F1 Visa- Application Process/Eligibility Requirements
Foreign students looking forward to studying abroad mostly choose to go to popular places like the United States of America. However, in order to study in the U.S., you will need a specific type of visa known as the F1 Visa. It is a US student visa issued to foreign students with the intention of studying in the US.
Moreover, you will need to apply for this visa if you have an offer of admission to study in an educational institution in the US at any level from elementary to university and post-graduate studies. Therefore, in this article, you will find necessary information details on what the F1 Visa is, the application procedure, and eligibility requirements for the application.
What Is An F1 Visa?
F1 Visa is a non-immigrant student visa that allows foreigners to pursue academic studies or language training programs in the United States of America. The F1 Visa holders must maintain a full course of study. The visas are only issued in U.S. embassies and consulates outside the United States of America.
F1 Visa Eligibility Requirements
The applicant must meet the following criteria in order to be eligible for the F1 Visa, they include:
- Foreign Residence: The applicant must have an official residency in a foreign country and plans on returning back to their home country upon the completion of their studies. Note that if an interviewer finds out that you intend to remain in the United States of America after your graduation, your visa application will be denied. Your intention as an international student for studying in another country should be to further educate yourself and apply the knowledge you gained in your country, and not to remain in the United states.
- Financial Support: Applicants must show proof of sufficient financial support to cover their living and study expenses throughout their stay in the United States.
- Admission to an Approved School: Applicants will need to get admission from an accredited academic institution that has approval of the SEVP for their visa application to be granted.
- Strong Ties to Your Home Country: All applicants must prove that they have strong ties to their home country, this can be in form of a job offer upon graduation, assets (i.e. land, vehicle, house, etc.), family, bank notes etc.
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Follow the step by step guide outlined below for your F1 Visa application:
1. Get Admission Into an SEVP Approved School
Before applying for the F1 Visa, you will need to apply and gain admission into an accredited university that is approved by the SEVP. You will have to pay the SEVIS 1-901 fee once you have bee accepted. Then the school will issue to you the I-20 form. Meanwhile, the acceptance letter otherwise known as the I-20 form will be needed to start your visa application process.
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2. Complete Your Application
You will need to submit your visa application to the US embassy or consulate in your country, click here to locate yours in the websites of US Embassies, Consulates, and Diplomatic Missions. Moreover, application of the F1 Visa may vary depending on the embassy or consulate you are dealing with. The following will requested when applying for your visa:
- Certificate of eligibility status for non-immigrant (F1) student status (I-20 form)
- Payment receipt for the application fee of $160.
- Online application allows you to complete and print the form DS-160, which you will bring to your interview.
- A valid passport of at least six months .
- A recent digital color passport-sized photograph.
- Documents that prove your financial situation. This can be in form of a bank statement or a letter of recommendation from your sponsor if you are under a scholarship.
- Academic transcripts, diplomas, degrees, or certificates from previous studies.
- Any standardized test scores such as the TOEFL, SAT, GRE, or GMAT.
3. Schedule and Attend Your F1 Visa Interview
Your visa interview will determine whether you are qualified to receive an F1 Visa to study in the United States of America. You can schedule your F1 Visa interview with the US embassy or consulate in your country. Wait times for interview appointments differ by location, season, and visa category, therefore it is advisable to apply for your visa on time.
Digital fingerprint scans will be taken to keep your records. Your passport will also be taken so you can get your visa and you will be notified when you can get it back. Attend the interview with all the required documents.
The interviewer will try to know your reason for choosing to study in the United States and your intentions upon completion of your studies. Therefore, the interview questions will focus more on why you chose to study in the US, academic qualifications, ties and obligations to your home country, proof of sufficient financial support.
- Although the F1 Visa can be issued up to 120 days in advance of the start date of your course. You will only be able to enter the United States of America with the visa 30 days before your start date.
- F1 Visa holders can only work part-time up to 20 hours per week during school session. You can also work full-time on holidays and vacations.
- The duration of the F1 Visa is same as that of your studies. But in some cases can apply for renewal during your studies, that is if there is need for that.
- Never make final travel plans until you have your visa approved, as there is no guarantee for vis issuance. The interviewer will give a reason for your ineligibility in case of visa denial.
For further information, please refer to the official website of the US agency in charge of immigration using the link below. This is because changes or updates might be added anytime without notice.