How to get USA study Visa 2023/2024, Updated!

Each & everything you want to know about USA student visa.


Many International students dream of getting a USA study visa for higher studies.
Over one million students are studying in the USA.

The USA has some of the best colleges and universities in the world. Figures show that international students make up ‌5% of enrolled students in higher institutions in the USA. The percentage of this figure is rising.

The US universities are also offering some highly paid grants like USAID and USEEF for the masters and Ph.D. programs.

International students can study different engineering sciences and arts programs at US universities.
Students also have the option of getting admission to two years or four-year programs.

Bachelor’s degree awarded after completing four-year programs and associate degree awarded after completing two-year programs.

International students need to know about the step-by-step process of an American study visa.

They want to know which type of USA student visa they need?

This ultimate U.S. study visa guide will inform students not only about the requirements and documentation but also prepare them for the visa interview.

Here I have put together all the information, I made sure not to forget anything.

Don’t miss the FAQS & Summary at the end of this blog.


Check Australia and China study visa guides.

Read updated guides about German study visa and Hungary study visa.


Table of Content


1. Types of USA study visas

2. USA Student visa fee

3. What is the Visa processing time for international students?

4. Office responsible for USA Study visa

5. How to Apply for USA Study Visa

6. Requirements for USA Study Visa

7. Possible Interview Questions in the American embassy

8. FAQs

9. Summary


Read detailed guides about the UK study visa and Canada study visa




1. Types of USA study visas


1.1. F-1 study visa

1.2. J-1 study visa

1.3. Main Difference between F1 and J1

1.4. M1 visa




1.1. F1 Visa

(For Academic Studies)

This type of visa is for an academic program of studies. Those students who are attending full-time academic programs or English Language programs will apply for an F1 visa. 

Applicants must be able to cover finances for at least the first year of their stay in the US.  

Most international students apply for an F1 visa. Students can do part-time jobs and on-campus employment on F1 visa status. On-campus employment is less than 20 Hours per week. 

International students can also work on Optional Practical Training (OPT) for one year after completing academic programs. 

Students must complete their studies by the expiry date on I-20 form (Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status).



1.2. J1 Visa

(Studies & Practical Training)

If international students meet the requirements of an F1 visa but are also able to get a scholarship, grant, or full funding from some external source that must be equal to 51% of the first-year tuition fee, the student will able to apply for a J1 visa.

They mostly issued this USA study visa to those students who need to complete practical training and complete academic programs.

The J-1 visa allows students for the same employment as the F-1 visa.
It imposes similar restrictions till permission is given by the sponsor of the exchange visitor program.




1.3 Main Difference between “F1 & J1” U.S study visa?


There are 5 main differences between F1 & J1 USA visas.

F1 visa

J1 visa

There is no restriction on your financial source to cover your studies.

There is a restriction on your financial source in the J1 visa, the money must come from an external source. (51% funding must be external-Scholarship, grant, external funding)

International students can do off-campus jobs too on an F1 visa.

With a J1 visa students can only do only on-campus jobs.

60-day grace period to depart the USA after completing the studies or training.

30-day grace period to depart the USA after completing the studies or training.

Regulations do not require F-1 students to carry Health Insurance.

Federal law requires J-1 students to carry health insurance throughout the period of their stay.

The I-20 document is needed for the F1 study visa, which will be provided by the university.

The document DS-2019 is needed to apply for J1 study visa, it will be provided by designated sponsors.

Check our detailed guide about Finland student visa.


1.4. M-1 Visa

Vocational Studies/Non-Academic

M-1 visa is for those international students who want to attend vocational school or non-academic programs.
M-1 visa holders are not allowed to do jobs during their programs on study visas in the USA.

It is necessary to have sufficient funds available to pay tuition fees and living costs for the whole period of stay.

Check our detailed guide about Spain student visas.



2. Fee for USA Study visa 

The total cost for the F1 US study visa is 510 USD while the J1 US student visa will cost you 380 USD.
Here is the Breakdown.




F1 study visa

SEVIS fee: 350
DS-160 form = 160 USD
Total cost = 510 USD

J1 study visa

SEVIS fee: 220 USD
DS-160 form = 160 USD
Total cost = 380 USD


Students can apply here at the Payment portal for the SEVIS fee & DS-160 form.

Remember Students must submit the fees and receive the receipt.

This receipt is later necessary to show with visa interview documents. Some students might pay additional fees based on the country of their origin. 



