Documents required for US Student visa
: Studying abroad is a big step in a student’s life because it involves many life-changing events, including getting accustomed to a new culture. But while you rightly need to prepare for these events, there are other important things to be addressed at home before you finally board you flight for your study abroad destination. For example, if you plan to study in the USA, you need to get your US student visa ready. Since it takes around three to five months, it is advisable to apply early. Also, to avoid last-minute rushes and mistakes, keep a checklist of documents required for US student visa (for F-1 and M-1 visa). 


Types of US student visas and documents required


Before you can make a list of documents required for US student visa, you need to be familiar with different types of visas available for you.


Full-time academic students in the United States have two types of non-immigrant visas they can opt from:

  • F-1 visa

  • M-1 visa

Your course of study and school you attend determine the type of US student visa you have to apply for.


Institution-wise US Student Visa categories



Visa Categories


University or college



High School



Private elementary school









Another academic institution, including a language training program



Vocational or other recognized nonacademic institution, other than a language training program


F-1 Student Visa: The F-1 Visa (Academic Student) is designed for students who intend to enroll in a full-time programme or course of study that offers a degree, diploma or certificate. Also, the institution you are enrolled in must be authorised by the US government to accept international students.


As far as employment opportunities go, as an F-1 student visa holder you are allowed to pursue on-campus employment, though with certain restrictions and conditions. During the first academic year, you aren't permitted to work off-campus. In your second academic year, you can take up three types of off-campus employment.

  • Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

  • Optional Practical Training (OPT) (pre-completion or post-completion)

  • Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Optional Practical Training Extension (OPT)

M-1 Visa: The M-1 visa (Vocational Student) category is reserved for students enrolled in vocational or other nonacademic programs, except language training.

M-1 students can take up practical training (off-campus employment) job only after completing their studies.


Apply only to SEVP-Approved institution


Make sure that your institution and programme of study is accredited by the US government’s Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP). SEVP approval is mandatory for enrollment into the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). Also, only SEVP-approved institutions can provide you with the documents that you will need to apply for US student visa.


Scheduling an interview for US student visa


If you a regular student, you most likely will have to schedule an interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the country where you live for your US Student Visa. And it is during this interview that you have to submit the list of documents required for US student visa given below.


Who needs to appear for US student visa interview


Interview Status

13 and younger

Generally not required


Required (some exceptions for renewals)

80 and older

Generally not required

List of documents required for US student visa

As part of the US student Visa interview process, you are required to submit a range of documents. Mentioned below is a list of documents required for US student visa that you can refer. 


Passport: A key item in the list of documents required for US student visa is a valid passport.


In addition to being valid for travel to the United States, the passport must be valid for minimum six months beyond your intended duration of stay in the United States, unless you belong to a country which exempts the six-month rule. Some of the popular study-abroad destinations which exempt the six-month rule include Australia, Canada, the UK and Germany.


Students in the exempt category simply need to have a passport valid for their intended period of stay.


Confirmation of non-immigrant USA visa application, Form DS-160: The DS-160 is an online non-immigrant application form for temporary travel to the United States and another integral element in the list of documents required for US student visa. You can submit the completed form online.

  1. Complete the online US visa application Form DS-160

  2. Take a print out of application confirmation page and bring it to the interview.

The information entered on Form DS-160, along with the personal interview,  is used by the consular officers to determine your eligibility for a non-immigrant visa.


USA Visa Application fee payment receipt: You may be required to pay a non-refundable visa application fee before the interview. And as part of the list of documents required for US student visa, you have to produce the payment receipt at the time of the interview. The application fee is $160.


Photo: Typically you have to upload your photo while completing the Form DS-160. But if it so happens that you fail to upload your photo for some reason, you are allowed to bring a printed photo in the acceptable format to the interview.


Acceptable photo format to apply for US student visa

  • The photo must be in color

  • Head must be between 1 inch and 11/8 inches (22 mm and 35 mm) or 50% and 69% of the image's total height from the bottom of the chin to the top of the head.

