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US Student Visas for Indian Citizens Ultimate Guide to US Student Visas

Indian citizens looking to pursue education within the US and gain access to the broad range of opportunities will need to complete a successful visa application to allow them to live and study in the country.

Here at Total Law, our experienced team can guide you through the difficult and complicated process of obtaining a US Student Visa as an Indian national. You can begin this journey today by contacting us online at +1 844 290 6312 or using our online chat.

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    Overview of US Student Visa for Indian Citizens

    Many students from India have successfully been granted a Student Visa that enables them to pursue their education and live in the US.

    However, for a visa application to be approved, it is important to understand the various student visa options available, so you can ensure you meet the visa criteria and can provide the required supporting documents.

    You may wish to seek the advice of an immigration specialist to ensure you do not have your application delayed or even refused due to providing incomplete information or opting for an unsuitable visa route.

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    The USA Student Visas Types Available for Indian Citizens


    When pursuing higher education in the US, Indian citizens have access to two primary types of US Student Visas, as each is designed for a different career path and academic goals.

    Understanding the distinctions between these visa types is vital when submitting your application, especially as visa fees are often non-refundable even if a visa is not granted.

    F1 Student Visa (Academic Student Visa)

    The F1 Visa, which is commonly referred to as the Academic Student Visa, is a popular option for Indian students who wish to enrol on academic programs at accredited US institutions, including universities, colleges, and language schools.

    Key Features of the F1 Visa

    The F1 Student Visa is made exclusively for students who are enrolled in full-time academic programs. This type of visa offers access to a wide range of courses, including undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral degrees, which will all help you when choosing to progress your career within the UK.

    There are a number of benefits of holding an F1 Visa that make it a beneficial option for students from India.

    As an F1 Visa holder, students are permitted to work part-time on-campus during the academic year and full-time during their allocated breaks. This means that students are able to access key work experience as part of their education as well as additional income.

    It is important to note while on-campus employment is allowed, the F1 visa does not allow students to engage in work off-campus, except in limited circumstances Curricular Practical Training (CPT) or severe economic hardship.

    F1 Visa holders are able to bring their spouse/partner and dependents (those who are below 21 years of age) to the US on F2 Visas. However, this means that those who hold an F2 Student Visa will be unauthorised to work within the US or pursue education full-time.

    One of the biggest advantages of the F1 Student Visa is the provision for Optional Practical Training (OPT). After completing their educational course, F1 students can engage in the OPT, which allows them to work in their field of study and gain practical experience whilst gaining the option to stay within the US for up to one year. I

    If you are a student studying STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) in the US on a Student Visa, you may be eligible for an additional 24-month extension on your visa.

    M1 Visa (Vocational Student Visa)


    The M1 Student Visa, also known as the Vocational Student Visa, is a visa tailored for students who are enrolling in non-academic or vocational programs. These programs include technical and trade schools, culinary schools, and flight schools. This allows overseas students to progress in their careers without having to complete an academic course.

    Key features of the M1 Student Visa

    M1 Visa holders are students primarily involved in vocational training programs, and they are able to engage in practical training which is related to their field of study.

    In contrast to the F1 Visa, the M1 Visa only allows limited off-campus employment in exceptional circumstances and with prior authorization from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), students using an M1 Visa can not undertake part-time employment off-campus but only with prior approval if it is related to their training.

    The M1 Visa does not provide an Optional Practical Training opportunity, unlike the F1 student visa. After completing their program, students who are on an M1 Visa are required to return to their country of origin.

    M1 Visa holders are permitted to bring their spouses and dependents to the US on M2 visas, but those holding an M2 visa are not permitted to work or engage in academic studies full-time while in the US.

    It can be difficult to assess whether an F1 or M1 Visa will fit your needs, but our team of highly experienced immigration lawyers at Total Law can guide this crucial decision-making process so you apply for the most appropriate visa for your future success. Get in touch with us at +1 844 290 6312.

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      The USA Student Visa Requirements and Application Process


      Obtaining a US Student Visa is a process composed of multiple steps that involve meeting specific eligibility criteria, providing essential documents, and adhering to important legal guidelines. The US offers a huge range of academic opportunities for Indian citizens who wish to pursue their education within the US.

