F1 Student Visa

Students applying for a program that requires more than 18 hours of study in a week require an F1 visa. This includes all undergraduate programs as well as graduate programs like MS, MBA, etc.

An F1 Visa is a non-immigrant visa issued to students willing to pursue their studies in the US. The F1 visa is a student visa which is given to international students who wish to attend educational institutions like university, COLLEGE, private elementary school, high school, any language training program or any other academic institution in the US. If the candidate has received acceptance from any of the above institutes then he/she can apply for the F1 Visa.


How to get an I20?

Once the candidate receives acceptance from the university, he/she will be officially enrolled in the SEVP. Then the candidate needs to deposit the one-time application fee. Once the fee is paid, the university issues an I-20 form to the candidate, after that the candidate can apply for the F1 Student Visa.


How to apply for F1 Visa?

You need to follow certain steps to apply for the F1 Visa. Once your admission is confirmed and you get an I-20 form from the educational institution where you wish to study, you can apply for the F1 Visa.

You can apply for an F-1 visa earlier than 120 days before the start date, to allow for visa processing and security clearance delays but even if you apply earlier than 120 days, the consulate still cannot actually issue the visa until 120 days before the program start date. Also, make sure not to delay the process, as the complete process including the visa processing can take time. So, in order to wait for the last moment, as the 120-day countdown begins, make sure you apply for the F1 Student Visa.

Students are not allowed to enter the US territory on Student Visa before 30 days from the beginning of your program.

1. I-20 form is the most important document you need to apply for the F1 Visa interview. The school sends two forms. Those who require to apply for F-1 and M-1 visa get an I-20 form and those who require J-1 receive DS-2019 Form. Once you get any of these forms, you can apply to the US Embassy or consulate which comes under the jurisdiction of their place of permanent residence. The university itself will mail the correct form to you. You will also receive SEVIS ID on your form along with your university/school's address and other information related to your program.

Each Form I-20 or DS-Form DS-2019 has a SEVIS ID number. All SEVIS ID numbers start with the letter N. On the Form I-20, the number is on the top right hand side of the first page under the words Student's Copy and above the barcode.

2. After paying the SEVIS fee and getting a receipt, you can apply for a DS-160 visa form. It is an online application form.

3. Print the application form confirmation page to bring to your interview.

4. Pay the visa fee through NEFT or at authorized AXIS bank/Citi bank locations.

5. Schedule a Biometric appointment and Interview appointment.

6. For the Biometric appointment, you will be required to appear in person to get your photograph clicked for the visa and get your fingerprints scanned.

7. At the Personal interview, the interviewer will ask you questions about your choice of course, COLLEGE, finances, and intent of coming back. If he/she is convinced, they will keep your passport with them to get the visa stamped.


F1 Visa Processing Time

The processing time for F1 Visa is quite less in comparison to other visas. In the majority of the cases, candidates come to know about the faith of their visa immediately after the interview. Whether you will get the visa or not, you will come to know about it once the interview is over. If the visa is rejected then the visa officer will hand you over the documents mentioning the reason for denial. In certain cases, processing and knowing the result of the visa can take time, in that case, you have to be patient and wait for the result.


Working on F1 Visa

Students cannot work off-campus during the first year of their program. They are allowed to work for 20 hours per week. However, during holidays and breaks, they can work up to 40 hours per week. Students are allowed to work for a commercial firm that provides services to the university/COLLEGE, like cafeteria or bookstore. Those who want to work outside the campus have two options:

  • Curriculum Practical Training (CPT)
  • Optional Practical Training (OPT)


    Curriculum Practical Training (CPT)

    CPT allows students to work or intern as part of their academic curriculum. The internship/practical training is mandatory for completing their degree. Moreover, the internship must be related to their area of study and also be approved by their university or educational institution.

    Candidates are allowed to start their Curriculum Practical Training (CPT) after completing 9 months of enrollment in their program. CPT is semester-specific, it is only authorized on a semester basis i.e. fall, spring or summer CPT. Its duration is from one semester up to 364 days.


    Optional Practical Training (OPT)

    The OPT is designed to give international students the opportunity to work in the US. With OPT, students are allowed to work maximum for a period of 12 months. Also, one can only work in their field of study and must get a job within 90 days after graduation. For those who are studying STEM subjects can get OPT extension for another 24 months. One can only start working under OPT if the candidate and his/her University's dedicated official has filed for the Employment Authorization Document (EAD). You have to fill form I-765. Also, if you are lucky, your employer will sponsor your H1-B Visa after which one can also file for a Green Card.


    F1 Visa Health Insurance Requirements

    There are no specific requirements set by the US Department of State for F1 Visa. Generally, the school/ educational institution themselves decide what kind of insurance students need to take. In case, the school has not asked for any specific requirements for the health insurance than the applicant themselves decide what kind of insurance they required to take.


