After I-20: Applying for a Visa

After getting your I-20 from the university you intend to attend, the next important step is applying for your visa. The students who wish to enter the US for full-time education purposes are eligible for an F1 visa. If you would bring along your spouse or dependents, they will require an F2 visa.

The visa dates should be taken as early as possible after you get your I-20 form. The dates run out soon during the busy season. A student visa may be issued no more than 120 days prior to the start date mentioned on your I-20. This post will elucidate the visa application process.

Paying the Visa Fees:

All applicants have to pay the visa application fees at a designated branch of HDFC bank (branch list) before applying for a visa. The fees is currently around Rs.5800 and is valid for 365 days. You will be given 2 copies of the receipts. Please retain them carefully and don't loose them. The visa fee receipt will be activated after 2 working days.

Visa Application and Interview Slot Booking:

After your receipt has been activated, you are ready to fill in the visa application and book an interview slot. The visa booking website for US consulates in India is:
- Click on "Apply for a Non-Immigrant Visa".
- Click on continue
- Click on "NO" in the question of "DO YOU HAVE A BEP USER ID".
- Click on Create a New Application
- Follow the instructions and fill the application forms.
- Select an appointment date as per your convenience.
- You will also need to complete Form DS-156, Form DS-157 and Form DS-158.

Download and take print-outs of all the forms and the interview letter.


Before your visa interview, you must pay the SEVIS fee (around $100) (SEVIS I-901 fee) of $100 and obtain a SEVIS fee payment receipt. You should pay it at least before 3 working days from your visa interview date. To pay the fees, log on to:



June 28, 2009 at 10:18 AM

very nice thread! It helped me. Thanks a lot

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