Acquiring an F1 visa is a crucial first step toward studying abroad. While the process can be long and involved, several documents need to be submitted as well as paying fees to process applications with the US government. While all this money may seem overwhelming at first, it’s best to understand all fees prior to submitting paperwork.
Students holding F1 visas are permitted to stay in the US for the entirety of their academic program as indicated on Form I-20, including on campus employment up to 20 hours each week. They also come equipped with certain privileges and rules they must abide by in order to maintain student visa status.
An F1 visa application begins by enrolling in a SEVP (Student and Exchange Visitor Program) approved school, with a valid SEVIS I-901 number listed by DHS on its website. Once accepted to an SEVP school, students must pay any applicable fees and complete Form DS-160 nonimmigrant visa applications before being allowed entry to the United States.
Once the DS-160 form has been completed, the next step should be scheduling an interview at an American Embassy or Consulate in their country of residence. Since waiting times can vary for interviews with USCIS officers can vary, scheduling early will help to ensure an appointment and ensure you can pass security. At your interview, a USCIS officer will verify your identity as well as your intention to enroll at a university in America and that sufficient funds exist to cover expenses when your studies conclude.