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F-1 Student Visa

Overview of the Application Process for a F-1 Student Visa

Procedure Name: F-1 Student Visa Application, Form- I-20.
Purpose: F-1 Student Visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows foreigners to get Education in the United States. F-1 students must maintain a full course of study, they must show that they are able to support themselves during their staying in the U.S., as their opportunities for legal employment are quite limited. It is not possible to be a part-time student on an F-1 Visa, it’s necessary to be a full-time student.
Eligible Applicants: Foreign nationals.
Validity/Expiration: The student can stay in the United States for as long as he/she is enrolled in school.
 Where to Apply: F-1 visas are only issued in U.S. embassies and consulates outside the United States. Prospective F-1 students must apply at the schools and receive a form I-20 in order to apply for the F-1 visa. Order and download this information guide online now to learn how to apply for a F-1 Student Visa.


F-1 Studstudent visaent Visa General Information

The U.S. offers an incredible amount of study opportunities, there are thousands of educational institutions at all levels. There are several private and public universities, institutes, exchange study programs, language schools, technical schools, art conservatories and other type of schools in every state and almost in every city. To be able to study full time in the U.S., foreign nationals must apply and obtain a student visa.

The F-1 Student Visa allows you to travel to the United States to study. If you have a F-1 visa, it is possible to change the school or university without leaving the country. It is important to understand all application requirements including how to choose the right institution to study in the United States, how to make an appointment, how to submit the application for the visa, and to use the current forms to apply for a student visa.

M-1 Visa

The M-1 is also a student visa for certain types of studies. If you plan engage in non-academic or vocational study or training at a U.S. institution then you need an M-1 visa.

Advantages of F-1 Student Visa:

If the foreign students have a valid F-1 Student Visa, they may enter the United States multiple times. It is important that the F-1 Student Visa holders have all the necessary documents and signed authorizations to avoid any problems at the U.S. port of entry. The passport must also be valid for a certain amount of time in order to be granted entry.

F-1 Visa holders can also travel freely within the United States. Students may work on campus as long as they are enrolled in school. They may apply for Curricular Practical Training (CPT) to gain work experience in their field of study while being a full time student.

Students may take advantage of Optional Practical Training (OPT) once the degree is completed as a full time employee. Many students obtaining a bachelor or master’s degree in the United States go on to be sponsored by their employer for an H-1B Work Visa.

How to apply for F-1 Student Visa?

Most students are issued with an F-1 visa, and the general process for obtaining an F1 visa is as follows:

1) Be Accepted at an SEVP Approved School. Before you can apply for your F-1 student visa for the USA, you must apply to and be accepted by a school approved by the SEVP (The Student and Exchange Visitor Program helps DHS and the Department of State monitor school and exchange visitor programs, nonimmigrant students and exchange visitors, and their dependents).

2) Pay your SEVIS Fee and Receive your I-20. 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 provide you with a Form I-20. This form will be presented to the consular officer when you attend your F-1 visa interview. If your spouse and/or children plan to reside in the USA with you while you study, they will be required to have individual Form I-20s, but they will not need to be enrolled in the SEVIS.

3) Complete the Visa Application. Applying for the F-1 student visa may vary depending on the U.S. embassy or consulate you are dealing with. You will be required to pay a non-refundable visa application fee. There is an online visa application available, which allows you to complete and print the Form DS-160 to take to your F-1 visa interview.

4) Schedule and Prepare for your Interview. You can schedule your F-1 visa interview with the U.S. embassy or consulate. Wait times for interview appointments vary by location, season, and visa category, so you should apply for your visa early. An F-1 student visa for the USA can be issued up to 120 days in advance of your course of study start date. You will only be able to enter the U.S. with an F-1 visa 30 days before your start date.

The following documents are required for your F-1 visa interview:

  • A valid passport
  • The Nonimmigrant Visa Application, Form DS-160
  • The application fee payment receipt
  • A passport photo
  • A Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F-1) Student Status (Form 1-20)

Additional documents may be requested to prove your eligibility for the F-1 student visa, including academic transcripts, diplomas, degrees, or certificates. Test scores such as the TOEFL, SAT, GRE, or GMAT may also be requested, as well as proof of your intent to depart the U.S. after your program is complete and proof of your financial stability.

5) Attend your F-1 Visa Interview. Your F-1 visa interview will determine whether you are qualified to receive an F-1 student visa for the USA. Assuming that you have prepared the appropriate documents and meet all of the F-1 visa requirements, your visa will be approved at the discretion of the consular officer.

You may be required to pay a visa issuance fee. Digital fingerprint scans will be taken for records. Your passport will be taken so that you can get your visa and you will be informed when you can get it back, either by pick-up or in the mail.

Study questions

During the interview, the consular officer may ask you some questions, so you should be able to answer them. Here are some sample questions and tips on how to answer these questions:

  • Why are you going to the U.S.?
  • What will you specialize in for your degree?
  • Where did you go to school now?
  • Who is your current employer? What do you do?
  • Why are you planning to continue your education?
  • How will this study program relate to your past work or studies?
  • How will you manage the cultural and educational differences in the US?
  • How good is your English?
  • How much does your school cost?
  • How will you meet these expenses?
  • Do you have relatives or friends currently in the US?
  • What are your plans post-graduation?

The most important thing to remember during the interview is to remain calm. Being well prepared is extremely important. Be sure to have all of the required documents and receipts with you so that you can focus on your interview questions. Answer all of the questions asked of you, and remember to be open and honest!

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Information and Instructions about the F-1 Student Visa included in this immigration guide:

  • How to start your application for the F-1 student visa?
  • How to apply for a M-1 student visa?
  • Can I study at any institution or I have to be enrolled in an approved education institution in order to apply for a student visa?
  • What type of institutions, schools or universities are valid to obtain a F-1 visa or M-1 Visa?
  • How to find, fill and file official visa application forms?
  • Can I apply for a green card or citizenship after I finish my studies with a F-1 Visa?
  • Travel companions like spouse or children, can they also obtain a visa to travel with me?

F-1 Student Visa Application Related Forms

  • Description of F-1 Student Visa
  • F-1 Student Visa Application forms and instructions
  • Visa Requirements for F-1 Student Visa
  • Benefits of F-1 Student Visa
  • Visa appointment
  • Eligibility requirements and instructions for students
  • Applying for a F-1 Student Visa
  • Application Forms Instructions for F-1 Student Visa
  • F-1 Student Visa application processing time
  • National list of USCIS offices in the United States
  • Contact information and list of U.S. embassies and consulates abroad
  • Helpful immigration related information
  • USCIS contact information and forms


F-1 Student Visa
Find out more information about how to apply for a F-1 visa to study in the USA, and the answer to visa questions including how to access official visa application forms, application filing fees, passport requirements, general information, U.S. consulates information, and official application information.

Disclaimer: We are not affiliated with the government, we are a private publisher of information guides. This product only includes instructions, it does not include filing fees, or any other charges to submit your application.