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F1 Student Visa Guide

F1 Student Visa Guide

F1 Student Visa Guide
Table of Content

The student visa is issued to international students who wish to attend and pursue their education in any of the institutes like college, university, private institutions, elementary school, high school, any language training program, or any other academic institution in the US.

The candidate can only apply for the Visa if and only if they have received acceptance from any of the above institutions.

Initial Qualification for the Student Visa

The candidate must qualify below criteria to get their student visa approved

  • The candidate must have a residence in a foreign country and must intend to return there on the completion of course
  • The candidate must have enough financial support to cover for their studies and expenses during their Stay in the US
  • The candidate can study only at the educational institutions through which the Visa was granted.
  • The candidate must have their family assets and bank accounts in their home country.

Documents required for the Visa Application

The primary documents as are necessary for the Student visa application:

  • Personal Information
    • Passport
    • Fee receipts
    • Visa Interview appointment letter
    • Confirmation Slip
    • Passport Size photos
  • Educational Documents
    • Academic Transcripts
    • GRE/GMAT/SAT scorecard
    • IELTS/TOEFL/PTE scorecard
    • Bachelor's degree/course completion certificate/consolidated mark sheet
  • Work-related (if applicable)
    • Joining Letter
    • Salary Slip
  • Financial Documents
    • Loan approved letter (if applicable)
    • Saving bank account statement 
    • Fixed Deposit certifications (if any)
    • Tax returns
    • Property Document

Once all the documents are ready at hand, the candidate must go through a short interview.

Preparation for the Student visa interview

The candidate must prepare the documents neatly categorized and marked for separating each catalogue.

The candidate should have a thorough knowledge of the courses enrolled – the credit facility provided, fees structure, tenure, and the course highlights.

The candidate should possess good knowledge about the locality and the history of the enrolled university.

Tips for the Student Visa Interview

  1. Language: The candidate must speak only in English during the interview. This is to prove that the candidate can converse and understand the academic lectures conducted in the US institutions.
  2. Positive attitude: Have a positive attitude throughout
  3. Look and act apart: Show up early to the interview well dress formally.
  4. Prove ties to family and India: All non-immigrant applicants, including students, are viewed as intending immigrants unless proved otherwise
  5. Knowledge program or course enrolled: It is essential to know all the details of the enrolled program, project, and course to be pursued in the US.
  6. Give precise answers: Be quick and short.
  7. Complete documents: Keep all documents in handy
  8. Do not mention hopes of employment in the US: Remember the application is for student visa alone and not a source for a work visa. The candidate must convince the interviewer that they will return to their home country once the course is complete
  9. Visa interview questions: The interview will be mostly on the candidate's study plan, university choice, academic capability, financial status, and post-graduation plans.

Advantages of the F1 Visa (Student Visa)

The F1 Visa is issued to students willing to pursue their studies in the US.

  • Unlike all other Visa, candidates who have applied and fulfilled the above-required criteria can get the F1 Visa.
  • Students can apply to get transfer to any other better school if accepted.
  • The F1 Visa comes with other perks too. The students with F1 Visa can not only live and study in the US legally but also legally eligible for opening bank accounts, getting a driver's license, and to travel in and out of the US anytime without any restrictions.
  • The students are also permitted to work with specific rules and restrictions. 

The application process for F1 Visa

The process for the application of the F1 Visa is time-consuming; the complete process can take almost a year. The candidates are advised to plan for the application as early as possible and to make sure that the college or institution applied is recognized by the SEVP (Student and Exchange Visitor Program).

Once the candidate gets approval or acceptance from the educational institute or college, they will be automatically enrolled inside the SEVP. After which they will be requested to pay or deposit the one-time application fee.

Once paid, the institute will issue the I-20 form to the candidate, and they can apply for the F1 Visa.

F1 Visa Processing Time

The processing time for the F1 Visa is less compared to other visa application processes. Moreover, in most cases, the candidate can know the result of their application as soon as the interview is over. If the application is rejected, the visa officer will return the documents to the candidate mentioning the reason for the rejection. 

Steps to apply for the F1 Visa

Note: The candidates cannot apply for the F1 Visa before 120 of the applied program actual start date. Also, the students are not allowed to enter the US territory with a student visa before 30 days from the beginning of the program. Since the whole process is time-consuming, the candidate must make sure that the applications are submitted on appropriate timings.

The appointed institutions will provide two types of forms to the candidates, once enrolled. The candidate who applies for F1 Visa and M1 Visa will receive the I-20 form, and those who require J-1 Visa will receive the DS-2019 form accordingly.

  • Once the candidate receives the form accordingly, they can apply for student visa trough the US embassy or consulate, which comes under the jurisdiction of their permanent residence. At the same time, the candidate will be an issue with SEVIS ID (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) along with the institute address and other related information regarding the enrolled program. 
  • After paying the SEVIS fee, the candidate must apply online for the DS-160 Visa form
  • The candidate must remember to print and keep the confirmation page for the interview
  • Pay the Visa fee through NEFT or from authorized banks
  • Schedule a biometric and interview appointment
  • For the biometric appointment, the candidate will be requested to appear in person to get the photography and fingerprint scanned
  • Once all done, the personal interview will be the last step for the Visa. If the interviewer is convinced, they will keep the candidate's passport and provide the Visa stamped.

F1 Visa Rejection

If the visa application is rejected, then the visa officer will provide the reason for rejection of Visa and under which section it has been denied, whether the Visa is rejected because the applicant is not able to provide supporting documentation or if the candidate was not eligible or any other reason, the candidate comes to know about it immediately after the completion of the visa interview.

Reapplication for the Visa

The candidate who was rejected initially for the student visa can reapply for the same. If the rejection is under 221(g), the candidate has to resubmit the application along with the visa fee charges. If the rejection is under section 214(b) of the INA, the candidate can reapply by simply presenting significant evidence of changes in the application from the last application.

Working with F1 Visa

Students cannot work outside the campus during the first year. After the first year, the students are allowed to work for 20 hours per week. During the break or holiday, the students can work up to 40 hours a week. However, students are allowed to work for commercial firms that provide service to the college or university, such as the cafeteria and bookstores.

The students who want to work outside the campus have two options:

  1. Curriculum Practical Training (CPT)
  2. Optional Practical Training (OPT)

Curriculum Practical Training (CPT)

CPT allows the students to work as an intern. The internship/practical training must be related to their area of study and also be approved by their university or college as it is mandatory for the completion of their studies. Candidates can only start their CPT after the end of 9 months in their enrolled program.

Optional Practical Training (OPT)

OPT provides an opportunity for international students to work in the US for a maximum period of 12 months. Also, the work must be related to their field of study and must get a job within 90 days after graduation from the enrolled program. The student can only work under OPT if the registered university dedicated official has filled for the Employment Authorization Document (EAD).

The candidate will be requested to fill form I-765, and, if lucky, the employer will sponsor the H1-B working visa for the candidate, after which they can even apply for a Green Card.

Health Insurance for F1 Visa

The type of health insurance required to be taken for the F1 visa holding student is decided by the institution or the college in which they enrolled. If the institute doesn't ask for any health insurance, then the candidate can determine what kind of coverage they are required to take.

Other perks of F1 Visa

  • Change of Visa status – if found job after studies.
  • An extended period of Stay – if the candidate doesn't complete the course within the initial course time.
  • Access to US healthcare.
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