The US is the most popular study abroad destination for Indian students. The country attracts more than 1,86,000 Indian students and this number has been increasing steadily over the past years as more and more students are considering studying abroad. The procedure to obtain the US student visa is also different compared to other popular destinations across the globe.
The US student visa is interview based and the document requirements are relatively less in comparison to other countries. But before you schedule your appointment, you need your offer of admission from the university and I-20 (official acceptance from US university) and pay the SEVIS fee of US$200. You need to book two appointments — one for submitting your biometric information, and the other for your interview with the US visa officer. When you go in for your first appointment, you should carry your passport, DS-160 (confirmation page of application form submission ), your visa fee payment (US$160), I-20 and SEVIS fee receipt. Mobile phones, food or travel bags are strictly not allowed on consulate premises. You can always ask a friend or family member to take care of your belongings when you are at the consulate, however, they will not be permitted to enter the consulate with you.
For your second appointment, which is the interview, you should carry the following documents with you — original transcripts, marksheets, other academic documents, proof of all the admits and rejects, standardised test scores including the SAT, ACT, GRE or GMAT and the TOEFL/IELTS. You have to carry your financial documents, which indicate that you have enough funds to take care of your entire education and show the funds for the first year of study as well. Bank account balances, fixed deposits, shares, DMAT account statements, mutual funds or any liquid assets are acceptable proof of your finances. You will have to carry your and your parents’ income tax papers as well.
Your interview is the most vital part of your visa application. The way you answer the questions asked will determine the outcome of your application. You need to confidently explain why you think studying in the US is the best choice for you, why you have selected a specific varsity, your academic background, and what are your goals post your course. If you manage to answer all these questions in a satisfactory manner to the visa officer, your application will be processed within a few days and you will get your passport back with a US student visa stamped in it. You can enter the US up to 30 days before your course begins and stay up to 60 days after your course ends. You can apply to extend your visa after your course is over.
If your visa is held for security clearance, you will be notified that your visa was denied under section 221 (g). This does not actually entail that your application has been denied, but that the documents or the application itself were incomplete. Once the consulate receives a clearance of your visa, they will call you again and you will be granted your visa. If your visa is denied under section 214 (b), you did not successfully answer the questions asked by the visa officer due to which they were unsure of your intentions. When such situation arises, you can apply for the visa again.