You are reading this article means that you have already got an I-20 from your desired university in the USA. Congratulations! you are now eligible for applying for an F1 visa. Let us also first understand what is an F1 Visa before we discuss the US F1 Visa Application Process.
What is an F1 Visa?
The F1 visa is a student visa. If you plan to study your higher education in the United States, you need an F1 Visa. This is a type of non-immigrant student visa for international students to continue their education for a certain period of time in the United States of America. It is issued normally for 5 years to the students who have been accepted to attend an academic or English Language Program at a university or college in the US.
Now let us see the step-by-step guide to the U.S. F1 visa application process.
Step:1 Recieve your I-20
The first and foremost thing before you apply for your F1 visa is that you must be accepted at a SEVP Approved School and receive an I-20.
Step:2 Fill up DS-160
DS-160 Nonimmigrant visa application form is the most crucial and important one in the filing of the F1 Student Visa process. So fill it up online very carefully.
- The link to complete your DS-160 visa application:
- Click here to download a sample PDF
- Click here for the instructions page1 Instructions page 2
Please note your Application ID.
Step:3 Pay Visa Application Fee
Create your account and complete your profile. And pay your non-refundable Visa Application Fee (Machine Readable Visa (MRV) fee) of $160 and schedule your visa interview.
- The link to register as a new user on the ustraveldocs India website. Click here
The Visa fee can be paid in three different ways:
- Cash – Over the Counter (Axis Bank and Citibank)
- National Electronic Funds Transfer (NEFT)
- Mobile Payments – IMPS
After payment is done, the receipt number is automatically generated within 24 hours of time.
Once the receipt number is generated you can schedule the two different appointments.
The first one is OFC Appointment or VAC Appointment. It is scheduled for getting your Biometric Fingerprints and taking your photograph. This appointment must be at least 1 day before your visa interview appointment at the Consulate.
The second is a Visa Interview appointment. It is scheduled for your interview with a Visa Officer at the consulate.
Step:4 Pay the SEVIS I-901 fee
When you receive an I-20 from the SEVP institution, you are registered in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). Your I-20 contains the SEVIS number. To register completely you need to pay the SEVIS I-901 fee i.e., $350. This is a mandatory fee to be paid before going to the F1 Visa Interview.
Step: 5 Arrange Documents
Next, you have to gather all the important documents needed for the F1 Visa Interview. See that all the documents are arranged in proper order, folder-wise, and easily accessible manner so that you can show or hand over any document without any tension or confusion.
Step: 6 Attend Visa Interview
F1 Visa Interview is the final stage to materializing your dreams of studying in the USA. The duration of the F1 Visa interview will be 2-10 minutes of time. Sometimes it may end in a minute. Prepare well with a planned, realistic, and strategic approach. Remember, ninety percent of the visa rejections result from lack of preparation but not out of sheer bad luck.
Step: 7 Get Visa Approval
Finally, All is well that ends well. It’s a moment of celebration. But don’t forget to gather your passport from the consulate. Here we have two options to collect the passport. While paying the application fee, we can choose either the pick-up option or the courier option. If you are very curious about the status of your visa click here.
Points to remember:
- Student (F1 or M1) visa appointments should not be scheduled more than 120 days before the start date of the course of the study.
- Students are not allowed to enter the US more than 30 days before the start date of the course.
Types of Student Visas
- The “F1” visa is issued to the students who go to the USA for academic studies or English Language Programme.
- This includes undergraduate and graduate programs that require more than 18 hours of study in a week.
F2 Visa is issued to the dependents of the F1 Visa Holder. The dependents should be either a spouse or unmarried children under 21 years old.
The J1 visa is issued to the students who want to undergo practical training which is directly related to their academic program. Generally, a J-1 student visa holder is sponsored by an educational or nonprofit institution.
The J-2 Visa is issued to spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 of J-1 exchange visa holders.
An M1 visa is issued to the students who attend a non-academic or vocational programme other than a language training program in the US.
The M2 Visa is issued to the dependent spouse and children of M-1 Visa holders to enter the U.S.
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