If you are going to study in USA you will need to apply for a student visa. Students who come to the United States on a student visa must have a primary purpose of studying and study full-time. In this article, we will guide you through steps for the visa application process. Below you find our eight-step guide on how to apply for an F1 Student Visa for USA.
1. Apply to a school and get an I-20
The first step is to apply to a SEVP-approved school in the USA before you can apply for a student visa. Once your admission is confirmed, the institution will issue you an I-20 document. This document will be used in the visa application process.
You must check whether the details mentioned on your I-20 match your passport before moving forward. If any changes, you will have to ask the school to change it and send you a new one.
2. Pay the SEVIS-fee of $350
Once you are enrolled in SEVIS, Student and Exchange Visitor Information System, you will need to pay the SEVIS-fee of $350. You can file online or offline for paying the fee. US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) SEVP website will guide you through it.
You must pay the SEVIS fee 3 to 4 days before applying for a US visa. While paying, you will need to submit your SEVIS ID. You will be issued a receipt, make a confirmation, and print it out. You will need this receipt as proof of fee payment at your interview for USA Student Visa.
3. Fill in the DS-160 application online
The next step is to fill the application form DS-160 online with the correct details. Here you have to fill in your details such as name, address, nationality, etc and answer questions about your health and criminal record. You also need to upload a photo. It’s best to apply as early as possible. Remember to print the confirmation page.
If your passport needs to be renewed, do it before you start your DS-160 application. The passport should have a validity date of at least 6 months beyond your period of stay duration in the USA if your nationality is not on the exception list.
4. Pay the application fee
When you have completed your DS-160 form, you have to pay your US visa application fee. Review the fee payment, follow instructions carefully, and consult with websites as the process may vary. Collect your fee receipt, you will need the reference number of the payment in the next step.
5. Book an interview at the US Embassy
Once the application fee is paid you should book your interview. You will need to mention the details such as your passport number, your CGI reference number, and the 10-digit barcode number from your DS-160 confirmation.
The interview will consist of questions related to your course, choice of college, and intent to come back to the home country. If you successfully crack your interview, your passport will be taken to get the Visa Stamped.
6. Prepare the documents for the interview
You will need to prepare several documents for the interview. Before starting the process refer to this checklist. Listed below are some of the documents you will require: during your interview:
- A valid passport
- Recent passport size photograph
- Your DS-160 confirmation page
- Form I -20
- Receipt of payment for your visa.
- DS 160 form, a Non-Immigrant US Visa F1 Student Visa Application Form
- Academic records (Transcripts and Certificate / Degrees)
- Test scores of GRE, TOEFL, GMAT, IELTS, etc.
- Proof of intent to exit from the USA after the completion of the course.
- Proof of financial stability.
- Your University will inform you of any additional requirements before your application
7. The interview at the US embassy
The interview is an integral part of the F1 visa interview to study in USA. Bring all the documents necessary to the interview. The interview will decide if you will get an F1 visa or not. The Interviewer you will primarily check that:
- Your main purpose is to study and that you have the skills needed to pass the program.
- That you can pay for your expenses in the USA.
- That you intend to come back to your home country after you have completed your studies.
- That you don’t pose a security risk.
Here we have mentioned some questions you can expect during your F1 visa interview.
- What are the reasons to study in USA?
- Why do you want to study at this specific University?
- How do you manage your healthcare and other expenses while you study in USA?
- What are your plans post-graduation? What job or career are you planning?
Prepare yourself for the visa interview. Be confident, stay calm, and present your biodata correctly. Keep in mind to keep your attire formal. The decision of Your visa application will be decided at the interview. If approved you would get your passport with the student visa within 7 days of the interview in most countries.
8. Travel to the US
It is time to book your tickets to the USA if you have not already done so. You can enter the USA at the earliest 30 days before your course begins on your I-20. Don’t forget to bring your I-20 in your carry-on luggage as you will need to show it at the immigration control in the airport on arrival.
We would suggest you keep yourself updated with the latest rules and regulations as US authorities can change their visa regulations at any time and different rules can apply to different countries. So you should always double-check the information on the official website for USA Student Visa.