of the study stated on your I-20, regardless of when your US F1 Visa For Indians was issued.

Can a person on a visitor visa change their status to a student while in the United States if they gain admission to a school and gets a Form I-20?

Yes. In general, you are qualified to seek to alter your nonimmigrant visa status if you were lawfully admitted to the country with a F1 Visa USA. Your F1 Visa USA status is still current, and you haven't broken any rules governing your status. You haven't done anything that would disqualify you.

What If I receive An I-20 To A Different School?

Suppose you received an I-20 after scheduling your appointment. In that case, you can inform the U.S. consular officer of the new I-20 at the time of the interview.

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