3. What is the Visa Processing time for USA study Visa for international students?


The processing time for J1 and F1 study visas takes approximately 21 workdays from the date on which the application is received by the Embassy.

If the student got approved during the interview then it will take Up to 7-15  working days to get the visa.

The visa processing time for the F-1 visa is shorter than other visa categories. In the interview process, they assess students before awarding study visas. 

If the applicant is asked for some “waiver of ineligibility” for a certain reason then the process can get up to 8 months.

However, the visa processing time for a US study visa may vary in specific cases for some nationalities.


4. Office responsible for USA Study visa

International students can apply to the U.S. Consulate or Embassy in their home countries for USA study visas.

Students can also contact the U.S. Consulate or Embassy about the status of their visa information.

If You have any questions related to your USA study visa or any other study visa, you can also contact us for a live one-on-one session.

Whatsapp Contact: +393512735708    



5. How to Apply for USA Study Visa

Students can apply for a USA study visa in 5 easy steps.

  1. Students need to find colleges & universities that are SEVP-approved. Get admission and take the I-20 form. (Without an I-20 form students can’t apply for an F1 visa)
  1. After getting admission, they should fill out and submit a Visa Electronic Application form (DS-160).

3. The next step is to pay visa fees for the application. The total cost for the F1 US study visa is 510 USD while the J1 US student visa will cost you around 380 USD.
Students can apply here at the Payment portal for the SEVIS fee.
A detailed & breakdown of the visa fee is given above in detail.

4. The third step is to schedule the visa appointment at your country’s US embassy.
Students should start preparing the list of documents (we discussed below in detail) at the time of visa appointments.

5. The last step is to visit the U.S. Consulate or Embassy on the date of the visa interview. Students must go with a copy of the appointment letter, DS-160 form, photographs & the list of documents we discussed below in detail.
They will also have old and current passports and visa fee payment receipts.



6. Requirements for USA Study Visa


1. Visa Electronic Application form (DS-160)

2. Valid Passport

3. Passport-size photographs


5. Academic Documents

6. SEVP Application & SEVIS fee

7. I-20 Form (In case of F1 US study visa)

8. DS-2019 (In case of J1 US study visa)

9. CV

10. English Language Certificates for USA Study Visa

11. Bank Statement for USA Study Visa

12. Immigration Medical Examination

13. Health Insurance

14. Copy of Hotel Reservation & Flight Booking

15. Police Clearance Certificate (Optional)

16. No Objection Certificate (Optional)

17. Certificates of extracurricular achievements

18. Polio & Corona Vaccination Certificates

19. Marriage and Childbirth Certificate

20. Statement of Purpose for US study visa



1. Visa Electronic Application form (DS-160)

International students will fill out an online application for a U.S. nonimmigrant visa.
It will take 90 minutes to complete this form. After submitting this online application, students will move to the next step.
Students must go to the embassy with the copy/receipt of their filled DS-160 form.



2. Valid Passport

A. The passport should have at least 6 months of validity after a period of stay in the USA.

B. A passport must be issued during the last 10 years and has a minimum of two free pages.

C. All previous passports must be attached. (If you have any)



3. Passport-size photographs

A. Two color photos (35×45 mm size).

B. White background for the last 6 months period.




A birth certificate and a National Identity card are mandatory for international student’s visas in the USA.



5. Academic Documents for the USA Study Visa

It includes all academic records & certificates.

A. Certificate & transcript of Bachelor’s (If a student is applying for a master’s program)

B. Certificate & transcript of Master’s (If a student is applying for a PhD program)

C. Transcript (DMCs) of Matric & FSC and certificates (if a student is applying for a bachelor’s degree)

D. Proficiency certificate in English from the university.

E. Course summary which explains current courses & previous courses.

F. Provide two Recommendation Letters from your university along with the referee’s details.



Respective universities and boards must attest the above documents for USA study visas.

If the applicants’ documents are not in English, they must translate these into English.

Translated Documents contain:

A. Confirmation from Translation Company/Translator

B. Translation Date

C. Name and Signature of the Translator

D. Translator’s Contact Details




6. SEVP Application and SEVIS Fee receipt

International students need to find colleges or universities in the US and then select accredited degree programs.
SEVP (Students exchange visitor program) approved those universities and gave admissions under S.E.V.I.S (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System).

The SEVP-approved institutions provide international Students with SEVIS-generated documents called I-20 forms (for F1 visas).

The SEVIS fee F1 study visa is 350 USD while for J1 study visa is 220 USD.

Students can apply here at the Payment portal for the SEVIS fee.

