Students wishing to study abroad need to know about the F-1 student visa application process. There are more than one million international students currently studying abroad, and with some preparation and guidance, you can apply for this visa. To help you to know more, we have put together this step-by-step guide to understand what is F-1 visa is and what F-1 visa requirements are.
F-1 Visa Requirements
There are various F-1 visa rules to keep in mind if you want to apply for an F-1 student visa. You have to keep this in mind and must meet these requirements for your application to be accepted.
- Institution certification: The University or the College where you want to study needs to be approved by SEVP Immigration & Customs Enforcement.
- English language proficiency: You must have the required English language proficiency score of the institution you have attended or be enrolled in courses that will help you improve your English proficiency.
- Full-time enrollment: You must be a full-time student at the institution while your academic term is in session.
- Sufficient funding: You must prove you have sufficient funds available for your studies and living expenses while in the US.
- Valid Passport: Your passport must be valid for US travel for at least 6 months after your program completion date.
- Home Country Residency: You must prove your citizenship of your home country to return to follow the completion of your degree.
How to Apply for an F-1 Visa
To apply for the visa process you must take the following steps:
- You should get accepted by the SEVP-certified institution before submitting your visa, which you will need to apply for your F-1 visa. When you are accepted in SEVP you will receive your I-20 form, which has to be submitted while you apply for the F-1 visa.
- You have to pay your SEVIS fee.
- You have to complete your DS-160 visa application.
- Have to schedule your visa interview.
- Attend your visa interview.
F-1 Visa Application Process
- Get Accepted and Get Your I-20
The F-1 student visa process will start when you get accepted to a SEVP-certified US University. SEVP certification is the US government’s way of proving that your university is accredited and has a proper system to provide you with an education.
Once you get accepted, your university will provide your I-20 form. These documents show your study plans and provide supporting information about your stay.
THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION IS RECORDED IN THE STUDENT AND EXCHANGE VISITOR INFORMATION SYSTEM (SEVIS) WHEN YOUR I-20 IS ISSUED:
- Your SEVIS ID Number.
- Your program start and end dates
- Your intended program of study
- Your funding sources
- Cost of attendance at your school of choice
- Other personal information
Your university provides this information based on what you submitted in your university application materials.
As soon as you receive your I-20, make sure you check all your information is accurate, and sign at the bottom of the page. It can be difficult and can take a long time to fix the error on your I-20, if something is wrong then you may not be able to access the country.
Pay Your SEVIS Fee
The total amount for your F-1 student visa will be approximately $510, which includes the cost of the visa itself, plus SEVIS processing and maintenance fees.
- Requirements: Your I-20
- Cost: $350
- Where to apply: Payment portal for your SEVIS fee
Complete Your DS-160 Visa Application
DS-160 is your visa application. All international students must complete a DS-160 to receive an F-1 visa.
- Requirements: I-20, passport, travel itinerary, photo for your visa
- Cost: $160
- Where to apply: Application portal for your DS-160
After you successfully submitted your DS-160, you will receive a printed confirmation with a barcode on it, save it – you will need it in your visa interview.
Schedule Your Visa Interview
Go to the US Embassy or consulate of your country and schedule your visa interview. Remember to set up your appointments as early as possible because wait times will vary by country and can take months. Practicing your visa interview as much as you can in advance will make you feel more comfortable and confident with the process.
Attend Your Visa Interview
During the interview portion of the F-1 Visa application process, the US Embassy or Consulate confirms that you are coming to study as a serious student. Attending your visa interview in person is compulsory, though there are a few rare exceptions.
- Cost: Your DS-160 payment covers the cost
- Where to apply: Scheduling portal for your visa interview
After you successfully finish your visa interview, you will be allowed your F-1 visa and obtain F-1 status. You are now eligible to study in the USA.