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Last Updated: December 25, 2023

F-1 Student Visa - USA

With an F-1 Visa (Academic Student), a person can study full-time in any accredited college, university, seminary, conservatory, academic high school, elementary school, or other academic institution in the United States, or they can study language training. F1 visa

Who is Eligible to Apply for the F-1 visa?

The application process for the F-1 student visa is complicated. Prior to submitting an application for an F-1 visa, the following requirements must be considered: Student visa (F) numbers for last few years:

Steps to Applying for a USA F-1 Visa

All international students who want to study in the US must apply for an F-1 visa, except for Canadian and Bermuda students. The F-1 visa application process requires adherence to the following guidelines. Each U.S. Embassy or Consulate may have a different procedure for completing these steps in the order listed:

Applying at a SEVP Approved School

The first step is to apply to a SEVP-approved school in the United States. Students will register for the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) and be required to pay the SEVIS I-901 fee which is $350 once their enrollment has been accepted by the SEVP-approved school. They will receive a Form I-20 from the SEVP-approved school. Students can apply for an F-1 visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate in their country after receiving the Form I-20 and registering in SEVIS.

Gathering Required Documents

The documentation needed to apply for an F-1 visa may differ depending on the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in that person's home country. The following are some common documents that every individual who wishes to study in the United States must have:

Completing the Online Visa Application

Once all required paperwork has been gathered, candidates must complete the DS-160 form and print it out for use during the interview process. The online nonimmigrant visa application form, DS-160, is intended for short-term visits to the US. Form DS-160 is electronically submitted through the Department of State website. Consular officers assess an applicant's eligibility for a nonimmigrant visa through a personal interview in addition to processing the visa application using the data entered on the DS-160.

As part of the DS-160 form, individuals must also attach a photo. The required format for the photo is as follows:

Scheduling an Interview

All applicants for any type of US visa, with the exception of those under 13 and those 80 years of age or older, must appear in person for an interview. Individuals can make an appointment for their interview at the US Consulate or Embassy located in their home nation. The length of time it takes to schedule an interview depends on the location, time of year, and type of visa, so applicants should apply as soon as possible. People should find out how long they should expect to wait at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate for an interview appointment for a nonimmigrant visa. In addition, applicants for the F-1 visa must pay a non-refundable application fee of USD 185, if applicable.

Documents Required for the Interview Process are as Follows:

Appearing for the Interview

After the student has gathered the necessary documents and paid the application fee, the next step is to appear at the interview location. A consular officer will interview the person to find out if they meet all the requirements to enter the United States. As part of the application process, ink-free digital fingerprint scans are taken. The consular officer may decide during the visa interview that a person's application needs additional administrative processing, reject, or accept it.

Waiting for the Decision

If the visa is granted, applicants might have to pay a visa insurance fee and arrange for their passport and visa to be returned to them. This fee varies from country to country. Applicants need to be aware that entry into the United States is not guaranteed by a visa. Permission to enter the United States may be granted or denied by Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents at the port of entry. The inspection process's components related to immigration, customs, and agriculture will be handled by CBP agents.

Upon presenting their passport, visa, and Form I-20 at the port of entry, an individual will be assessed by a CBP official to determine their eligibility for entry into the United States. The CBP official will give them an admission stamp or paper Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record, once they are permitted to enter the country. Students on F-1 visas are not permitted to enter the United States earlier than 30 days before the start date of their program.

Steps to be Taken to Extend the F-1 Visa in US

For reasons related to their studies, health, or mistakes made by a designated school official (DSO), students might need to extend their F-1 status. DSOs may be able to extend a student's program of study in certain situations before the program end date listed in SEVIS. An extension of up to a year is permitted by the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS).

Working While Studying in USA

F-1 students may engage in three types of off-campus employment only after their first academic year. Any off-campus training job for F-1 visa holders must be relevant to their field of study and approved by the Designated School Official before beginning work. The next step for students is to apply for a Social Security number.

What is a Social Security Number?

Those who are permitted to work in the United States are typically given Social Security numbers. Social Security numbers are used to verify an individual's eligibility for Social Security benefits and to report an individual's wages to the government.
How to apply for a Social Security number?

Student visa

Student visa Experience
Hello guys finally a big relief. I got my. I was interviewed at US Consulate in New Delhi. I will be doing my MS in EE from Rutgers University.. here is my conversation with visa officer.. I saw a many rejects today.. looks like some visa officer have high acceptance rate and some officer reject more frequently. I was dressed in formal clothes (no suit though).. Here is what I think is really important : Don't be too quiet, be confident.
Here is my visa interview..
ME: Hello Sir
Visa officer : Hello, How are you doing today?
ME : I am fine thanks, How about yourself..
Visa officer : Can i see your Bachelor's degree?
ME : Sure sir, blah blah
Visa officer : What was your GRE score and how many Universities did you apply?
ME : My score was --- and I applied for 6 Universities..I got admit from 3
Note: I have seen some people applying for 15 Universities .. I think you should tell a decent number to V.O. If you tell that you applied to 20 universities it looks like a desperate potential migrant.
Visa officer : Rutgers is a good university my father graduated from there.
ME : Yes sir I am really excited about my admission and if I get a chance i will go for my PhD also.
Visa officer : You are approved.

I think it depends a lot on luck too looks like Visa officer was excited about Rutgers university and it's a human tendency. Prepare well for your visa questions (in short you should be aware of all possible
by Rajiv Mahajan