USA Study Visa Requirements for Indian Students – F1, M Visas

Pursue Your Higher Education In One Of The Top Us Universities

The United States is the world’s leading student destination, offering unparalleled scope for students from all streams to study and excel in their chosen fields. Many of the top US Universities feature in global rankings, making it all the more worthwhile to acquire a US Student Visa.

Coupled with an economy that requires new talent every year, the US is the ideal destination for students looking to study and make a life after graduation.

Y-Axis offers authoritative support students need to apply for a US Student Visa. Our understanding of the US education system and vast experience with its visa process make us your best bet to study in the US.


The US universities are able to provide the best possible platform to international students, which is evident from their high rankings.

The country’s education system offers the most comprehensive coursework to students with an equal emphasis on both practical and theoretical learning.

There are many reasons to get a visa for study in USA. These include –

  • Affordable Education
  • Diversity and Flexibility
  • Outstanding support system for overseas students
  • Healthy and Safe Communities
  • International students can often work while they study & Internships
  • Exciting Campus Lifestyle

The US Universities fall under two major categories: public-funded and private institutions.
International students’ tuition expenses at state schools are based on nonresident costs, which are still usually less expensive than those of private universities.

You will need approximately $10,000 to $55,000 annually to cover your tuition fees while studying in the country on a Student Visa.

Study Program Approximate tuition fees in USD$
Undergraduate Bachelor Degree $15,000 to $40,000 per year
Graduate programs $20,000 to $40,000 per year
Doctoral Degree $20,000 to $45,000 per year
Upcoming Intakes In The Usa

Universities and Colleges in the US have 3 intakes.

Students on the country on a USA Study Visa have the option of choosing the term of their study from three main flexible intakes, Spring (January), Fall (September) and Summer (May).

Intake 1: Fall Semester – It commences in August/September and is the major intake.

Intake 2: Spring Semester – It commences in January/February intake is also available.

Intake 3: Summer Semester – It commences in May/June and is available for selected Courses.

Do ensure that you apply well in time for your Student Visa for the US to be able to successfully make your intended intake.

Work Authorization For Students:

Student Applicant

  • Students must be over 18 years of age to be able to study in USA as an international student
  • International students in US on a Student Visa can work on-campus up to 20 hours/week or less during the academic terms and full-time during the academic break periods including the summertime
  • Off-campus employment requires some form of written or documented authorization issued by either the USCIS or OISS. Also, you must be currently in legal status and have been enrolled as an F-1 student in the US for a minimum of one academic year to be eligible for any form of off-campus employment


Per U.S. government regulations, only married spouses can obtain a dependent visa status. The student, scholar or employee can add a dependent spouse to his or her record, and the spouse can then obtain a dependent visa status (F-2, J-2 or H-4). These dependent statuses do have certain restrictions.

USA Student Visa Requirements (F1 Visa)

You will generally need the following for your USA Study Visa application:

  • A valid passport with a validity date at least six months beyond your period of stay
  • Recent passport size photograph
  • Confirmation page of DS-160
  • Form I -20
  • Payment of application fees for SEVIS
  • Application as a non-immigrant
  • Your University will make you aware of additional requirements if any prior to your application
After You Graduate:
  • F1 Student Visa holders are eligible for up to 12 months of OPT (optional practical training) on completion of graduation. That means you can work for a year after you finish your studies
  • It is temporary employment permission allowing students the opportunity to gain practical experience in their field of study
  • After that, you’ll be required to apply for a work visa if you have to continue working in the US. You can remain in the US up to 60 days after the completion of your study in USA course even if you don’t have a job offer or haven’t applied for OPT
Student Dependent Visa

The student dependent visa is called the F2 Visa. The F2 visa is a non-immigrant dependent visa where the immediate family members of the F1 student visa holders can come to the US. Dependents include the spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21.