  • Shouldn’t be older than six months

  • Background must be plain white or off-white

  • The face must be facing the camera and completely visible

  • The face must bear a neutral expression with both eyes open

  • Don’t wear a hat or head covering unless it is part of a religious purpose. Also, there mustn’t be any shadow cast over your face.

  • Effective November 1, 2016, you are also not allowed to wear eyeglasses, except in such cases when eyeglasses cannot be removed for medical reasons.

Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F-1) Student Status-For Academic and Language Students, Form I-20 or Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (M-1) Student Status for Vocational Students, Form I-20

You will receive a SEVIS-generated Form I-20 from your institution after they have entered your data in the SEVIS database. The Form I-20 has to be signed by both you and the institution you are applying to. If you have relatives accompanying you, they too need to be registered in the Student and Exchange Visitor System (SEVIS). Individual Form I-20 will be generated for each person.


Additional documents required for US student visa

In addition to the documents required for US student visa listed above, you might be required to submit separate documents that show:

  • Your academic credentials: You can submit academic transcripts, scores of standardised tests like GRE, GMAT, IELTS, TOEFL, etc. to show your academic preparation.

  • Your intent to depart the United States upon completion of your studies

  • Your financial capability

If the interview committee is satisfied with your documents for US student visa and your interview, they would ideally approve your visa request.


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Questions related to United States of America

Showing 28 out of 28 Questions

What is the Working hours of Neurosurgeons in the United States?

Deepshikha Student Expert 30th Mar, 2020
A neurosurgeon can be understood as a a physician who specializes in the diagnosis and surgical treatment of disorders of the central and peripheral nervous system.
Coming to your question, neurosurgeons or any doctor for that matter, has no fixed schedule. Sometimes they have to work throughout the day without any rest. A doctor's time is for the patient.
The schedule is different for different doctors depending upon the hospital he works in or the number pf patients.
Hope this helps.
Good luck.

Compared to working conditions among India and the USA, who has better one for Neurosurgeons?

Prakarsh Kaushik 30th Mar, 2020


USA is far more developed than India. They have better hospitals, medical equipment, and their doctors and nurses are well-trained. India is densely populated and the conditions of Government Hospitals is not good.

Salary of Neurosurgeons is comparatively high in USA than India. Also the working hours of a Neurosurgeon is more and hectic in USA than India.

So, Overall USA is a better choice to work for a neurosurgeon though the working hours are more but for that you will be paid more.

Hope this was helpful


What is the cost to become a Neurosurgeon in the USA after completing MBBS in India?

Animesh Vats Student Expert 27th Mar, 2020


Well after doing MBBS in India you will have to clear USMLE levels to qualify for medical practice in USA and then the hardest part is to get a residency cause the residency position is limited and international students getting it has very less chances. If you get one then you will work as a resident and will train yourself selecting your specialisation.

I hope my answer helps.

All the best.


What is the Working hours of Neurosurgeons in the USA?

Shaurya Kapoor 22nd Mar, 2020

Neurologists can work in hospitals or in private offices. Their average week is approximately 40 hours . If you go into this career and would like to maintain consistent hours , then opening up a private practice or working in a research or medical school may be better for you.


Are Neurosurgeons rich in the USA?

Suryashis Chakraborty 22nd Mar, 2020

Hello Raja,

Neurosurgeons happen to be the most highest paid physicians (physician careers are the highest paid among all occupations). Neurosurgery attracts only the finest in the medical field and the job is very demanding in terms of time and handling of the cases resulting in scarcity of neurosurgeons.

The MGMA Physician Compensation Report states the average neurosurgeon income at $775,968 per annum. The median income is $704,170 per annum. The lowest paid neurosurgeon earns at least $350,000 annually while the top 10 percent make up to $1,229,881 a year.

Hope this helps you. We wish you the best for your future endeavours!


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