    F-1 Visa Document requirements

    Before we share the list of documents required for the F-1 Visa interview, we would like to reiterate that you would not be asked for any documents other than your application/ appointment letter. However, being prepared is always advisable and you should keep these documents handy for that one in a million chance of the interviewer asking to see any document.

    Also, file them neatly so that they are easily accessible. In addition, your original passport should be readily available, as you would be requested to submit the same.


    Set 1: Personal Information

  • Passport (current and all the previous ones)
  • MRV Fee Receipt
  • Visa Interview Appointment Letter
  • DS 160 Confirmation Slip (with the bar code clearly visible)
  • SEVIS Fee Receipt
  • Passport Size Photograph (as per regulations mentioned)


    Set 2: Educational Documents

  • Academic Transcripts like Class 10th and 12th Certificates and mark-sheets
  • SAT Scorecard
  • TOEFLscorecard
  • Bachelor’s Degree/ Provisional Degree Certificate or course completion certificate or mark-sheet for all the years as well as the consolidated mark sheet (if applicable)


    Set 3: Work-related Documents (if applicable)

  • Joining Letter
  • Salary Slips (last six months)
  • Relieving Letter


    Set 4: Financial Documents

  • Loan Approval Letter (if applicable)
  • Saving Bank Account Statement (recommended: last six months)
  • Fixed Deposit Certificates (recommended: last one to three year/s)
  • Tax Returns for the past three years
  • Property Documents (residential, commercial, ancestral and/or farmland)
  • Link to DS-160 -

    Link to Guide:


    Interview Tips for Student Visa

    The toughest step where most of the rejections happen is the Visa Interview. When applying to STUDY ABROAD, nobody wants to get rejected at the crucial step of visa procurement. Let us discuss the top nine and most basic factors while preparing for the interview in order to get visa approval:

    1. Focus

    It means that you need to sound absolutely focused to the officers regarding your decision to studying abroad. You should be able to portray how studying in a particular country and in a defined ambience will help you realize your academic goals. It is essential to express why studying in India would not help you fulfill your purposes. This can be supported by explaining how the chosen curriculum will help you achieve your goals.

    2. Clarity of Goals

    You should be able to describe your aspiration of staying in a country for a defined period. It is essential to mention that you plan to utilize the experiences after completing your studies from the foreign country in actualizing your short-term and long-term goals. Showcase your intent of utilizing the time period you would spend in the chosen country in exploring its education system as well as industry and relate it with your career aspirations.

    3. Return Ticket

    A student visa is granted for a defined frame of time, which is the duration of the course you wish to study. Make sure that you do not express your desire for staying in the chosen country for too long or starting your professional career there. A STUDY PERMIT or a student visa varies from a work permit or a work visa.

    4. Keep your family and friends aside

    If you tell the visa committee that you want to go to a particular country because your friends or family members reside there, then chances are that you will get rejected. However, if everything goes right, you may always add on this point as the icing on the cake.

    5. Time

    A visa interview is generally less than half-an-hour, thus, it is vital that you understand the importance of time. You have to impress the officers heading the visa committee within this timeframe. Give your visa preparation enough time and prepare for the interview with the kind of dedication it needs.

    6. Listen before you respond

    There are no fixed questions that the visa officers have to ask from you. They may probe from you anything regarding your intention behind choosing the country. Hence, you need to listen to their questions carefully and give yourself a few seconds to understand what they have asked and also think before coming up with an appropriate answer.

    7. Language

    Fluency in a spoken language is essential to assure the officers that you are prepared to study in the medium of official international language that is English. Though the scores of the standardized English language test, you would have taken, show how well you have a hold on the language, yet good communication skills would always help in impressing the visa officers. Polish your grammar and practice in front of the mirror or your family members or friends who motivate you. Practice will make you confident and help you present your strengths intensely.

    8. Strengths

    The officers are there to test your character and eligibility.

    Character: You should be able to express that you are dedicated to learning as well as capable of living abroad. This includes your drive to overcome the challenges of studying the demanding course you have chosen to study, as well as getting absorbed in the culture of the chosen country. It also means that you come from a background where you have learned the value of judicial laws and that you will obey the laws of the country you will go to.

    Eligibility: This includes your ability to support the expenses of your studies and managing your living in a foreign country during the course of your studies.

    9. Paper-Work Ready

    Keeping yourself ready with this step will make half of you already relaxed. It would help you in concentrating on your interview even more; therefore, it is advisable that you keep the documents ready with you beforehand. Things you may get asked for during the interview includes your passport, passport-sized photographs, your standardized test scores, academic transcripts, educational certificates, proof of loan approval, bank statements, and many other related documents. Some of the original documents, like your birth certificate, need to get translated to English and authenticated by a notary for the visa office.

    These were the generic things to be kept in mind while appearing for a Visa Interview and even drafting your Visa Letter. However, different countries have different kinds of visas that vary in processes.










    H1B – WORK VISA *


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