      It is vital that you fully understand every requirement which is associated with both M1 and F2 Student Visas for Indian citizens in the US in order to gain a successful application.

      Requirements for an Indian citizen to Complete an F1 or M1 Student Visa Application in the US

      There are several steps in the application process for an F1 or M1 Visa and it is important you understand what is required for a successful outcome. You must meet the following criteria:

      • Have an acceptance letter from a US institution certified by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP). For the M1 visa, you must receive an acceptance letter from a certified vocational institution.
      • Be able to prove that you fully intend to return to India upon completing your studies in the US, this can be via family ties, a job role or property ownership
      • Show proof of all educational qualifications including past exam scores, admission test scores, college prep courses taken,
      • Display an adequate level of English language proficiency.
      • Have the funds to afford tuition fees and the cost of living while in the US. This may include bank statements, affidavits of support, or financial guarantee letters.
      • Proof of medical/vaccination status and no ongoing health issues
      • No history of overstaying a visa or breaking immigration law in the past
      • Have a clean criminal record.

      How to Apply for a US Student Visa as an Indian Citizen

      A key part of applying for a US Student Visa is ensuring the process is correctly followed and you must complete the following steps:

      • Acceptance to a US school
      • Payment of visa application fee
      • SEVIS fee payment
      • Complete the visa application form
      • Schedule an interview
      • Prepare for the interview
      • Biometrics appointment
      • Visa issuance

      There are a number of mistakes and errors in a US student visa application which could lead to an unsuccessful application. A denied application could cause significant delays, which could present enrolment on your preferred course or even possible rejection that could have a major impact on your future plans.

      Common mistakes commonly include:

      • Inadequate preparation for the visa interview
      • Insufficient financial documentation
      • Providing inaccurate information

      Our legal experts at Total Law can help to provide the necessary advice and assistance to guarantee you have everything required for a successful application. For more information, contact us online or at +1 844 290 6312.

      Documents Required for Indian Nationals Getting a US Student Visa

      In order to apply for a US student visa, there are a few specific documents which are required to be able to study abroad in the US. These typically include:

      • Program acceptance letter
      • SEVIS fee payment receipt:
      • Visa application fee receipt
      • Completed Form DS-160 and printed the confirmation page.
      • Form I-20 if applying for an F1 Visa.
      • Recent colour passport-sized photograph
      • A passport which is valid for at least six months beyond your intended arrival date in the US

      It is mandatory to adhere to the deadlines if you want to successfully apply for a US Student Visa. You will need to start the application process for an M1 or F1 Visa well in advance to ensure you have sufficient time to prepare and meet all requirements, especially if you are asked to provide additional documents.

      Indian students are able to apply for a US Student Visa up a year before the starting date of their first year of education. You may only use a Student Visa to enter the country 30 days before the start of classes.

      In many cases, specific qualifications may be required depending on your chosen course or school in the US. If your application is successful and you are accepted into schools which require this process, be sure to carefully review the admission criteria of specific institutions to make sure you are approved for the student visa.

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        Expiry of a US Student Visa

        The length of your student visa’s validity depends on your specific program. With an F1 and M1 Visa, you can generally stay in the US for the duration of your academic program, which also includes an additional grace period. The F1 Student visa also provides OPT periods for work experience which is related to your field of study.

        For a successful visa application, you need to be organised and well-prepared. Here at Total Law, we have the required legal expertise to guide you through each step, ensuring your submission is accurate and complete. This will hugely increase your chances of successful application.

        How Can Our Lawyers at Total Law Help?

        Applying successfully for a US student visa for Indian students can be challenging, but with our support, your aspiration to study abroad can become a reality.

        Total Law is here to assist you at every stage of your visa application, providing accurate legal advice and ensuring that it is accurate, complete, and submitted on time.

        Our experienced team of lawyers have helped many students from India and abroad to successfully continue their education within the US.

        Contact us at +1 844 290 6312 or online today to begin the process of successfully obtaining a Student Visa in the US from India.

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                  Related pages for your continued reading.


                  The cost of a Student Visa for an Indian student moving to the US to study is usually around $500. Although this could depend on a number of factors so it is important to check the criteria.

                  There is no required amount, but it is highly recommended that you should have at least $10,000 in funds available to support yourself in the USA.