Foreign nationals are heartily welcomed to study in the U.S., but a visa is normally required to do so. Two forms of student visas exist: the US F1 visa, which will be reviewed in-depth in this article, and the M-1 visa. For people who are approved to engage in exchange visitor services in the USA, there is also an exchange visitor visa, known as the J-1 visa. The F-1 student visa is required for most students traveling to the United States for a course of study. This article on ‘F1 Visa – A Step By Step Guide’ will answer all your questions regarding the US F1 visa like what is a US F1 Visa, how to get a US student visa, how to apply for an F-1 visa from India, F-1 visa requirements and much more.
What is a US F1 Visa? | F1 Visa – A Step By Step Guide
A US F1 Visa is given at a US college or university to foreign students who are attending an academic program or English Language Program. The minimum course load for full-time student status must be maintained by F1 students. If they have applied for and been accepted to stay and work for a period of time in the OPT Scheme, they will stay in the US for up to 60 days after the amount it takes to finish their academic program. US F-1 Visa students are required to finish their studies on their I-20 form, which is issued by the US college or university to which the student has been admitted and will attend, by the expiration date.
When to Apply for a US F1 Visa? | F1 Visa – A Step By Step Guide
The first step on how to get a US student visa is the application procedure. With an initial online filing, the F-1 student visa application process begins. You may also be expected to book and attend a U.S. embassy or consulate appointment in your home country. You can initiate the application process as soon as you get Form I-20 to prevent expensive expedition fees and to ensure that you get your visa on time.
Required Qualifications | How To Get A US Student Visa
To apply for an F-1 student visa, foreign nationals must follow these criteria:
- In the United States, you are already enrolled in an academic research course or language exchange program.
- SEVIS certifies the school
- The SEVIS I-901 invoice was paid by you
- You have issued Form I-20 from a school certified by your SEVP.
- You are fluent in English or enrolled in classes leading to proficiency in English.
- As a full-time undergraduate, you are registered
- You have enough money to help you across the whole planned course of research.
- You have an international home that you have no intention of giving up.
These were the F-1 Visa Requirements for foreign nationals.
Application Procedure | F1 Visa – A Step By Step Guide
Wondering how to apply for an F-1 Visa? Read on to get the answers.
STEP 1: Fill in the Online Visa Application
To begin the F-1 application process, fill out the Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application (Form DS-160). You would need to submit a file that satisfies the photo criteria to finish Form DS-160.
STEP 2: Schedule an Interview
In general, F-1 student visa applicants are expected to complete an interview in their home country at a U.S. embassy or consulate. Those under 14 years of age or over 80 years of age could be excluded from an interview.
STEP 3: Making Arrangements for Your Interview
Some embassies and consulates permit applicants to pay a fee of $160 for non-refundable visa applications. You will need to show the invoice receipt to your meeting if you are expected to pay before your interview. You will be asked to pay at your meeting if you’re not allowed to pay until your interview.
STEP 4: Gather Required Documents
Documents that are needed as a part of F-1 visa requirements include:
- Passport (valid for six months beyond your proposed stay in the U.S., unless exempt)
- Application for an Online Nonimmigrant Visa (Form DS-160) confirmation page
- Receipt of application fee payment
- Image that satisfies the criteria (in case the online photo upload failed)
- Nonimmigrant Student Status Eligibility Card, for Academic and Language Students (Form I-20 issued by your school)
- Academic readiness records, such as transcripts, diplomas, degrees, qualifications, or standardized test scores required for the U.S. school
- Documents proving your plan to leave the U.S. following conclusion of study
- Evidence of adequate funds to meet the costs of education, life, and travel
STEP 5: The Interview
At your interview, your eligibility for a student visa will be determined by a consular officer based on your submission of the required paperwork and forms. You will be asked to have a digital fingerprint that is ink-free. Additional manual processing, which would be decided by your consular officer, will also include your submission.
Hope you are now clear about the steps involved in: How to Apply for an F-1 Visa.
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Maintaining a Valid US F1 Visa
You are eligible to access the United States as a foreign student after you are accepted for your F1 visa. However, you will need to keep mindful of your duties as an F1 visa holder until you arrive.
- Upon arrival: Make sure that you arrive no later than 30 days before the first day of classes in the United States. Before your program starts, check in with your foreign counselor as soon as possible.
- During your program: You must stay full-time enrolled. Go to a class to avoid passing marks. Notify your foreign counselor if you are experiencing trouble with your lessons. Your foreign counselor will help you obtain a program extension if you are unable to finish your program by the date specified on your Form I-20.
Here Are Some Common US F-1 Student Visa Interview Questions And Answers | How to Get a US Student Visa
Q. Why have you selected this particular university?
Tip – To tackle this question, you need to research your university well. Go to the university website and carefully list down all the salient features of your university. Make sure you’re well aware of the world ranking, the research facility, the faculty profile, Alumni profile etc. You visa officer will be looking to find out reasons behind joining the particular University, so saying, “I’m going to XYZ university only because it was this only university that I heard back from”, won’t do. Choosing the university should not come out like it did not matter which university you got through. If you really want that US F1 Visa, then you should be excited about going to that particular university.
Q. Where did you complete your bachelor’s degree from?
Tip – Mention the name of the course, university and country. If you graduated from a top university then you can also mention its high ranking or specific features that you think are important. Make sure you keep the answer crisp and to the point.
Q. Which universities did you apply to?
Tip – You need to mention all the universities you applied to, irrespective of whether you got accepted or not. Your visa officer wants to know how serious you are about studying in the US. Even if you applied to 4 and were accepted in 1 and got 3 rejects, honesty is the only way. Speak confidently about how sure you were about getting accepted, and suggest how you were really happy with the acceptance.
Q. Who is sponsoring you?
Tip – If you have an education loan to the US or if you’ve received a scholarship, say that. Else, you can mention the name of your sponsors, you may add that your parents are supporting you for your higher education as per the financial documents. T
Q. What do your father and mother do?
Tip – This question is asked by your visa officer to ascertain whether or not your parents have the financial capabilities to sponsor you. We recommend that you go through the Income Tax Returns (ITR) and supporting documents of your sponsors carefully before your interview. Make sure that you have a good understanding of the income source of your father, mother and any other person who is sponsoring you. Be very clear about the nature of their work and their specific role.
Example – My father is a Senior Branch Manager with SBI, Borivali Branch.
Q. Do you have any relatives in the USA?
Tip – In order to get your US F1 visa, your visa officer will definitely ask this question. Don’t think about lying while answering this question, because your visa officer will have a full record of your background. If your distant aunt or uncle stays in the US, then you don’t have to mention them. All that matters is your immediate relatives i.e. own brother, sister, father or mother. If any of your relatives are overstaying their legal permitted stay in the USA, your visa application could be in jeopardy.
Q. Why don’t you do this course in your country?
Tip – This is a very tricky and important question. You should know the difference the course would bring to you if done from the USA instead of India. In case the course is not available in India, then you can mention that to the visa officer. But if the course is available in India, then tell the visa officer about the differences in the quality of education and the course structure in India and USA. Your endgame should be convincing the Visa Officer that doing this course from the USA will add value to your profile.
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