General F-1 US Visa Procedure for Indians
This blog mentions the basic steps which are required to follow after getting an i20 form from a University. After getting an i20, we need to fill couple of forms which includes DS-160 Form, Sevis Form (I-901) and Visa Appointment Date.
DS-160 Form is used for applying for a Non-Immigrant Visa i.e. for people who are not citizens of United States of America and want to visit/travel to the USA. For more information on DS-160 Form you can refer to the official web site - http://www.ustraveldocs.com/in/in-niv-ds160info.asp
Sevis Fee is a payment charged by the United States Department of Homeland Security to maintain and fund the Student Exchange Visa Information System (SEVIS). For every i20 which we receive, there is a SEVIS ID which is mentioned on the i20. As we have been provided with a SEVIS ID, we need to pay the SEVIS Fees which is a required document for Visa Interview. For more information, you can refer to - https://www.ice.gov/sevis/overview
This form is required for your visa process. It is essential to fill the form with the correct information and get a confirmation which would be used in the Visa process.
You need to visit the official site to apply for a non immigrant visa at https://ceac.state.gov/genniv/.
Before starting make sure that the location which you would choose for your Visa Interview (Currently only 5 cities are listed - New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad and Kolkata) should be the same location which you would choose to schedule your Visa Interview.
Now you would be required to enter the location wherein you would give your Visa Interview, Enter the Captcha code and click on Start An Application to start filling the DS-160 Form. This form contains various sections and you are required to fill the sections with the correct information. As it’s a general form, I would list couple of options which might be tricky to answer.
Under the section of Travel Information
Intended Length of Stay in US is a question which surprises everyone as no one expects such a question. Tupically you should mention the length of the course you would be pursuing as the answer to this question. In some cases if your course is STEM recognized but is a 1 or 2 year program, you can mention the intended length of stay as 3 years (The time you can remain in US on STEM OPT).
Under the section U.S. Contact Information
If you don’t know the contact number of the official who is in US, it’s better to mention Contact Person Name in the U.S. as Do Not Know and specify the Organization Name in the U.S. The organization would be an academic institution which has been mentioned in your I20 Letter. If contact number is not mentioned on the I20, use the contact number of the university (Which you can find on the institution website). If you don’t know the Email-Id, you can select Does Not Apply.
Under the section of Student Exchange Visa Information(SEVIS)
In this section, Course of Study is a tricky field which most of the people are not aware of as what to fill. In this, you should mention the Major of the course which you are going to study which is mentioned in the I-20 Form. If you are going for high school, then you can mention the Course of Study as Academic itself.
Post submission of the complete form you would get a DS-160 Confirmation which you should download and would be required as a document while going for the Biometrics Appointment (OFC) for Visa and Visa Interview.
After getting a confirmation of submission of DS-160 Form, you would need to schedule your visa appointment. To do so, you should visit the official site at https://cgifederal.secure.force.com/. On this site, you are required to create a profile before scheduling your appointment. If you are a new user, you should click on New User? which is at the right bottom of the page. If you are returning user, you can directly login with your Email, Password and CAPTCHA.
Note: At all times, please make sure that the information filled in DS-160 Form, Profile information on Visa Appointment site and passport are all correct, same and should not have any discrepancies among each other.
To Schedule an Appointment, you can click on Schedule an Appointment which is on the top-left side of the page. It contains fairly simple steps for you to follow to specify the Personal Information, Location, Visa Type among other information. Once you complete filling of the information, you would be presented with a page to Make Payment and various Payment Modes would be described. This is an important and tricky step due to lack of clear understanding of the same.
Making Payment ($160 - F1 Visa Fee)
View the various payment modes as mentioned. Currently they support payments via NEFT, IMPS, Deposit at Banks.
Decide the payment mode which you would choose to make a payment with among the options you viewed in earlier point. If you are making a payment via NEFT or IMPS, follow the next point.
Click on NEFT/IMPS to view the details of the account in which you are required to send the payment for the Visa fee. For NEFT, it includes IFSC Code, Unique Beneficiary Account Number and Beneficiary Name along with the Amount you need to pay. Similar information would be present for payment via IMPS. The unique beneficiary account number is unique for you and as soon the payment is processed it will be identified that you have paid.
Please keep a copy of the Payment Instructions page and download it for future references as it may be required for Visa Process
Now on that page, it asks for Receipt Number. After the payment has been received automatically after few hours you can re-login into the site and here the Receipt number would be automatically displayed. Don’t panic that you have paid and transaction has not been reflected, give upto 2 business days at max for it to reflect.
After the confirmation, you can book the data for OFC Apoointment (Biometrics) and Visa Appointment.
Note - Make sure there should be a difference of a day between both the appointment.
SEVIS Fee (I-901)
You need to pay for the SEVIS ID generated for you which is mentioned in the I-20 Form. I-901 is the name of the form which corresponds to SEVIS information.
Follow the following steps -
To pay the SEVIS fee, you need to visit the official site i.e. https://www.fmjfee.com/.
You need to then click on Pay I-901 Fee which is on the top row of the page.
Thereon you are required to mention basic information as asked such as SEVIS ID, Last Name, Given Name and Date of Birth.
Upon validation of the applicant, you would be redirected to pay $200 as SEVIS fee which you can pay via various modes of payment including Credit and Debit Card among others.
You would need to download and print the document which will be used as a proof for the Visa Process.
Note - You can pay SEVIS fee before or after booking of the Visa Interview Date but must be done before you visit the Consulate or Visa Center for Biometrics and Visa Interview.