USA FAQS


  • What is the Student Visa Process?

    Step 1: Attend a counseling session
    Attend a counseling session at our Office to find out your options relating to study destination, courses available and recommended institutions.

    Step 2: Register with Cambridge
    Register with Cambridge to start the admission and visa process. We can help you navigate through the various processes and make studying overseas easier.

    Step 3: Apply for admission and Organize Funds
    Once you have decided what and where you want to study, we will help you complete the application to the institutions of your choice. At the time of application for admission you will be required to submit several documents including proof of previous academic qualifications and in most cases proof of your English language ability. We will also provide you with a checklist for the documents you will need to provide when the time comes to apply for your visa (step 9). In addition you have to provide documents demonstrating strong financial, social, and family ties to your home country that will compel you to return to your country after your program of study in the United States ends, to apply your admission.

    We take the hard work out of tracking the applications by keeping in contact with the institution on your behalf.

    Step 4:Institute issues the I-20
    Once a US education provider accepts you as one of their students, they will issue a "Confirmation of acceptance of the student" known as an I-20. An I-20 is required for an F-1 or M-1 student visa. As well as applying for the visa, the I-20 form is necessary to enter the U.S. for the first time, re-enter U.S. after a short visit outside the U.S., and for the entry of family / dependents (spouse, children).

    Step 5: Pay the Sevis Fees online
    SEVIS is The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System. The SEVIS I-901 fee is required for all F and M students as well as J exchange visitors. To pay the fee, go to: https://www.fmjfee.com/i901fee/

    Step 6: Payment of Visa fees by creating your Login ID
    Your next step is to pay the visa application fee. This fee has to be paid at the approved Bank. To pay your visa fee, read the Bank and Payment Options page. This page explains how to make your visa fee payment. Before, paying the fee, you will need to create a profile and must keep your receipt number to book your visa appointment.The visa fee page lists the visa types and correlating visa fee in US dollars and native currency.

    Step 7: Complete the online Form DS160
    The visa application form, known as the DS 160 needs to be completed online. In order to complete the form you will need to have completed all steps up to this point. After successfully completing the online form, you will receive an application ID number and password, and you will be able to access the confirmation page of the DS-160.

    Step 8: Book a Visa Interview
    The next step is to make an appointment for your visa interview at the U.S. Embassy. Appointments are booked online.Once your appointment has been booked, you will be able to view your appointment letter. Make sure you take a print out of this, as you will need to bring this with you when you attend your interview.

    Step 9:Undertake an interview with US Consulate
    On the date of your appointment you will need to take your entire visa case with you to the interview. Cambridge Educational Services will prepare the case file for you with the documents you have provided throughout the various steps of the process. It is important also that you prepare for your visa interview. Make sure you are clear on the reasons you have chosen to Study in the USA, and why you have chosen the course and institution for which you have been issued an I-20.

    Step 10: Visa Outcome and Undertake Medical Examination
    On the day of your interview, you will be informed about the visa decision. In case the visa is refused, your passport will be handed over to you directly by the visa officer. Once your visa has been approved, you will need to undertake a medical examination.

    For approved visas, the passport will be returned to our office, with the visa stamp, approximately one week after your interview. We will notify you as soon as it has arrived so you can come in and collect it. This also means you can also start planning your travel and accommodation for the USA!

    Step 11: Travel Services
    We at Cambridge can help you organize your travel arrangements to begin your new student life in USA. Air ticketing, insurance and foreign exchange can all be arranged through us to make studying overseas easier!

  • What is an I-20?

    The Form I-20 is an official U.S. Government form, issued by a certified school, which a prospective nonimmigrant student must have in order to get an F-1 or M-1 visa. Form I-20 acts as proof-of-acceptance and contains the information necessary to pay the SEVIS I-901 fee, apply for a visa or change visa status, and be admitted into the United States. The Form I-20 has the student's SEVIS identification number, which starts with the letter N and is followed by nine digits, on the upper right-hand side directly above the barcode.

  • How early should I apply for my student visa?

    You are encouraged to apply for your nonimmigrant student visa as soon as you have your I-20. To ensure you get an early and timely date you may apply at anytime. However, a student visa may be issued no more than 120 days prior to the start date mentioned on your I-20.

  • I received my visa, when should I travel?

    You may only enter the United States within 30 days of the beginning of the course of study stated on your I-20, regardless of when your visa was issued.

  • Can a person on a visitor visa change his/her status to student while in the United States if he/she gains admission to a school and gets a Form I-20?

