Start your preparation by at least 18 months earlier to your intended semester. You can follow these steps:Take a sample GRE test (Most preferably power prep I). If you score a total of 300 for example, then you can guess your final score to be in between 315-320.Then analyze your profile (take a note of all research papers you published, going to publish and project work).Go through the similar profiles in Stupidsid.com or Edulix and short some universities (around 4 univs).Then start preparing for GRE and make sure you reach your target of 315. After the exam is done, select the 4 universities you shortlisted for Educational Testing Service (ETS) to report your scores to (by this way of selecting universities beforehand, you can save $100 here).Apply for TOEFL or International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and prepare to get the minimum score required by your department in the universities selected. (with TOEFL of IELTS – British Council you can save $72 by selecting universities beforehand)After you are done with these exams, start preparing your SOP. At the same time, reach out to your professors asking for recommendation letters. Help them prepare recommendation letters on your behalf. Also get the required no.of sets of transcripts from your university.Once you are okay with SOP and required LORs, open the university website and fill out the online application. After completing this application, you'll be required to upload scanned copies of mark sheets.Complete the online application, pay the application fee, wait for university to send a mail with student id and finally courier the transcripts to those universities (Make sure you mention your student id on top of the cover).Wait for university to mail its decision.If accepted, they'll ask you to send bank statement showing liquid assets amounting to 1 year of expenses you are going to spend in that university along with affidavit of support (link to this affidavit will be sent to you in the acceptance mail) and also they'll ask you to get some vaccinations done.After approving your bank statement, they'll send you the I20.On receiving I20, pay your SEVIS fee and apply for F-1 Student Visas (US).Once your visa is approved, you are free to go.I guess, I have covered all the steps here. If needed further clarifications, you are free to pm me.All the Best.Edit1: sorry guys your have to start your preparation before 18 months, not 1 year.