F1 Visa

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The Ultimate F1 Visa Guide!

Known as the land of dreams, the USA attracts a large number of Indian students who wish to study at the highest-ranking universities in the world. Since the demand amongst Indian students to study in the USA, it is important to know about the F1 Visa. As you all must be knowing that the Spring 2022 intake in the USA is around the corner and a lot of Indian students are busy preparing for their college applications, SOPs, LORs, student visas, etc, we bring to you a detailed blog on the F1 Visa to study in the USA in 2022. 

Also read: USA Student Visa: COVID Updates, Cost, Types, Intakes

What is an F1 Visa?

If you wish to pursue your higher studies in one of the top universities in the USA, you will require an F1 Visa. The F1 Student Visa allows international students to enter the USA as full-time students. Apart from an F1 Visa, there is another type of US Visa called an M1 Visa. This US Visa is for students pursuing a vocational course (courses other than non-academic courses and language training. 

The duration of the F1 Visa depends upon the duration of your course. This American visa does come with its rigidity. In case your program isn’t completed before your USA student visa expires, you are eligible to renew it but from your home country only. 

Eligibility Requirements of F1 Visa

You can apply for an F1 Visa only if US universities or academic institutions certified by the SEVP (Student and Exchange Visitor Program) accepts you. Along with this, you have to fulfil the minimum eligibility criteria given below to be able to apply for the same:

  • You must be a part of a full-time offline program. 
  • IELTS/TOEFL test should be given to meet the minimum requirement.
  • Sufficient financial support to sustain in the USA while you study
  • Possessing a valid passport in good condition
  • Permanent residency in your home country that you can fly back to once your program is over

Note: The US government is very strict when it comes to the case of illegal migrants or students living in the country with an expired visa. To avoid any kind of mishap, ensure you meet all eligibility requirements. 

Here’s Everything to Know About the Cost of studying in the USA!

Essential Documents for F1 Visa

A set of documents that you will be required to submit when you are filling the online application or an offline application at the American Consulate are as follows:

  • A valid passport in good condition
  • Passport size photographs for your visa
  • Printed copies of your fee receipts 
  • University application
  • Offer of acceptance from an American university or academic institution
  • Bank statements as proof of financial soundness

These documents will also be required during your US visa interview so make sure you have a good number of copies made. Do not submit any of your original documents like your AADHAAR or PAN CARD unless a representative from the Visa office genuinely requires it. 

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Here’s a list of documents required to apply to a US University!

Application Process for F1 Visa

For international students, it is advised to start the visa process at least 6 months before the start of the semester. In case your visa application needs modifications or re-application, you need to keep a gap period for the same. The step by step guide into the F1 Visa for USA application process is given below in detail:

Step 1: Receive your Offer Letter and the I-20 Form

Your journey to the USA starts with an offer of acceptance from a SEVP certified university or academic institution. Once accepted, the university will mail you the I-20 form which is a kind of evidence to be attached with your F1 Visa application. Note that your course start and end date will be written on this form which will decide the duration of your stay in the USA. Thoroughly check the form and keep a copy with you in case of any unforeseen problems. 

Step 2: SEVIS Fee

On your I-20 form, you will be provided with your SEVIS ID (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System ID). You have to pay a SEVIS fee on the portal to continue your F1 Visa application. Please keep a printed copy or save the receipt of your SEVIS fee.

Step 3: Fill your DS-160 Form

DS-160 is an online visa application form to be filled by all nonmigrants including the F1 Visa applicants. The form is available on the Consular Electronic Application Center website. You will require your SEVIS ID to access the form. You have to pay a fee for accessing the DS-160 form. Once successfully filled, you have to save and print the form with the barcode. 

Step 4: Set up your F1 Visa Interview

As soon as the online application is done, schedule a visa interview at the nearest US embassy or consulate. The waitlist is huge and it sometimes can be a month till your F1 Visa interview is scheduled. On the day of your interview, carry the essential documents mentioned above with your I-20 and DS-160 forms. Keep multiple copies with you in case you require them. The interview is held to verify that you are as you identify and want to study at a university in the USA. 