They must save the I-901 SEVIS fee receipt for the visa interview, which can be paid through credit or with a debit card, cheque, or western union pay.

Students should print out payment receipts which will show at the time of the visa interview.



7. I-20 Form (In case of F1 study visa)

I-20 Form is a document issued by the university. It’s the certificate of eligibility.
It tells the U.S. government that the student is eligible for F-1 student status.

It basically states that

  1. Student meets all the requirements for admission to a particular institution
  2. It also include student’s SEVIS id number, their program details (start & end dates) & source of funding
  3. Students will start a full-time study of a particular program in the university.



8. DS-2019 (In case of J1 study visa)

The certificate of eligibility for J1 US visa is DS-2019. This document is provided by designated sponsors. It proves that the funding isn’t coming from private personal sources.

The DS-2019 form has the same details as I-20 form. It include all the details about the program & financial support.

The SEVIS fee for J1 study visa is 220 USD.

J1 applicants can apply here at the Payment portal for the SEVIS fee.



9.  CV

CV is compulsory for the university admission process and optional for embassy interviews.

It should contain all the contact details and academic information.



10.  English Language Proficiency  tests for USA Study Visa

International students must show English Language skills. There are few English Language tests like TOEFL, IELTS, and PTE for student visas in the USA.

10.1. TOEFL Test

The TOEFL English test is a popular test in the admission process of US universities.

TOEFL test preferred by international students for USA study visa.

The TOEFL score ranges from 80 to 85 for the admission process.
PhD programs may require a score range between 90-110.


10.2. IELTS Test

The IELTS test is required in all 3,400 colleges and universities in the USA.
This test helps universities to assess the proficiency of international students in English.

The required IELTS score for USA universities is 6.5 band. 

Remember, Many top US universities are not accepting IELTS scores.

International students may check their English language proficiency for universities and USA study visas.

Check our detailed guide about Norway student visas.



11. Bank Statement for USA Study Visa

An amount of 10,000 US Dollars and above is necessary to get an F-1 study visa in the USA.
Though, there is no such fixed condition for the required amount of bank statement for a student visa in the USA.
Applicants can show sponsor proof of sufficient funds like the Parents or Blood relatives, according to their visa type requirements.
Students must mention the link of relatives on the form.



12. Immigration Medical Examination

A medical examination is mandatory for immigrant visa applicants.
International students will move to the accredited U.S. Embassy physician to perform a medical examination.

It is the responsibility of a student to schedule a medical examination before a visa interview at the U.S. Embassy.

The medical examination includes a medical history, blood tests, and chest X-ray. Tuberculosis (TB) testing is also mandatory for international students.
Please prepare medical history and medical treatment before going for the visa process.




13. Health Insurance for USA Study Visa

International students need health insurance to enroll in a US university but not mandatory for an F-1 visa. The university requires health insurance coverage.
Different universities have different requirements for health insurance for international students.

Some international students buy sponsored insurance coverage from the school.
Other students purchase insurance plans of their choosing.
Getting the required insurance plan is necessary to protect from unexpected medical bills.



14. Copy of Hotel Reservation & Flight Booking

The booking confirms the arrival date in a particular country.
The hotel reservation shows that a student researched the process.



15. Police Clearance Certificate (Optional)

This certificate is optional. It may be mandatory in some specific cases of some nationalities.

Check more details here at your home country’s US embassy.



16. No Objection Certificate (Optional)

It also varies from country to country. It is compulsory for some countries and known as NOC. The university issued this document that tells students to return to their country.

The Dean or HOD of the university must write NOC.

This letter will include that the student is applying for a student visa in the USA. The student will return to the country after completing their education.



17. Certificates of extracurricular achievements

These certificates include internship certificates and experience letters.
The embassy gives extra value to these certificates.



18. Polio & Corona Vaccination Certificates

Students must complete the COVID-19 vaccination before the medical appointment. The WHO (World Health Organization listed the administered vaccines).
These vaccine doses are allowed by the US Food and Drug Administration.



19. Marriage and Childbirth Certificate

The embassy may ask about Childbirth Certificates and marriage certificates. It is better to bring both childbirth and marriage certificates along with you.



20. Statement of Purpose for US study visa


This document comprises the following information about the student:

A. Previous academic documents and studies

B. Employment Status

C. Relationship with your home country

D. Immigration History

E. Economic conditions of the applicant


Statement of purpose (SOP) & letter of motivation (LOM) are almost the same thing & could be interchangeable.

