It is important to note that two separate U.S. government agencies are involved with international student arrival and status while studying in the United States. The State Department is responsible for the visa application process and issuing the visa. Once a visa holder arrives in the United States, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security then takes over as the responsible agency for entry into the country, as well as issuing and enforcing international student regulations. Please read information from all three sources above before applying for a U.S. student visa. The sites address employment, maintaining your status, and other vital topics.
Even for seasoned travelers like yours truly, visas can be incredibly frustrating. You have to get this document and that document; and often, despite having all of the necessary documents and fees in place, the consulate or government agency never fails to find a reason why they cannot process your visa.  If you have any questions on visas, good luck getting anyone to answer the phone….consulates and embassies are notorious for not picking up the phone. Many consulates would rather provide you with an e-mail address that gets you a short, uninformative response in three business days or more.

While in US and since I’m travelling solo, I have a special interest to visit these places for 3-4 days each – Anchorage in Alaska, El Salvador & Trinadad (as you know, for the last two, Indians don’t need visa). But, I’m thinking how to plan my trips wisely and from which part of US to fly out and back in in order to save on air fares. Any pointers?
Because obtaining a visa can be complicated and time-consuming, Travisa does that work for you! We assist individuals, travel agents, and corporate travel departments to meet travel deadlines and requirements. We are not a government agency, but we work directly with passport agencies and embassies to ensure that your travel plans go smoothly. From out innovative order tracking system letting you know where you passport is at all times; to our easy online ordering – Travisa is the passport and visa processor to use "When you need it fast!"
The first step is to apply to a SEVP-approved school in the United States.  After the SEVP-approved school accepts your enrollment, you will be registered for the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) and must pay the SEVIS I-901 fee.  The SEVP-approved school will issue you a Form I-20.  After you receive the Form I-20 and register in SEVIS, you may apply at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate for a student (F or M) visa.  You must present the Form I-20 to the consular officer when you attend your visa interview.
The DS-160, Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application form, is for temporary travel to the United States, and for K (fiancé(e)) visas. Form DS-160 is submitted electronically to the Department of State website via the Internet. Consular Officers use the information entered on the DS-160 to process the visa application and, combined with a personal interview, determine an applicant’s eligibility for a nonimmigrant visa.
The visa officer needs to know your specific objectives, both academic or professional, for studying in the United States. Be prepared to explain why it is better to study your specific field in the United States than to study at home. Be ready to say exactly what you will study and for what career your U.S. studies will prepare you. Calmly state your education plans concisely and clearly.
Some countries also offer an e-visa and/or a “visa-on-arrival” option. Both an e-visa and a visa-on-arrival allow you to apply online before your trip and without having to send in your passport. This is usually the easiest and fastest way to get your visa. Determining which one to get can be confusing. It usually depends on your port of entry and whether you to plan to enter the country multiple times. It’s important to do a Google search on visa options for your destination country as the official websites are not always up-to-date. 

A fax or email from your U.S. school to the embassy or consulate in your city containing details about your qualifications, and requesting reconsideration, can be helpful in pursuing a successful appeal. Faxes should be addressed to the Chief of Nonimmigrant Visas at the Consular post in question. Fax and telephone numbers are available on the page of the Embassy or Consulate where you will apply for the visa on the Department of State web site at usembassy.state.gov. Look under “Contact Us.”
I am from India and for the past 5 years, I am working/living in the San Francisco area. I am planning to visit Spain in Sep’19 for tourism. The trip will be for 12 days. I have the Schengen Visa appt coming up in 10 days at the Spanish embassy in San Francisco. I landed on your blog while searching for tips to get required documents for visa appt such as Flight reservations, Hotel bookings, etc. I looked at many of the responses you provided and they looked very precise and very helpful. I want to thank you for the service you are providing to travelers from all over the world especially the ones with “powerless” Indian passport. Kudos to you.
1. My trip will be total 20-22 days, split between UK-4, France-7, Swiss-4, Italy-7. I am going as a tourist but will be also attending an university reunion one full day in France, which is the main motivation for the trip. I want to apply for the Schengen visa first (at the French Consulate), then for the UK visa. Is this a good strategy, considering France is my main reason for the trip. or do you advise to apply the UK one first, then France? My reasoning being, the Schengen visa would increase my chance for the UK one.
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Students who are authorized Optional Practical Training (OPT) must have a Form I-20 endorsed for OPT, and apply to USCIS for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). When authorized, OPT is temporary employment that is directly related to the eligible F-1 student's area of study. To learn more about OPT, please visit the USCIS Website and the ICE International Students webpage.
TraVisa is a company that specializes in issuing passports and visas to travelers quickly and easily. A service they offer that many other similar companies don’t is the ability to save an electronic version of one’s passport or visa on your smartphone. They have a mobile application that for Androids, iPhones and iPads let people get all the necessary information about their passport or visa. The company also allows its customers to register their travel with the U.S. Embassy. They even have an instructional video on their website that tells people everything they need to know about how to use their services.
Last year, Feb 18 I was refused by Netherlands embassy reason 2. justification for the purpose and condition of intended stay was not provided and reason no 9. your intention to leave territory could not be ascertained. Because during the telephonic interview I could not answer the hotel name and address. at that time also not submitted my business license. Applied as freelancer, also no travel history, so refused. Then in a week reapply in Czech republic again refused with the same reason 2 and 9.
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As an international student coming to the United States, there are three different student visas that you could be issued: F1 Visa, J1 Visa or M1 Visa. The F1 and J1 visas allow for the possibility of employment in the US during your stay, while the M1 Visa does not. You need to be familiar with the types of visas, how they impact your financing while in the USA and how to go through the application and arrival processes.

