Any international student wanting to study in the USA will need to apply for an F1 Visa for the USA. The majority of students are granted an F1 visa, and the general plan/process flow for getting an F1 visa is as follows:
Get Accepted into a School → Pay Sevis Fee and Receive your I-20 → Complete F1 Visa Application form → Schedule/Attend F1 Visa Interview → F1 Visa Approval
Now that you have been shown an initial idea of the process flow, let’s go into the details on each stage of the process:
Be Accepted at an SEVP Approved School
Before you can apply for an F1 visa for the United States, you are required to apply to and be accepted by a school recognized by the SEVP.
Pay your SEVIS Fee and Receive your I-20 – How to Apply for an F1 Visa
Once you’re accepted, you will be required to pay the SEVIS I-901 Fee in order to be enrolled in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). Then, your school will send to you a Form I-20. You will present this form to the consular officer when you attend your F1 visa interview. If your partner and/or children intend to live in the United States with you while you study, they must have individual Form I-20s, but they will not be required to be enrolled in the SEVIS.
Complete the Visa Application – How to Apply for an F1 Visa
Completing an application for the F1 student visa may vary as per the United States embassy or consulate you are dealing with. You will have to pay a visa application fee that is non-refundable. There is an online visa application accessible, which lets you fill out and print the Form DS-160 to take to your F1 visa interview.
Schedule and Prepare for your Interview – How to Apply for an F1 Visa
You can book your F1 visa interview with the United States embassy or consulate. How long you will have to wait for interview appointments vary by location, season, and visa class, so you are advised to apply for an F1 visa early. An F1 student visa for the United States can be dispensed up to 120 days prior to your program of study start date. However, you will only be able to enter the United States with an F1 visa 30 days prior to your start date.
The listed credentials below are needed for your F1 visa interview:
- A valid passport
- The Nonimmigrant Visa Application, Form DS-160
- The application fee payment receipt
- A passport photo
- A CoE (Certificate of Eligibility) for Non-immigrant (F1) Student Status (Form 1-20)
Extra documents may be asked for to establish your suitability for the F1 student visa, like diplomas, degrees, academic transcripts, or certificates. Test scores like the TOEFL, GRE, SAT, or GMAT may also be asked for, and also evidence of your intent to leave the United States after your program is concluded and evidence of your financial stability.
Attend your F1 Visa Interview – How to Apply for an F1 Visa
Your F1 visa interview will be a deciding factor on whether you are fit to obtain an F1 student visa for the United States. Supposing that you have gotten ready the appropriate documents and satisfy all of the F1 visa prerequisites, your visa will be granted at the discretion of the consular officer.
You may be asked to make payment for a visa issuance fee. Digital fingerprint scans will be taken for records. Your passport will be collected so that your visa can be stamped in it and you will be notified when you can get it back, either by pick-up or in the mail.
Bear in mind that visa issuance is not certain. Never make final travel arrangements until you have been issued your visa. If your visa application is denied, you will be offered a reason on the basis of the section of law which applies to your ineligibility. Submitting a waiver of ineligibility is possible in some situations.
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