Since the 1950s, the US has been the leading destination for international students, and it continues to host an increasing number of students and scholars from around the world. The shift in USA’s world share as a host of international students over the past decade is due to multiple factors like,


The schools, the universities and the institutions in the US offer excellent and quality education, and hence make the US a hot destination for education.

Infinite Opportunities:

Apart from the quality, the variety of courses offered in US schools / colleges is quite high, which make it an attractive destination for students willing to super-specialize in a certain field.

Industrial Training and Research:

Learning in an American school means not only confined to classes and attending lectures or doing experiments in the laboratories but also having real industry experience. The university colleges and institutions in America have collaborations with employers and researchers in different study fields where students can gain real work experience. This gives an edge over others when after college your work life begins.


The education system in the US is very flexible. Classes are offered under the semester scheme, and course is divided into credits. A student can choose the number of credits he / she want to earn in a semester or quarter, and the electives and the optional classes he wishes to take.

The United States of America is located on the continent of North America. There are 50 states in the U.S. Forty-eight of the states form the contiguous United States. The U.S. borders on Canada to the north, and Mexico and the Gulf of Mexico to the south. On the east coast, the U.S. is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean, and on the west coast it is bordered by the Pacific Ocean. To the northwest of Canada is the state of Alaska. The state of Hawaii is located in the Pacific Ocean, southwest of California. In addition to the 50 states, the U.S. has several territories and possessions, located in the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean. The US has more than 3000 colleges and university institutions where nearly 6 million International students study in different courses for various programs. Because the US attracts talent, and the best brains from all over the world, people with a hunger to learn, enjoy the US as a study destination. Because there are no cultural boundaries, people are also fortunate enough to learn about different cultures of the world, as they find communities from different sections of the society within the campus. USA is a leader in technology. This simply translates into an advantage, which gives the students who study here, an edge over others, in real life. Hence a US degree is beneficial in several aspects and preferred over others.

Education in the United States is mainly provided by the public sector, with control and funding coming from three levels: federal, state, and local. Child education is compulsory.

The American educational system comprises 12 grades of study over 12 calendar years of primary and secondary education before graduating and becoming eligible for college admission. After pre-kindergarten and kindergarten, there are five years in primary school (normally known as elementary school). After completing five grades, the student will enter junior high or middle school and then high school to get the high school diploma.

Students completing high school may apply to attend an undergraduate school. This may be a community college (one that offers two-year degrees, usually to prepare students to transfer to state universities), liberal arts college (one that concentrates on undergraduate education), or part of a larger research university.

Bachelor’s level education in USA normally starts after the completion of 12 years of primary and secondary education. Hence, education beyond class XII is also known as ‘post-secondary’ education, in USA.

Bachelor’s programs are of four years duration, and are offered by different types of colleges.

Liberal Arts colleges offer a general education in Arts and Sciences that develop general knowledge and reasoning ability. Most of these types of colleges are privately owned and have limited number of programs.

Upper-Division colleges are those that offer the last two years of undergraduate programs, which are specialized.

Community colleges are those that offer Associate Degrees of two years duration. On completion of such two-year Associate degrees, students join either upper-division colleges or universities to complete the balance two years for obtaining the Bachelors degree. Most community colleges are publicly owned ones and offer technical programs that prepare students for entry into job market, with Certificate and Diploma programs of six months to one year. Specialized programs like Engineering are also offered, that are equivalent to the first two years of a bachelor’s degree. These are known as ‘transfer’ programs.

Universities offer a broad range of both undergraduate and graduate degree programs. The size of universities varies greatly – right from a two-bedroom apartment to campuses in thousands of acres! The range and diversity of programs offered are quite large. It is only possible to take up research work in universities and not in any other types of colleges.