Eligibility conditions for the F2 visa
  • Must be the spouse of an F1 USA Study Visa holder.
  • Must be the dependent child (under 21 years and unmarried) of an F1 visa holder.
  • Applicant must have enough financial resources to support the family in the US
F2 visa requirements
  • Passport (both original and photocopies)
  • Visa application confirmation (DS-160)
  • A photograph conforming to U.S. visa rules
  • Birth certificate for dependent children
  • Marriage certificate for spouses
  • Visa fee payment receipt
  • Applicant’s I-20 form
  • Copy of F1 visa holder’s I-20 form
  • Applicant’s bank statements, tax records, and employment documents as proof of financial stability
Benefits Of F2 Visa

Extended visa stays

If the primary F1 visa holder extends his / her stay, then the F2 visa dependents are also automatically eligible to apply for the extension. Filing Form I-539 is enough to renew your F2 visa along with proof of your financial status.

Change of visa status

You can enter the U.S. on an F2 visa and subsequently request a change of visa status. By enrolling in a higher education program at any of the US Universities, you can change your visa status to F1. If you find an appropriate job, you can request a change of visa status.

Getting a Green Card

While you get a Green Card automatically when your primary F1 visa holder receives one, you are also eligible to apply for one on your own. You can change your visa status to a different one which allows for dual purpose (e.g. L1 visa) and then apply for a Green Card. If you find employment, you become eligible for a Green Card.

Access to healthcare

F2 student Visa holders have access to medical services and hospitals in the US. However, if you plan on a long stay or expect a medical situation, it makes sense to buy a health insurance plan to cover the high costs of health care.

F2 Visa Restrictions

There are certain visa restrictions attached to the F2 dependent of a US student visa holder. These restrictions are –

  • No permission to work
  • Not eligible for Social Security Number
  • Not allowed to pursue higher education
  • Cannot enter the U.S. before the F1 visa holder
  • As you are not eligible to work, you can’t get a Social Security Number (SSN).
  • You can’t get employment in the United States on an F2 visa. But you’re allowed to do unpaid voluntary work, but you can’t get any remuneration for it.
  • You cannot do a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree program on the F2 visa. Yet you are eligible for recreational and vocational training courses. Dependent children on an F2 visa can complete primary, middle and high school education. If you are looking to pursue higher studies, you must first apply for a visa status change.
  • You must either be accompanied by the primary F1 USA Study Visa holder or fly later after the F1 holder for first-time travel to the U.S. on an F2 visa. You can’t enter the United States before the F1 visa holder. This only applies when you are first entering the U.S. and not for subsequent travel.

M1 Visa – Student Visa (Vocational Course)

M1 visa is a type of non-immigrant visa issued by the USCIS to foreign students looking to study in the United States, but not every student receives an M1 visa. This is primarily intended for those who want to pursue vocational training in the US.

Students can enter the US with an M1 visa to study in USA and complete their full-time vocational studies.

What can you do with an M1 visa

Using the M1 visa, as a student, you can obtain a driver’s license, a bank account based in the U.S., access to health care services, and apply for work under certain restrictions. If your M1 visa status is valid you can bring in your relatives as dependents to live with you in the United States.

What you cannot do

Apply for full-time employment outside the campus

Study the full-time course as part-time operation (which means strict monitoring of attendance) Switch from one institution to another after six months of program commencement (you can do so before six months)

After completing your vocational course, continue with a bachelor’s degree or other types of degree

Requirements for visa application

  • You have applied for non-academic or vocational training courses in the US
  • You meet the minimum education qualification required for admission into the vocational course.
  • You were admitted by a U.S.-based educational school and got the Form I-20.
  • You have the appropriate level of proficiency in English
  • You’ve shown you’ve got enough funds to cover your expenses while you’re in the US
  • You have permanent residence in your country of origin
  • You have no intention of remaining in the US and will leave after your education is complete
  • The institution is convinced that the education you are receiving will benefit your country of origin

Documents required

  • Passport valid for at least six months
  • DS-160 confirmation
  • Visa appointment letter
  • Recent photographs
  • Fee receipts
  • Educational certificates
  • Proof of financial stability

The M-2 nonimmigrant visa enables the dependent spouse and children under the age of 21 of a valid M-1 student visa holder to come to the US.

