The US student visa also popularly referred to as the F-1 Visa, is the non immigrant visa that students who are non U.S citizens have to apply for to be able to study in the United States. The requirements for an F-1 visa can be broken down into two main sections, eligibility and supporting documents. Of course, there is also financial capacity which is covered under both eligibility and supporting documents. We did cover the requirements briefly in our “How to apply for F-1 Visa” article and for those would like more details on the F-1 visa, go ahead and read our “what is F-1 visa” article first.
The most important factor to be eligible for a student visa to the U.S is that you must have a confirmed admission in an SEVP certified educational institution. What this basically translates to is that you have an I-20 form issued to you by an approved university. This is by far the single most important requirement. Only if you satisfy or conform to this requirement can you proceed to actually apply for the US student visa (F-1).
Eligibility requirements to apply for a F-1 Student Visa
When it comes to the F-1 visa, the Immigration and National Act is very stringent pertaining to the eligibility requirements which have to be met by each and every applicant. The consulate will ascertain whether or not you qualify for the US student visa (F-1).
As an applicant you must demonstrate that you meet the following F-1 student visa requirements-
- Availability of a residence in your home country and you should demonstrate no intention of abandoning that residence
- Demonstrate the intent to depart from the United States on completion of your study course
- Possession of sufficient funds to pursue the prospective study course
F-1 Student Visa Documents
Below are the documents you are expected to bring along with you to your visa interview. Make sure to make copies where required as well as have the original set of documents with you before you enter the U.S Consulate. These documents are to be submitted while applying for the visa.
The documents can be classified into two sections, a mandatory section and a good to have section. If you were me, I would consider all the documents listed below as mandatory. After all you don’t want to be rejected just because you cannot produce a certificate or something vague like proof of finances. Let’s take a look at the important documents first or should I say mandatory documents.
- I-20 form – First and foremost is the I-20 form. The I-20 form must be signed by the school and you. Again remember in the beginning of this article we had stressed on the fact that the I-20 must be from an approved university. What with the recent cancellation and deportation that took place in the case of Tri-valley university, students must be careful and do their due diligence before applying to a school.
- Form DS-160 which is the non immigrant visa application form that you fill out after downloading from the U.S Consulate website when scheduling for a visa interview date.
- Valid Passport – You must posses a valid passport. This part is obvious but make sure that your passport is not expiring in the next one year.
- One 2×2 photograph that has a white background. Like many countries, U.S Immigration requires the picture to conform to certain specifications. Make sure you take a picture from a studio that understands these requirements.
- Your visa application fee receipt.
- Fee receipt of the SEVIS I-901 fee paid.
Apart from the above mentioned documents, you should also be prepared to produce the following documentation if requested by the visa officer.
- All the educational related documents such as degrees, diplomas and or certificates along with transcripts from all previously attended educational institutions. Make sure to have certified copies with you just in case.
- Your scores from standardized tests that apply, like the SAT, GMAT, GRE, TOEFL scores.
- Detailed financial evidence that can clearly show how you will be paying for your studies and living expenses once you are in the United States. Documents regarding scholarships, grants and other financial aid as well as proof of sponsorship if any must be with you when you go to your visa interview.