The F-1 Visa (Academic Student) allows you to enter the United States as a full-time student at an accredited college, university, seminary, conservatory, academic high school, elementary school, or other academic institution or in a language training program. You must be enrolled in a program or course of study that culminates in a degree, diploma, or certificate and your school must be authorized by the U.S. government to accept international students.
2) Perhaps a frequent traveler like you can shed some light on this. I have a 5-year multiple entry Schengen visa issued by France. Do I need to have either an entry or exit stamp from France each time I travel to the Schengen countries? I mean can I avoid visiting France altogether on a particular visit; say enter through Italy and exit through Spain?
(travel reservation to and from Schengen area in your name, not a ticket), so does this mean I have to show the itinerary only to port of entry and departure country, or also for all the other countries I will be visiting in the Schengen area? My itinerary looks like this Budapest-Vienna-Prague-Paris-Amsterdam, and I plan to use road/rail transport for a few of the places, so please let me know how should my air itinerary look.
Thanks for this article. It is very informative! I have an Indian passport (‘powerless passport- this made me chuckle) but I am currently residing in the United States(work visa). I am planning a trip to the Schengen area – fly in and out of Amsterdam and probably visit Belgium and Germany while there. The documents specify bank statements – do you think online print outs will do fine? I am glad that these online sites that book the flight/hotel/insurance for you are genuine and I plan to use ‘travelvisabookings’. The question I have for you is that Indian passports or maybe it’s just my passport has my whole name listed under ‘given name’ and ‘surname’ is blank. Do you have any suggestions regarding this when it comes to filling out visa applications where they ask for first and last name? Thanks a lot for your time!

If a travel visa is one of the foreign entry requirements for the places you plan to visit, you need to obtain it from the appropriate embassy or consulate office. Most foreign consular representatives are located in major cities in the United States such as New York, Houston and Los Angeles. There are a large number of embassies in Washington, DC. Some countries allow you to apply for a visa by mail while others require a personal appearance.
If you are going to the USA to learn English and then earn a degree, be able to explain your complete program of study. Remember, it is not enough to just say, “It is better to study in the United States.” Give valid reasons why it is better for you. Visa officers like to hear honest, direct responses to questions. They generally react poorly to applicants who give vague answers, memorize a speech, or make overly solicitous comments about how great and wonderful the United States is.
Student visas are designated non-immigrant visas because they are issued based on the fact that applicant will not intend to stay in the United States permanently. This means that if students are applying for either an F-1 or M-1 student visa they are telling the United States government that they only wish to remain in the United States for as long as it takes to complete their studies. The U.S. Department of State is the U.S. Government office responsible for issuing student visas. The State Department policy is carried out around the world by U.S. consulates and embassies. For this reason, if students are applying for student visas overseas they will be dealing with a U.S. consulate or embassy in their home country. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is the agency with jurisdiction over individuals who apply to change or extend student visa from inside the U.S.
A visa does not guarantee entry into the United States.  A visa only allows a foreign citizen to travel to a U.S. port-of-entry (generally an airport) and request permission to enter the United States. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials at the port-of-entry have authority to permit or deny admission to the United States.  
The M-1 student visa is for students who enroll in non-academic or "vocational study". Some examples of "vocational study" are mechanical studies, technical studies, cooking classes, a language program, flight school or cosmetology program. Unlike the F-1 visa, the M-1 visa is valid for only one year. Students may apply for cumulative extensions for up to three years.
A valid U.S. visa in an expired passport is still valid. Unless canceled or revoked, a visa is valid until its expiration date. If you have a valid visa in your expired passport, do not remove it from your expired passport. You may use your valid visa in your expired passport along with a new valid passport for travel and admission to the United States. 
Generally, a citizen of a foreign country who wishes to enter the United States must first obtain a visa, either a nonimmigrant visa for a temporary stay, or an immigrant visa for permanent residence. Visitor visas are nonimmigrant visas for persons who want to enter the United States temporarily for business (visa category B-1), for tourism (visa category B-2), or for a combination of both purposes (B-1/B-2).

If you are going to the USA to learn English and then earn a degree, be able to explain your complete program of study. Remember, it is not enough to just say, “It is better to study in the United States.” Give valid reasons why it is better for you. Visa officers like to hear honest, direct responses to questions. They generally react poorly to applicants who give vague answers, memorize a speech, or make overly solicitous comments about how great and wonderful the United States is.
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