To qualify for the visa, you must:

Prove your purpose to temporarily stay in the US

Prove that you are the applicant’s dependent spouse or child, under the age of 21

With an M-2 visa you can:

  • Study in an elementary or secondary school
  • Study in a vocational or recreational school
  • Travel in and out of the U.S.

On M-2 visa, you cannot:

  • Try for admission at a US university
  • Seek employment in the US

Duration of stay

You may stay on an M-2 visa in the U.S. as long as the applicant for the principal M-1 is in status. This may be for one year or for the period required by the principal M-1 applicant to complete the study course up to a maximum of 3 years plus 30 days to depart afterward, whichever is less.


J-1 Intern category visa of the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program is to give foreign students and recent graduates the opportunity to develop their skills while gaining knowledge of US business practice and culture.

On returning to their own countries, interns are expected to share the cross-cultural and professional experience they have gained in the U.S. A lot of internships are paid.

  • Applicants should be mindful that the J-1 Interns’ Visa System is designed purely as a way of taking part in an internship. U.S. state department specifically forbids the use of the J-1 Visa System for interns to fill the role of a regular employee.
  • As an intern, it is strictly forbidden for the applicant to accept any employment outside of their internship in the US. If an applicant is found to be engaged in unauthorized work, he will be subject to the immediate termination of the J-1 Visa Program and can be deported. He must face penalties through the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Eligibility conditions

To be eligible for Sponsorship on the J-1 Intern Visa, applicants must have secured an internship with a company in the US in any one of the following fields:

  • Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishing;
  • Arts and Culture;
  • Construction and Building Trades;
  • Education, Social Sciences, Library Science, Counseling and Social Services;
  • Health-Related Occupations;
  • Hospitality and Tourism;
  • Information Media and Communications;
  • Management, Business, Commerce and Finance;
  • Public Administration and Law; and
  • The Sciences, Engineering, Architecture, Mathematics and Industrial Occupations.

Applicants must also:

Have proficiency in English

Be prepared to leave the USA within 30 days of the program being completed. The USCIS is granting this time to allow planning for the return to home. Applicants may not continue the program or complete it, nor work during this 30-day period. They may, however, travel within the United States


The J2 visa is a US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) provided a visa. It is a special visa issued to spouses and dependents of J1 visa holders. These individuals may go on to accompany or ultimately join a J1 visa holder in the US.

Duration of visa

The duration of this visa varies since J2 visa holders are granted the same period of stay as the J1 visa holder.

Eligibility requirements

  • Spouses are given preference for this visa and will be made eligible immediately.
  • Dependents have to be under-21 and unmarried, otherwise, they would not be eligible for this visa.
  • J1 visa holder must be physically present in the United States before the J2 visa holder can reach the US. If you enter separately, the holder of the J1 visa must arrive before you.

Required documents

DS-2019: This is the form that allows you to apply for a dependent J2 visa. That will be issued in your home country by the U.S. embassy. Strictly speaking, DS-2019 is not a form; it is a certificate proving your eligibility to accompany the holder of the J1 visa on their exchange program. So, you’re not going to submit this document but will carry it for the whole time you’re staying in the U.S. I-94

This document summarizes your departure and arrival in the U.S. You need to show this document whenever you’re crossing the border. Unless this is your first time in the United States, then your copy of the I-94 will be sent to you.

J2 Visa Sticker: The J2 visa sticker in your passport indicates that you have been granted J2 visa status and are accompanying the holder of the J1 visa.

Permission to Work: As a J2 visa holder, you can work in most cases. For this, you will have to file Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization. If this is approved, you can work for up to one year, after which you can renew the permission.

Top Universities

Top universities in the US among the Top 500 global universities, as per QS World University Rankings 2022.

