PhD scholarships
American colleges and universities are home to the best and brightest from all over the world. Source: James Gilbert / Getty Images North America / Getty Images via AFP

Are you an Indian student who has gotten an offer letter or a scholarship to study at a US university? Congratulations! Chances are, you’ll be on cloud nine telling your family and friends about the great news and thinking about the process of getting a US visa for Indians.

Indian students account for 18% of international students in the US, and are the second-largest community of foreign students in the country. If you’re clueless about the process of getting US student visa, don’t despair. Here’s a one-stop guide for Indian students:

US visa for Indians — which is right for me?

The US offers many types of visas, but there are only two types that are applicable to you as an international student:

F-1 student visa

This is the most common type of student visa that is needed if you plan to study at a US college or university, private secondary school, or an approved English language programme. You will also need an F-1 visa if your course of study is more than 18 hours a week.

M-1 student visa

The M-1 student visa is primarily intended for those who want to pursue vocational training in the US. Students can enter the US with a M-1 visa and complete their full-time vocational studies.

US visa for indians

Here’s a one-stop guide on getting a US visa for Indians, from start to finish. Source: Karim Sahib / AFP

What do I need for my US study visa?

Now that you know which visa is applicable for your studies, the next step entails getting all the required documents to complete your application.

Here are the documents you will need:

  • A non-immigrant Visa Electronic Application (DS-160) Form. Visit the DS-160 web page for more information about it.

  • A passport valid for travel to the US with a validity date at least six months beyond your intended period of stay in the US (unless country-specific agreements provide exemptions).

  • One 2 x 2 inch (51 x 51 mm) photograph taken within the last six months.

  • If a visa is issued, there may be an additional visa issuance reciprocity fee, depending on your nationality. The Department of State’s website can help you find out if you must pay a visa issuance reciprocity fee and what the amount is.

  • An approved original signed Form I-20 from your US school or programme.

What is the fee for US visa for Indians?

After getting all your documents in order, now’s the time to pay for your visa. For both F-1 and M-1 student visas, the fees are US$160 or less than IN₹13,000.

Note that this does not include any other additional charges that may apply to you. Also note that once payment is made, there will be no refunds.

How can I apply for a US visa interview?

Applicants for US visas are required to appear in person for an appointment at the Visa Application Center (VAC) and the visa interview at the US 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 using this website  or through the call centre.

Note that visa applicants are encouraged to apply at least three months in advance of the intended date of travel. Although visa processing time is typically seven to 10 working days, processing time for specific cases may vary due to individual circumstances and other special requirements.

For the opening hours and locations where you can conduct your interview, click here.

How do I track my US visa progress?

Have you completed the above steps for a US visa for Indians to a T? Now, all that’s left is to wait. You can check your progress with this website. Once your visa is completed, you can collect it and move on to the next steps of your journey to the US.

We hope this guide on US visa for Indians was helpful and that you have a wonderful time studying in the US.