Here is the step-by-step guide on how to apply for university in USA for international students.
How to get I-20
- Find University
- Manage Admission
- Talk to International Office
- They will send I-20
Complete visa processing after getting an I-20.
A) Pay the SEVIS fee
B) DS-160 form fillup and submit
C) Pay the visa fee and Schedule the interview date & time.
D) Visa Interview
E) Collect your passport
A) Pay the SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) fee
1) You can pay the fee whenever you want to and does not related to DS-160 and scheduling your interview date. You have to pay online with a credit card or EBL aqua card.
2) You do not need to pay the fee for the dependent (F-2).
3) First, go to the following link. https://fmjfee.com/i901fee/index.html#
4) Click Pay I-901 Fee.
5) Enter the SEVIS ID, Given Name, Last Name, Date of Birth, and click submit.
6) Now fill up the rest of the form and pay ($ 200).
7) Now print the receipt. You need to show this receipt to the embassy.
8) If you forget to print the receipt, nothing to worry about. Just go to the first link and click Check I-901 Status. This will give you the receipt always.
9) Your SEVIS payment will be valid for the next year. If you need to apply for a visa for the second time (or more), you do not need to pay the fee again.
10) Last but not least, you have to pay the fee before seven days* of your interview.
Note: If you want to change the school after payment then contact your intended university international Office. They will do the rest.
*Some would say three days but remember the fee payment status can only be verified after two working days if the embassy wants. So why take the risk. Besides, I saw this in an official FAQ section.
B) DS-160 fillup and Submit
1) First, you need to take the photograph from any photo studio and ask them to resize it according to a USA visa.
2) There are some embassy recommended studio, if you want then click the following link (with specifications):
But remember you don’t have to take the hassle. I assure you a pic from anywhere with a size of 2 × 2 inches will do the job (with some exception). You can also test the photo in the DS-160 form fillup section, so no worries.
3) Now click the link: https://ceac.state.gov/genniv/
4) Select location, wait for a few seconds and your new captcha will show up. Enter the correct captcha and click “Start an Application”.
5) You will get an Application ID. Save it somewhere else.
6) Now answer and input all the corrected and true info. Do not lie.
7) Remember, you don’t need to complete it at one sit. This form will be saved to the database for the next 30 days. So, you can save your progress and retrieve the application with this application ID and a security question along with your last name.
8) In case they ask for province/state, just tick “Does not Apply”.
9) If you made any mistake and found it after submission. Alas, you are Undone!! Just kidding. Fill a new one. There’s no harm doing that. But you cannot make a change after scheduling your visa**.
10) Once Submitted you must have to print (color) the DS-160 confirmation page. You have to show that on the interview date. They will also email you a confirmation page or you can email you a copy from the options provided.
11) Now, Let’s check on the some frequently asked confusion:
US Point of Contact: Address in your I-20, mostly international office.
Address Where you stay in US: Again address from your I-20 (some people uses
Departmental Address too).
Person Paying for the trip: Write as you want, this does not matter. Usually
job holders select “Self”.
Intended Stay in the USA : Write an approximate year from I-20 course
Length (Usually 5 years for Ph.D. and 2 years for MS).
Adding SSC & HSC: I don’t see any disadvantage in adding them.
Education History for Females: Hurrah!!! They trust you. You don’t need that. Basically
you will not find that in your form.
**There’s still some way that is somehow complex. I am not mentioning this here. Hope you would be more careful in filling up DS-160.
C) Pay The Visa Fee
1) Go to the following link: https://cgifederal.secure.force.com/?language=English&country=Bangladesh
2) Click the new users. Create an account with the email you provided in DS-160.
3) You will need your DS-160 confirmation number (that is application ID).
4) After sign up, a dashboard will show up. Click a new applicant from the left tab.
5) Follow the steps. At some point, your payment option will show up with a receipt containing a unique CGI reference number and the exact amount to be paid ($ 160, converted in TK).
6) You will find a receipt number option here. Don’t worry about that now and log out.
7) Print the receipt (you can save it for print later, you can email your receipt from the options or you will get the same receipt whenever you log in to your account).
8) Completely fill-up the receipt and go to the any of the Eastern Bank branches and ask them to give you the receipt for US visa fee deposition. You will only need a photocopy of the passport. Branches: https://bangladeshbankinfo.blogspot.com/2012/06/branch-location-ebl.html
9) After payment, come home and do nothing (!!). Wait for a confirmation email containing receipt number. Usually, you will get that within the 9.00 – 11.00 am of the next morning of payment.
10) After that, your receipt number should be updated automatically. Otherwise copy the MRV receipt no. from email paste it to the “Receipt No” box and click next.
11) Now you can schedule the visa interview date.
12) Once done, print the confirmation page. There are an option to print and they will also email you the confirmation. Done.
D) Visa Interview
1) Go to the embassy at least 30 min earlier.
2) You will need the following during visa interview:
· Visa Appointment Confirmation Page
· Copy of bank receipt from EBL (although not much needed one).
· DS-160 confirmation page.
· SEVIS payment receipt.
· One copy Pic.
· Offer letter/award letter from the university.
· All educational certificates and transcript.
· GRE, IELTS/TOEFL Score.
· Bank Statement (For partially and Self-funded, optional for full funded).
· Employment Certificate, Salary Certificate (Optional).
· Nikahnama: both Bangla & translated along with Pics (For F-2 spouse).
3) Remember USA visa interview completely depends on the verbal response. They rarely asked for any documents apart from I-20 and passport. But it’s always good to have some proof with you.
4) For self/partially funded students, practice the probable question before the interview. Don’t memorize. Just organize the answers. You will get tons of questions from the group.
5) CONFIDENCE IS THE KEY IN F1 VISA INTERVIEW.
6) Once your visa approved you will get a blue leaflet containing all the information for the next steps.
E) Collect Your Passport
1) If your visa has been approved then you will get an email stating that “Your passport has been collected from embassy…” within 2-5 days after the visa interview.
2) You can also check the status from here: https://ceac.state.gov/ceac/.
3) Collect it from your desired VFS (Provided by you during scheduling visa).
Please let me know if we need to update anything.
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