While the universities/institutes in the US offer both, scholarships and study loans to International students, and students are allowed to work on part time basis to meet the study and stay cost, it is still important for students to evaluate their funds and come to a conclusion only after that. According to the Web site for NAFSA: Association of International Educators- ‘81 percent of international students studying at the undergraduate level in the United States receive no assistance to pay for their education. At the graduate level 47 percent must fund their own education’.

Part-Time Work/Jobs Employment opportunities for international students are limited in USA. Students should not plan on earning substantial money from a part-time job to help pay their studies.

On Campus

Though international students are allowed to work on campus, these jobs are often difficult to obtain and do not provide sufficient funds to sustain education costs. Students with good academic standing have a better chance.

Off Campus

It may be possible to for students to avail of limited off-campus employment, which is subject to strict regulatory guidelines. It requires approval from US Immigration & Naturalization Service. This approval is not easy to get and depends on a special need.

Practical Training

In addition, there may be opportunities for practical training which entail a period of authorized employment, designed to allow foreign students to have professional work experience related to their field of study. For further details, contact the foreign student adviser at the university, after you are enrolled. Please note that Immigration Department in USA has very strict rules and students that are caught working illegally will be sent back ( deported) back to their home country

Optional Practical Training (OPT)

After completing the studies, F1 Students are eligible to apply for up to one year of paid experience called OPT. This visa allows students to gain work experience in their chosen career. To be eligible for this a student must be on F1 status for a minimum of nine months and the OPT application must be filed at least 90 days prior to completion of their studies.

OPT Extension for students for 17 months:

This new rule allows students who received a Bachelor’s / Masters or Doctoral degree in Science, technology, Engineering or Mathematics (STEM) field to apply for a 17 months extension of their OPT

Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

CPT is an employment option available for F1 students where practical trainings employment is considered to be an integral part of the academic program. Curricular practical training is defined to be alternative work/study, internship, cooperative education, or any other type of required internship or practicum that is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with the school. Students who have received one year or more of full time curricular practical training are ineligible for post-completion academic training. H1B Work Visa The H1B Visa is the official and primary USA work visa / permit available to people from all over the world. The US Government introduced the H1B visa to offer and enable highly skilled International Professionals and/or International Students, from all over the World, the opportunity to live and work in the USA. The H1B is the most popular and sought after US work visa and US Immigration requires 'every' foreign national to obtain a visa in order to legally work in America. One of the main advantages of the H1B visa is that it is a 'dual intent' visa which means that you can apply for a Green Card (Legal Permanent Residency). The H1B visa is typically valid for up to six (6) years and entitles spouse and children to accompany the main applicant.

To schedule an appointment for US visa interview, log on to VFS website Helpline no for Visa Facilitation Service (VFS) for the Southern region: 044 - 4231-6767 VFS email address or inquiry is

Visa Appointments & Visa Processing There are two non-immigrant visa categories for persons wishing to study in the United States. The "F" visa is for pursuing academic studies and/or language training programs, and the "M" visa is for non-academic or vocational studies.


All students must pay this fee. SEVIS stands for Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) program and it requires schools and exchange programs to verify the enrolment status of all continuing and new foreign students and exchange visitors. However the visa cannot be issued until student SEVIS fee has been paid. All applicants applying with I-20 forms are required to provide the SEVIS I-901 fee receipt as proof of payment. Log on to for further details.

Visa Appointment and Payment of Fee:

To confirm a visa interview appointment online, students need to pay the following fees and obtain a Visa Fee Receipt from HDFC Bank. When going to HDFC Bank, students must carry a photocopy of the 1st page of their passport.

The fees payable at HDFC Bank per passport are

a) Visa Application Fee (MRV Fee): US $131 payable in INR equivalent at consular exchange rate. Visa Application Fee at current exchange rate (Rs. 54/-) is Rs. 7,074/-. This fee is payable in cash or by DD/HDFC Bank chequefavouring “US Embassy - Visa Fees”. DDs issued by cooperative banks are not accepted

b) Service Charge: Rs.381/- which includes VFS’ service charge Rs366/- & Bank service charge Rs15/- (inclusive of Service Tax @ 12% and Education Cess Tax @0.36%)

IMPORTANT: The fee receipt gets activated 2 working days from date of issue. Do not attempt to take an appointment till then.