    Yes. In general, you may apply to change your nonimmigrant visa status if you were lawfully admitted to the United States with a nonimmigrant visa, if your nonimmigrant status remains valid, if you have not violated the conditions of your status, and you have not committed any actions that would make you ineligible. For more details, please visit the USCIS website.

  • What if I receive an I-20 to a different school?

    If you received an I-20 after scheduling your appointment, then you can inform the U.S. consular officer of the new I-20 at the time of the interview.

  • I was working as an H-1B and have now been admitted to a university as an F-1. Do I need to return to my country to apply for a student visa?

    No. Once you are in the United States, you do not need to apply for a new visa because the visa is only for entry into the United States. Check with USCIS to determine if you need to adjust status. If you leave the country, however, you'll need to apply for the student visa in order to re-enter the United States.

  • Can an F-1 student work in the United States?

    Full-time students on F visas may seek on-campus employment not to exceed 20 hours per week. After the first year in student status, an applicant may apply for employment off campus with authorization from USCIS. Please contact your student advisor for further information.

  • What is the SEVIS system and how does it affect me?

    The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) program requires schools and exchange programs to verify the enrollment status of all new and continuing foreign students and exchange visitors. Student visa applicants are required to pay a SEVIS fee before a visa can be issued. Applicants are then required to provide the SEVIS I-901 fee receipt as proof of payment. The SEVIS website has more details.

  • Can my dependents apply for a tourist visa instead of dependent visa if they only want to visit me and stay in U.S. for a short period of time?

    Yes, they can apply for a Tourist visa.

  • Can my family accompany me? If yes, on which visa?

    The Spouse and/or unmarried children (under the age of 21) who wish to accompany or join the student in the USA needs to apply for a dependent visa. The type of dependent visa will depend on the type of student visa the student has been granted. For more information visit: http://www.ustraveldocs.com/in/in-niv-typefandm.asp#supportingdocsdependents

  • What are the work rights for Spouse?

    The spouse of a student cannot work if they have travelled to the USA on a dependent visa. If seeking employment, the appropriate work visa will be required.For more information visit: http://www.ustraveldocs.com/in/in-niv-typefandm.asp#dependents

  • What are the Post study work rights?

    Student visa [F-1] holders are eligible for a total of 12 months Optional Practical Training [OPT] per educational level completed.
    To get the Additional 17 months OPT extension [total of 29 months which includes 12 months OPT as stated above], student must complete a degree from STEM Majors. STEM refers to degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

  • How long does my passport have to be valid in order to apply for a U. S. visa?

    You must possess a passport valid for travel to the United States with a validity date at least six months beyond your intended period of stay in the United States (unless country-specific agreements provide exemptions).

  • Do all nonimmigrant visa applicants have to come to the Embassy for an interview?

    Yes, for most applicants. There are only a few exceptions to the interview requirement. The following applicants generally do not have to appear in person:

    • Applicants who are renewing their visa may be eligible for the Interview Waiver Program. Please visit the page http://cdn.ustraveldocs.com/in/in-niv-visarenew.asp for more information about interview waiver eligibility.
    • Applicants for A1, A2 (official travelers on central government business), C2, C3 (central government officials in transit on central government business) or G1, G2, G3, G4 (central government officials traveling in connection with an international organization, or employees of an international organization)
    • Children under the age of 14 years of age at the date of the initial visa interview in the Embassy or Consulate if either of the parents have a valid nonimmigrant visa.
    • Applicants over 80.

  • I have a nonimmigrant visa that will expire soon and I would like to renew it. Do I need to go through the whole visa application process again?

    Yes, unless you are eligible to apply using the Interview Waiver Program. Please visit the page http://cdn.ustraveldocs.com/in/in-niv-visarenew.asp for further information.

  • My passport has expired, but the U.S. visa in it is still valid. Do I need to apply for a new visa?

    No. If your visa is valid and unmarked or undamaged, you can travel with your two passports together (old and new), if the purpose of your travel matches your current nonimmigrant visa. Also, the name and other personal data must be the same in both passports (unless the name change was due to marriage), and both passports must be from the same country and of the same type (i.e., both tourist passports and both diplomatic passports). If your name changed due to marriage, you can travel to the United States with both passports as well as your marriage certificate.

  • How can I extend my visa?

    The validity of a visa cannot be extended regardless of its type. You will need to apply for a new visa.

  • What can I do if my study permit has been refused?

    There is no appeal process, but you can apply again at a later time.

  • Can I apply to the Government and obtain a VISA myself?

    YES! We recommend that students apply for visas themselves. This is a good learning experience.

  • Does Cambridge Educational Services guarantee the visa?

    The respective visa offices decide outcome of all visa applications. Cambridge Educational Services does not have any influence on the processing and the outcome of visa applications.