In this letter, you are asked to write about your personal and professional reasons why are you applying for a course or the scholarship and what is your intention of traveling to USA.

The maximum length of this letter is three pages, But it is advised to make it short & concise to one page.


How to write a perfect statement of Purpose

If you are interested in writing your SOP on one page concisely, then follow this exact method.

SOP consists of three parts.

20.1.  Introduction (1 paragraph)

20.2  Body (3 paragraphs)

20.3. Conclusion (1 paragraph)

Let’s explain these three things one by one.


20.1. Introduction:

Introduction is the gateway to the rest of the letter. Try to capture their interest in the first few sentences. Be original & creative.
Make it personal & full of enthusiasm.

TIP: Try to initiate a story about yourself relevant to the scholarship or USA, the university you got accepted in or the relationship you have with your home country & then expand it to the first paragraph of the body.



20.2.  Body:

In the first paragraph of the body, try to tell about your relevant academic & experienced background to the course.
And your professional goals attached to the USA & university. Share your expectations of the traveling to US.

In the 2nd paragraph be more precise & focus on the specific achievement related to the scholarship or course.

In the 3rd paragraph expand on what you are currently doing & the interesting things you look forward to in the USA.



20.3. Conclusion:

Tell them why you are an eligible candidate for the visa. Don’t sound needy or use pompous language instead focus on why you deserve it.

Tell them how this US study visa will help you or the future of your community.



7. Interview Questions for USA Study Visa 


These are common questions students face during their visa interviews. These questions may vary from profile to profile.

What is the name of the student & their previous educational qualification?

What is your purpose for going to the USA?

Did you already search for opportunities in your home country?

Where is the university in the USA?

What is your course structure or Course summary?

Why did you choose this university and subject?

How will this course shape your career?

How did you find this university?

What are your plans after the completion of the course?

When will your course start?

Why did you choose the USA and not another country?

Where will you stay in the USA?

Do you have any relatives in the USA?
Have you ever applied for USA or Canada Before or your visa rejected before? If yes, then why?
Detail about covering your finances during your stay in the USA?  



8. Frequently asked questions about USA Study Visa



Q1: Who can sponsor the visa of a student in the USA?

It depends on which type of visa the student is applying for. Close relatives, parents, or banks can sponsor F1 study visas in the USA for international students.
Students must show education loan documents or sponsor letters to support student visas in the USA.

Remember A friend cannot sponsor the student. the Sponsor must be a close relative, parent, or fiancee.

For the j1 visa find out the list of designated sponsors here for each J1 category.



Q2: What financial documents require a study visa to the USA?

The following financial documents are necessary for a USA study visa:

  1. A specific amount of bank balance (More than 10,000 USD)

2. Support statement (Sponsor’s detail)

3. Loan letter (if available from a bank)

4. I-20 form (in case of F1 US study visa)

5. DS-2019 (In case of J1 US study visa)

6. I-901 SEVIS fee receipt


Q4: What is the minimum age limit for a USA study visa for a student?

18 years. Students must have an age limit of 18 years to apply for a study visa in the USA.


Here is our detailed guide about Sweden study visas.


Q5: What is the insurance requirement for US study visa?

Technically for an F1 visa, there is no health insurance requirement for International students, who want to study in the USA.

But students can still need health insurance in case of any medical emergency because health costs are extremely expensive in the USA.

Some US universities have their own required sponsored medical insurance plan while others allow students to choose theirs.

Sponsored health insurance plans from universities can be expensive too.

A few things like type of coverage and length of study decide health insurance costs for students. Annual health insurance plans for students can cost from 500 USD to 1,000 USD.

Here are some cheap insurance plans, international students can consider.

Some cheapest plans for a US study visa

1. IMGlobal

2. ISO international

3. Cigna Global

4. Allianz Worldwide Care

International Students are advised to be careful while making these decisions & make sure they have cross-checked everything according to their requirements.



9. USA study visa for international students (SUMMARY):


1. Take a visa appointment at a US embassy & choose the correct category of visa.

2. Pay the visa fee & provide financial resources and bank statement details.

3. Prepare the list of documents discussed above i.e., IELTS, Health insurance, etc.

4. Appear at the visa interview & wait for the result. It will take up some time.


If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask us in the comments.


If You have any questions related to your USA study visa or any other study visa, you can also contact us for a live one-on-one session.

Whatsapp Contact: +393512735708 



Khizar is a good man. He knows stuff. He usually spends his day discussing weather updates & supporting cats online. His blood group is pizza & his favorite singer is John wick.



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