What is the F1 Visa? How to apply for F1 Visa?
An international student requires the F1 Visa (non-immigrant visa) to visit a college/institution in the US to pursue higher studies. In addition to the duration of stay allowed in the US under the F1 Visa (based on the academic program), the visa holder can stay in the US for additional 60 days (if the individual is not approved to stay and work under the Optional Practical Training (OPT) Program. An applicant must obtain the F1 Visa in order to enter the US for attending a university/college/institution, high school, private elementary school, seminar or any other training program.
Once the individual is accepted to a school, he/she will be officially enrolled in the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) which requires the fee payment for the application. When the application completes, the individual is provided with an ‘I-20’ form by the institution or educational program which allow him/her to schedule the interview appointment. The applicant will be required to visit a local US embassy/consulate to complete the interview process in order to receive the F1 Visa to become an official international student. The F1 Visa allows the holder to transfer the school if he/she has completed the studies, left the program, or has confirmed plans to join another school.
Qualifying Factors for F1 Visa
Form DS-160 – All applicants must complete the form DS-160 to qualify for the non-immigrant F1 Visa.
Valid Passport – The applicants must possess a valid passport with sufficient blank pages to accommodate travel stamp by the US Immigration authority.
Returning to own country – The applicant will require proving that he/she is visiting the UK to complete certain course/studies and will return to his/her native country once the specified stay ends.
Admission – The applicant must seek the F1 Visa for entering one of the approved universities/institutions/schools by the SEVP.
Funds – The applicant must provide proof of sufficient funds to support his/her stay, studying, and travel expenses throughout the stay in the US.
Documents – The applicant must provide the necessary documents as specified in the application form.
Visa Fee – Based on the nationality, mode of application, and other factors, the visa fee needs to be paid to proceed with the application.
Documents Required For the F1 Visa Interview
- Form I-20
- SEVIS I-901 receipt
- Signed passport (must be valid for 6 months after entering the US)
- Transcripts or diplomas from current or previous colleges/institutions
- Details of a program of study
- Details of accommodation in the US
- Proof of sufficient funds to cover all kinds of expenses during the stay
- Additional documents based on the type of program, applicant’s nationality, and other factors
F1 Visa Interview
Applicants between the age group of 14 through 79 are required to go through the visa interview process while applicants under the age 13 and over the age of 80 are not required to appear for an interview unless specified by the embassy or consulate. During the interview, the applicant’s biometric data and the documents are collected and reviewed to determine the eligibility parameters. Depending on the number of applications received by the consulate/embassy, the visa interview process may take a significant amount of time. Applicants are advised to plan their application process at the earliest possible.
F1 Visa and Jobs in the US
The visa doesn’t allow the holder to illegally work in the US under the F1 Visa which could result in deportation. However, based on certain factors, international students might be allowed to work 20 hours a week. Moreover, the applicants can also seek approval to work off campus for up to 12 months. Applicants are advised to get in touch with the international student advisor at their university/institution/school to obtain further information pertaining to working in the UK on an F1 Visa.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What are the types of student visa available for students visiting the US?
The applicant can choose to apply for one of the following types of visas:
F1 Visa – Granted for academics and studies
M Visa – Granted for non-academics or vocational programmes
How to apply for the F1 or M visa?
The applicant must get acceptance from the SEVP certified university/institution/school. The acceptance can be utilized to initiate the application process which requires the applicants to pay the applicable visa fee. The applicant is required to schedule an interview appointment where necessary documents are reviewed and visa is approved/rejected.
How soon can I enter the US after receiving the F1 Visa?
The visa allows the holder to enter the US 30 days prior to the program commencement date.
What are the documents required for the entry in the US?
Once the visa holder enters the US port, he/she is required to provide the following documents:
- Form I-20 signed by the DSO of the school
- Visa with SEVIS identification number and the details of the school
- Financial documentation
- A valid passport
How soon should I apply for the F1 Visa?
In most cases, the applicants are advised to apply for the F1 Visa 120 days prior to the program start date or registration date as specified on the Form I-20.
What is the maximum stay duration granted under the F1 Visa?
The stay duration depends on the student status of the application and the specifications in the I-20 form. Moreover, the F1 Visa holder can stay up to additional 60 days after the completion of studies/programme.
Can I attend a public school with the F1 Visa?
It depends on the specified restrictions applicable for attending public schools in the USA.
How can I change the F1 Visa status?
The F1 Visa holders can get in touch with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to request a change of visa status to another non-immigrant category.