Step 5: Fly to the USA

The processing time of the F1 Visa for the USA can sometimes take 4 to 5 weeks after the visa interview. Once you receive the visa, you are fit to fly as a full-time student in a SEVP certified university in the USA. You can only 

F1 Visa Interview Questions

  • Why did you choose to study in the US instead of joining the workforce in your home country?
  • Why do you want to study in the US?
  • Why can’t you continue your education in your home country?
  • What are you planning to study?
  • Have you been to the United States before?
  • Why did you choose this university?
  • Where is your school located?
  • Why did you choose this school and why is it the best school for you?
  • What are your test scores, your GPA, and your overall performance as a student in the past?
  • How are you funding the entire duration of your education, including tuition, room and board, transportation, and all other expenses?
  • After you graduate, will you return home or will you stay in the United States?

Fees for F1 Visa

The cost of studying and living in the USA where the dollar is valued higher than the rupee can be very expensive and so is the cost of getting the F1 Visa. Given below is the total cost of getting a US student visa for Indian students:

Type of cost  Amount 
I-20 Form fee $350 or ₹26,358
DS-160 Form fee $160 or ₹12,049
Total  $510 or ₹38,408

Know-How to transfer universities to the USA?

Terms and Conditions to Remember for F1 Visa

The F1 Visa comes with certain perks and rules that have to be followed to continue keeping your visa status. 

  • You are allowed to work on-campus for 20 hours a week (part-time) only for the first academic year when your terms are in session.
  • If you want to work after your program is completed, you are eligible to apply for the Optional Practical Training for 12 months. 
  • Book your flight to enter the USA within 30 days from your semester start date. 
  • You are expected to communicate with your DSO (Designated School Official) the first thing you enter the USA. 
  • Attend all your classes regularly to maintain a good record. 
  • In case you need an extension on your F1 Visa to complete your program, consult your DSO for the further process. 

Your One-Step Guide for USA Work Permit Visa!

Reasons for Rejection of F1 Visa

Like mentioned before, the USA State of Security does a very careful inspection on every international student applying for the F1 Visa. If your visa application gets rejected, you will receive in writing the detailed reason for denial. Your visa application can be rejected on the following grounds:-

  • Invalid documents
  • Damaged passport 
  • Incorrect photographs 
  • Insufficient financial support
  • Substandard visa interview

Here are the Top Reasons For US Visa Rejection

FAQs

Can I bring my family member with me on the F1 Visa?

No, you will have to apply for the F2 Visa if you want the immediate family member to accompany you to the States. 

Is it necessary to fill the I-20 form?

It is mandatory to fill the I-20 form because it contains your SEVIS ID. 

How many US embassies and consulates are in India?

There are 5 USA embassies and consulates in India- New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and Hyderabad. 

Can I renew my F1 Visa?

Yes, you can renew it in case your program is incomplete at the expiry date but you have to be in your home country. 

How many days can I stay in the USA after my F1 Visa expires?

You can stay in the states for 60 days post your program completion. 

Can I work in the USA with an F1 Visa?

Yes, you can work part-time on campus for 20 hours per week when your terms are in session and full-time during holidays in the first year. 

Will the form fee be refunded if my F1 Visa is rejected?

No, the form fees are non-refundable if your visa application is rejected. 

What questions are asked during the F1 Visa interview?

Questions related to the university you chose, the program you chose, financial soundness, your statement of purpose and your intention to return to your home country after completion of the program are asked. 

Studying in the USA is a dream of many Indian students and we wouldn’t like a visa process glitch to disappoint you and your dreams. Get in touch with our Leverage Edu experts and counsellors now on 1800572000! They will guide you in getting closer to your dream of studying in the USA. Who knows, maybe you reach the doors of Harvard through us.

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