Any of the above mentioned fees are not refundable. Students must appear for an Interview within 1 year (365 days) from the date you purchased your fee receipt from HDFC Bank. If students do not appear for an Interview within one year after the purchase of their fee receipt, it will no longer be valid. The receipt is deemed as utilized once the interview has taken place, and cannot be used to make a subsequent appointment.

Important: We recommend studentsmustcheck the appointment availability paying the visa application and service fee

The photo of each visa applicant must measure:

  • 2 by 2 inches (roughly 50 mm square) with the head centred in the frame
  • The head (measured from the top of the hair to the bottom of the chin) should measure between 1 inch to 1 3/8 inches (25 mm to 35 mm) with the eye level between 1 1/8 inch to 1 3/8 inches (28 mm and 35 mm) from the bottom of the photo
  • The photo must be a full face view in which the visa applicant is facing the camera directly
  • Head coverings and hats are only acceptable due to religious beliefs, and even then, may not cover any portion of the applicant's face

Documents for F1 (Student) Visa Applicant Mandatory Documents

  • Photocopies of first page, address page and last page of the current passport
  • One passport photograph
  • Original DS-156, Non-immigrant visa application form
  • Original DS-157, Supplementary non immigrant visa application form
  • Original Form DS-158
  • Original valid HDFC Bank visa fee receipt
  • Copy of I-20, approved and signed by the University / Institute authority
  • Proof of payment of SEVIS Fee Receipt I-901

Supporting documents

  • Original Passport
  • Interview appointment letter
  • SEVIS generated Form-I-20 in original , approved and signed by the University / Institute authority
  • Evidence of financial resources : proof of liquid assets, sufficient to pay the entire first year tuition fee and living expenses as well as proof of readily available funds to cover remaining studies (Supporting documents: original bank records/statements, fixed deposit original + copy, original income tax returns and other proofs of employment or business)
  • Original degree certificates with mark sheets
  • Original Relevant test scores SAT or GRE or GMAT and TOEFL or IELTS
  • Affidavit of support from sponsor (parents)
  • Notarised Form I-134 (Affidavit of support) if you are financially supported by an individual who is living in USA along with bank statements, payslips for last 2 years.

Verification & Interview: All students will be interviewed by the visa officer at the US Consulate, the visa officer may ask the students various questions related to their past qualification, why they want to study abroad, their future plans and goals, family background etc to determine the students genuine intentions. Some hints for students:

Hints for the interview: All students should

  • be well prepared and well informed about the University, program of study, costs, on going research in the respective departments; sum up your educational objectives.
  • be able to justify his/her choice of studying in the United States and how it would help in pursuing a career, back home in India.
  • demonstrate strong economic, social and cultural ties with one's home country.
  • be aware of the sponsors' ( preferably parents) vocation, income and nature of work.
  • be well acquainted with one's educational qualifications, University, college and credentials from India.
  • finally be able to demonstrate that he/she has sufficient funds currently available to pay the entire first year of study, and that funds will be available for all additional years until the course of study is to be completed.
  • The visa officer is looking for students who are honest ( do not beat around the bush or cook up stories), well prepared ( no parroting ), motivated and confident (not over confident), Spontaneous ( spontaneity comes only when you are well prepared), articulate (does not mean you should speak in slang or put on an accent), clarity in communication, and projecting positive body language ( no nervous behaviour like fidgeting, yawning, chatting, etc). A student should be able to justify as to "why he/she deserves to secure a student visa".
  • U.S. Visa Application Center – India (
  • Education USA (
  • United States India Education Foundation (
  • TOEFL iBT (
  • GRE Test (