Rank in 2022 University Name
1 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
3* Stanford University
5 Harvard University
6 California Institute of Technology (Caltech)
10 University of Chicago
13 University of Pennsylvania
14* Yale University
19 Columbia University
20 Princeton University
21 Cornell University
23* University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
25 Johns Hopkins University
30 Northwestern University
32 University of California, Berkeley (UCB)
40 University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
42 New York University (NYU)
48 University of California, San Diego (UCSD)
52 Duke University
53* Carnegie Mellon University
60 Brown University
67 University of Texas at Austin
75* University of Wisconsin-Madison
82* University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
85* University of Washington
88 Georgia Institute of Technology
94 Rice University
96 Pennsylvania State University
100 University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
107 Washington University in St. Louis
112* Boston University
112* University of Southern California
116 Purdue University
120 The Ohio State University
138* University of California, Davis
146 University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB)
154 University of Rochester
157 Michigan State University
158* University of Maryland, College Park
160 Emory University
161 Case Western Reserve University
163* University of Pittsburgh
168 Texas A&M University
173* University of Florida
186* University of Minnesota Twin Cities
191* Dartmouth College
216* Arizona State University
218 Vanderbilt University
222 University of Notre Dame
226* University of Virginia
232 University of California, Irvine
246* University of Massachusetts Amherst
248* Georgetown University
251 University of Colorado Boulder
252* Yeshiva University
264* Rutgers University-New Brunswick
268* The University of Arizona
275 Tufts University
285* University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC)
300* North Carolina State University
311* Indiana University Bloomington
311* University of Miami
340* University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
342 Northeastern University
346 Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
347* University of California, Santa Cruz
355 George Washington University
358* University of Utah
373 University of Connecticut
378 Stony Brook University, State University of New York
387 University of Kansas
388* University at Buffalo SUNY
403* University of California, Riverside
414* University of Colorado, Denver
427* Washington State University
429* Wake Forest University
431* Colorado State University
431* Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
436* Tulane University
444 Illinois Institute of Technology
455* Brandeis University
455* University of Iowa
461* Colorado School of Mines
475 Florida State University
476 University of Missouri, Columbia
477* University of Texas Dallas
494* Boston College
494* Iowa State University


How much can I earn while studying in the USA?

Overseas students in the US can earn a maximum of $20 hourly. But they can work for a maximum of 20 hours weekly. The earnings will differ based on the College and job. You can earn maximum money by working as an RA/TA.

What are the requirements for USA Student Visa?

The US Student Visa requires submission of mandatory documents as well as supporting documents of academic and financial records. The following documents will be required:

  • A Passport that has a validity of minimum 6 months after your stay in the US
  • Print out of the online application form DS -160
  • Original and copy of the appointment letter for the interview
  • Form I – 20 sent by the US University/College where you will study
  • A confirmation receipt for payment of Visa fees
  • Bank statement for a minimum of 3 years that show adequate funds for paying for the first year (can be of parent/guardian)
  • Payslips
  • Original Marks sheet or Provisional certificates
  • Score sheet of exams like IELTS, GMAT, TOEFL, etc
What is the minimum IELTS score required to study in the USA?

US Universities/Colleges expect a minimum IELTS score of 6.5 bands and the higher the score the better. Majority of them will accept the application for admission with at least 6.5 scores.

Can you work on a Student Visa USA?

Yes, overseas students can work in the US while studying with some restrictions. Those who are on the M-1 and F-1 Visa are permitted to work in specified training programs on-campus. They are not permitted to work outside the campus in the first year of study.

How much does it cost to study in the USA for an Indian?

The tuition fees for Undergraduate course ranges from $15,000 to $20,000 annually. It ranges between $7000 to $21,000 plus or more for Postgraduate courses. This is based on the program you choose and the school – private or public. The monthly cost of living can be anything from $300 to $1000 depending on your lifestyle.

How can I convert my B2 Visa to F1 Visa and what are the process and the cost?

The conversion to F-1 Visa from B-2 Visa can be attempted only from within the US. Overseas applicants outside the US must file an application for F-1 Visa.

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