An F-1 visa is a non-immigrant visa and is applied for by non- U.S. citizens. An F-1 Visa is for pursuing academic or vocational courses at SEVP certified educational institution. For a detailed overview of the F1 visa, read our previous article on what is an F-1 visa.
Applying for an F-1 Visa
The first step in obtaining a student visa is obviously the application for admission to a Student and Visitor Exchange Program (SEVP) certified educational institution. When your admission has been confirmed in a SEVP certified educational institution, the educational institution will issue you an I-20 Form. This form is an informational record in the database of the Department of Homeland Security. The database system is called the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). It is the college or university’s responsibility to enter your details into the SEVIZ. On confirmation of your admission, the I-20 will be mailed to you and you must produce the I-20 when you apply for your F-1 visa.
Ensure that the information in the I-20 form correctly and completely matches with the information in your passport. There should be no spelling errors and your name and date of birth should be mentioned correctly and should be the same as in your passport. If there is a mistake, then it is your duty to contact your educational institution and make sure that they make the necessary corrections. Once the I- 20 is completed, you must now pay the SEVIS I-901 fee.
The next step is to apply for student visa appointment at your local U.S consulate. Apply for your visa appointment as early as possible so that there is ample time to process the same. Consulates and Embassies will be able to issue the student visa within a period of 120 days before the date mentioned on your 1-20 or the start date of your college or university. However, if the application for the visa is done before the stipulated period, the consulate or embassy will hold the application and issue it before the date specified in your I-20 as the start date of your college registration or college start date.
The application process includes an interview that takes place at the consulate or embassy. Based on your personal information and education course, you may be required to submit additional documents. Each student will have different documents that would be required of them. The mandatory documents required to be submitted by each student are as follows-
- The I-20 form (signed by you and your issuing school), Certificate of Eligibility for Non-immigrant (F-1) Student Status-For Academic and Language Students and Form I-20A-B.
- One 2×2 photograph with a white background.
- The fee receipt of the visa application fee.
- Form DS-160, Online Non-immigrant Visa Electronic Application.
- A valid passport for travel to and from the United States. Do make sure that your passport will not expire in the near future.
- The fee receipt of the SEVIS I-901 fee paid.
Besides the above documents, students should also produce the following educational documents or certificates-
- Certificates, diplomas and transcripts of previously attended educational institutions
- Scores of standardized such as SAT, TOEFL, GRE and GMAT, etc…
- Financial evidence to prove that whoever is sponsoring your education, has adequate financial resources to pay for your tuition and living expenses during your period stay in the US.
For the most updated list of document and for further information on documents required, visit- http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/types/types_1268.html#1
On completion of your interview, you will be informed whether or not your visa has been approved. If your visa has been approved, you will be informed on the process of collecting your passport. Usually depending on the option you choose and the embassy in question, your passport along with the approved F1 student visa stamped in it will be mailed to the postal address of your choice. Keep in mind that there is no absolute certainty when it comes to receiving your passport by mail, therefore do ensure that you plan your travel accordingly and keep a few days in hand as a safe rule. Infact, tt is advised that you do not make any travel arrangement until you receive all your documents from the consulate or embassy.
Eligibility criteria for an F-1 Student Visa?
The U.S Immigration is very strict when it comes to visas and they go according to the book. This is especially true when it pertains to visa requirements. Student visa requirement and eligibility must be met by each and every applicant, in order to qualify for an F-1 student visa. The consulate will ascertain whether or not you qualify for the F-1 visa based on the documentation you provide and the information available to them. Further, as an applicant you must demonstrate that you meet the following F-1 student visa requirements-
- You must demonstrate the intent to return to your home country on completion of your study course.
- Show you current residence and the assurance that you will not abandon that residence.
- Demonstrate the ability to pay for your education and living expenses while you are in the United States.
- What Is F-1 Visa? F-1 Visa Overview An F-1 visa is a student visa for the United States. It is provided by the United States to enable an individual, who is not a citizen of the United States, to pursue their education within the … Continue reading →...