If you have secured admission or are applying to a School, University or Academic Program is the United States, you will need to know about how to get the US Student Visa and secure yourself through a student travel and medical insurance.
Since India is not a member of the US Visa Waiver Program, all Indian students travelling to study, work or participate in an exchange program, will indeed need a non-immigrant US Student visa for temporary stay or an immigrant visa for permanent residence.
A non-immigrant visa is meant for students intending to stay for a particular period of time in the United States to accomplish specific purposes. Applicants for the US Student Visa must adequately demonstrate to the Visa Officer at the Consulate that they have strong ties with India. They must also show that they will leave the United States after their temporary stay duration is over and their purpose for stay is achieved.
US Student Visa types
Choose the relevant visa when you apply. This is a critical step and you can’t afford to get this wrong. If you have any friend studying in the same University or School, there is no harm in confirming the correct type with her/him as well.
|US Student Visa Type for Indians||Study type||US Student Visa Sub-type|
|Private Elementary School, High School, College, University, Seminary, Conservatory, Another academic institution, including a language training program. Also includes Students for full-time academic programs for bachelors, masters or doctoral programs.||
F-1 visas : full-time students.
F-2 visas : dependents of F-1 visa holders (spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21), includes same-sex married couples.
|Practical training that is not available in India to complete an Academic Program, Participants in exchange or trainee programs. Typically includes university professors, researchers, post-doctoral fellows and trainees.||
J-1 visas : exchange students on a relevant exchange program.
J-2 visas : dependents of J-1 visa holders (as for F-2 visas)
|Vocational or other recognized nonacademic institution, other than a language training program, which are typically of short duration and lead to professional or vocational certification rather than an academic degree.||
M-1 visas : students engaging in vocational or non-academic studies.
M-2 visas : dependents of M-1 visa holders (as in F-2 visas).
Derivative Visas : Those holding F-2, M-2 and J-2 visas can study in the US if they meet their school/university’s criteria. They need not apply for an F-1, M-1 or J-1 visa, but can apply if eligible. J-2 visa holders can enroll as recreational or degree-seeking students, either full- or part-time, and discontinue their program at any time. If the J-1 visa holder is not subject to the two-year home residency requirement, J-2 visa holders can request change to F-1 student status if they haven’t completed their academic program by the time the principle J-1’s status has ended. F-2 and M-visa holders are not allowed to work, and must secure an appropriate work visa if seeking employment. J-2 visa holders may request work authorization from USCIS by submitting form I-765.
Application and US Student Visa Fees
The first step is to create your profile online, and choose the Schedule Appointment option.
As at the time of publishing this article (Nov 2015), the US Student Visa fees for Indian students with visa type F, J and M, is US $ 160 (roughly Rs. 11,000 at current exchange rates). Fees need to be paid in Indian rupees through NEFT or over-the-counter at designated branches of Axis Bank or Citibank. You can also pay using your mobile, through IMPS, if you have a valid MPIN. Payment receipt may take up to 2 working days to be activated. US Student Visa fees are non-refundable.
Interview is generally required for all students unless they are 13 years old, or younger. Unlike earlier, you can now schedule your interview at any of the five US Consulates in India. For the interview, you have a choice of language as well. Wait times for interview vary as per interview location, season, and visa type applied for. Here’re some estimates.
|Location||Approximate Days taken to get Interview Appointment||Language Option for Interview|
|Hyderabad||21 calendar days||English, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Hindi, Urdu|
|Chennai||14 calendar days||English, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, Hindi, Urdu|
|Kolkata||Next working day||English, Bengali, Oriya, Hindi|
|Mumbai||14 calendar days||English, Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati|
|New Delhi||7 calendar days||English, Punjabi, Hindi|
Apply as early as you can, but not earlier than 4 months from the start date of your academic/other program. US Student Visa processing after interview can take up to 2 working days.
Should you need help with your US Student Visa application, you may call +91 120 4844644 or +91 40 46258222, Mon-Fri : 8 AM to 8 PM, Sun – 9 AM to 6 PM. You can also get in touch through email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Skype name ustraveldocsindia. To check passport status, enter your details here or send an email to email@example.com.
Student Medical Insurance
Finally, don’t forget Insurance before you begin your trip. Student Travel Insurance covering medical and hospitalization costs is mandatory is most US universities and schools. While the colleges themselves may have their own program, buying your student medical insurance in India is at just one-third of the cost of buying it in the US. Also, all Indian insurance companies have the representative in the US, making it faster and easier just in case there is a claim of any sort. Do check why student travel insurance is required, and how you can compare and buy the best international student travel and medical insurance in India.