List of Documents Required for USA Visa Application for Indian Students

By Subhashri Roy Updated On - Jun 28, 2021 12:47 PM

Looking forward to studying in the US? Check out the entire list of documents required for US visa application for Indian students along with answers to several questions including types of visas, how to apply for US student visa, US student visa fees, and more to make the transition easier.

Getting a US student visa can be a bit confusing and surprisingly easy at the same time. While immigration rules in the US for overseas students have undergone multiple changes in recent years, the country still remains to lead the list of popular study destinations among Indian students because of several reasons, the latest being the victory of Joe Biden in the US Presidential Elections 2020. However, along with the excitement of pursuing higher education in the states, there often arise a series of doubts about the US student visa process.

With the majority of top universities located in the US according to the QS World University Rankings 2021, the US boasts of being home to some of the finest universities in the world. This, among other reasons, has time and again attracted millions of students from all over the world to the US, with close to 20% from India alone. 

Any citizen of a foreign country wishing to study in the United States needs to hold a US student visa, issued by the US Department of State. He/she may be issued one of the three types of US students visas depending on what programme he/she will be pursuing in the US. Scroll through the article to find the entire list of documents required for US visa application for Indian students along with answers to several questions including types of visas, how to apply for US student visa, US student visa fees, and more. 

Also Read: Study in the USA: Know All About Spring (January) 2021 Intake

Types of US Student Visas

Given below are the three types of visas that an Indian student can apply for when going to the US for higher education: 

F-1 Visa for Academic Studies

An F-1 visa, the most common visa type among Indian students in the US, is granted to applicants who are attending an academic or English Language programme. Those holding an F-1 visa must maintain a full-time student status with the minimum course load. Students are expected to graduate from the programme by the expiration date, as mentioned in the I-20 form.

The visa further allows a student to work part-time on- and off-campus and also opt for optional practical training (OPT) after completion of the academic programme for up to 12 months. 

J-1 Visa for Practical Training

A J-1 visa is for those applicants who wish to obtain practical training in the US in order to complete their academic programme. They must be approved to participate in a work-and study-based exchange visitor programme, sponsored by an organiser. 

Students with a J-1 visa can seek employment opportunities in the US with restrictions as that of an F-1 visa, as long as the sponsor allows the student for the same. 

M-1 Visa for Non-academic or Vocational Studies

An M-1 visa is granted to a student who wants to attend a non-academic or vocational school and is not permitted to engage in any part-time job during the course of their studies. The M-1 visa applicants must produce evidence they have enough sufficient funds to cover all living and tuition costs during their entire period of stay in the US. 

List of Documents Required for US Visa Application for Indian Student

An Indian student applying for a US student visa should gather and keep the following required documents ready before their visa interview:

  • A valid passport for travel to the US – It shall be valid for at least six months post the duration of stay in the US.

  • A separate application should be submitted for each family member listed in his/ her passport.

  • The Nonimmigrant visa application and the confirmation page for Form DS-160.

  • The payment receipt for the application fee

  • Photo - Although one must upload his/ her photo while submitting the online Form DS-160, a photo might be required at the interview if the photo upload fails. 

  • Certificate of eligibility for the student visa- Form I-20 which will be sent by the SEVP-approved school once they have input the applicant’s information in the SEVIS database. The form i-20 must be signed by both the applicant and the school official.  

Additional Documents May Be Required

A consular officer will interview an applicant to determine his/ her qualifications for a student visa and may ask for additional documents, such as the following:

  • Transcripts, diplomas, degrees, or certificates from schools attended;

  • Standardized test scores required by the U.S. institution;

  • Evidence of one’s intent to leave the US after completion of the academic programme; and

  • Evidence of sufficient funds and source(s) to cover tuition fees, living and other expenses.

Note: Although mentioned here in detail, it is advisable that students go through the list of required documents before scheduling their visa interview.

Also Read: USA F1 Student Visa Guide: Application Requirements, Interview Questions, Preparation Tips

How Should an Indian Apply for a US Student Visa?

Here are the steps that a resident of India needs to follow while applying for a US student visa:

Step 1: Apply to a SEVP-approved School- Prospective students can find the entire list of SEVP-certified schools at the official website of the US Department of Homeland Security. It is an easy-to-navigate site, through which one can search schools based on education type, visa type, state/ territory, city and more. 

Step 2: Be Accepted to a SEVP-approved School- After shortlisting SEVP-approved schools of choice, one must be accepted to at least one of them. The applicant must then respond to the letter of acceptance and confirm his/ her admission to the school.

Step 3: Pay the SEVIS Fee- Students must make sure that they pay the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) fee at least three days before applying for a US visa. The same can be paid in either online or offline mode, which can be accessed through the official website of US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) SEVP. All the required details should be added, as required on the I-20 form along with the payment of a SEVIS fee of USD 350.

Step 4: Apply for US Student Visa- After successful payment of SEVIS fee, a prospective student should apply for a US student visa by making an appointment with the US embassy or consulates in India. It is best to apply for the visa as early as possible as the visa processing time may vary. The visa may be issued up to 120 days/ 2 months before the scheduled date of arrival in the US. While applying, submit all the required documents mentioned above.

Step 5: Pay the US Student Visa Application Fee- Also known as the Machine Readable Visa Fee (MRV fee), one must pay the visa application fee in person, by phone or online. 

Step 6: Schedule a US Student Visa Interview- The final step is to arrange and attend a visa interview, which will be taken by a consular officer and be held at the embassy or consulate. One must make sure that he/ she carries all the necessary documents while going to attend the interview. After the visa is issued, one may have to wait for further administrative processing, about which the consular officer will inform. 

US Student Visa Fees

Fees for a US student visa involves a SEVIS fee and the F, J or M application fee or MRV fee. Find out how one has to pay to complete the visa application process:

Type of Visa


Visa Application Fee



Student (academic)

$160/ INR 11,520

$350/ INR 25,113 (Approx.)


Exchange Visitor


Student (Vocational)

Note: The visa application fee is non-refundable and non-transferable and only those participating in a US-government sponsored programme would be exempted from the SEVIS fee.

Want to Know More Details About the US Study Visa?

Top US Universities for International Students 

Here is a list of top-ranked universities in the US for you:

Name of the University City and State
University of Illinois, Chicago Illinois, Chicago
University of Kansas Lawrence, Kansas
University of South Carolina Columbia, South Carolina
MIT Cambridge
University of Massachusets, Boston Massachusetts, Boston
Colorado State University Fort Collins, Colorado
Suffolk University, Boston Boston, Massachusetts
George Mason University Fairfax, Virginia
University of Nebraska Lincoln Lincoln, Nebraska
Harvard University Cambridge

Have doubts about the list of documents required for a US visa application for an Indian student? Write to us at for further guidance. Also, browse through our list of top-ranked US universities and stay tuned for the latest updates on higher education in the US. 

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