F1 visa process 2024: Insights 

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F1 visa process

An F1 Visa is a visa that allows international students to enter the United States. It is a non-immigrant visa that permits students to study at a university certified by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP). The F1 visa is also the most popular visa sought by students to study in the country. The duration of an F1 visa would depend on the course a student has enrolled in. The 1-20 form provided by the university would specify the course duration. Before applying for an F1 Visa it is necessary to be aware of the F1 visa process. Therefore, in this blog, we have covered the F1 visa process in detail.


When to Apply for a US F1 Visa Process?

The best time to apply for a US visa is after the student has received the 1-20. The visa application can be submitted 120 days before the program commencement date. The US visa guidelines state that the visa can’t be issued 120 days before the course start date. Before, applying candidates must arrange the visa document.

Here is how you can get USA student visa

Requirements for an F1 Visa

The F1 visa process would require the student to meet the essential requirements. Without meeting these requirements a person cannot obtain a US F1 visa. These requirements are as follows:

  • The SEVP Immigration & Customs Enforcement must have approved the university/college the student wants to study in
  • The applicant must be enrolled as a full-time student at a US university
  • Additionally, he/she must meet the English language requirement and must have sufficient funds to study at a US institution
  • The applicant must also possess a valid passport and must be willing to return to the home country after the course completion.

Find out the USA Work Visa Requirements

The US F1 Visa Process

The US F1 visa application process is as follows:

Step 1. The student must apply to a US university and must receive an I-20

F1 visa process

The F1 Visa process can only be started after a student has received admission at a SERP-certified university. A SERP certification would mean that the university is accredited and has sufficient resources to educate the student. Once, the applicant has been admitted to the institution, the university will issue an I-20 form. The I-20 form would consist of the study plans of the student.  The form would consist of details such as Your SEVIS ID number, course start and end date, etc.

Step 2: Make the SEVIS fee payment 

F1 visa process

The F1 visa would cost around $510. It includes the visa cost and SEVIS maintenance charges.  Visit the Payment portal, pay the SEVIS fee, and take a printout of the fee receipt. 

Step 3. Complete Your DS-160 Visa Application

F1 visa process

Your DS-160 is your visa application. All prospective international students must complete a DS-160 to receive an F-1 visa.  The cost of this form is $160. The application can be made in the application portal of DS-160. A printout of the application form must be saved for the visa interview. 

Step 4: Attend the Visa Interview

F1 visa process

The next step is to schedule the visa interview at a US embassy/consulate. The waiting period would vary by country and usually takes months.  Once the interview has been scheduled, the student can attend the same. The US consular would decide whether the applicant is eligible for the visa. An interview is needed for those between 14-79 years of age. 

Step 5: Provide the Biometric Information 

F1 visa process

Lastly, the applicant must provide the biometric information. For example, digital fingerprint scans This usually takes place during the interview process. However, it can differ depending on the location. 

Step 6: Pay the Issuance Fee 

F1 visa process

Once the visa interview is complete, the consular will determine whether further processing is required. When the visa gets approved, the applicant must pay the visa issuance fee. Lastly, arrangements will be made regarding the return of the passport and visa.

Check out the F1 Visa cost from India

F1 Visa Documentation 

The following are the documentation requirements for a USA visa. For the F1 visa process interview the applicant must present the following documents.

  • The applicant must have a valid photograph, passport, and copies of the I-901 SEVIS payment confirmation, DS-160.
  • The I-20 forms official transcripts and test scores 
  • Provide proof of funds like bank statements
  • Diplomas (if applicable)
  • Additional documents such as Standardized test scores, how the applicant would pay all educational, living, and travel expenses, etc. (if requested)

US F1 Visa Processing Time 

The US visa processing time can vary between 15 days and 2 months. In the case of complex cases, the visa time can take longer. Note: Student visitors applying from Hyderabad do not have an interview wait time.  Hence, it is best to apply as early as possible. 

F1 Visa Process: Refusal 

Credit: @ShachiMall

An F1 visa can be denied. In case of visa refusal, the reason for the same would be provided in writing. For example, the section of the law that resulted in the visa refusal. To avoid a visa denial applicants must ensure that they have provided accurate information.

Here is what you can do in case of a student visa rejection

How to maintain the US F1 Visa Status?

After the F1 visa process is complete the students must ensure that they maintain the visa status. This can be done by taking the following steps:

  • Enter the USA not more than 30 days before the program start date.
  • Contact the DSO immediately after arriving in the country 
  • Contact the designated school official (DSO) again after visiting the university
  • While studying in the US maintain a good academic record. In case, more time is needed to complete the program contact the DSO.
  • Contact the DSO to change a class or to drop one altogether.
  • Attend the full course of study while in the USA.


How long will it take to get F1 visa?

F1 visa would take approximately 15 days to 20 days to process. Under some circumstances, it can even take up to 2 months. 

Can I get F1 visa easily?

Yes. The US visa process is simple. However, it can take a long time to process a visa. To get an F1 visa the student must meet the eligibility criteria, present accurate documents, and apply for the sam by following the guidelines. 

What is the eligibility for F1 visa?

The applicant must be enrolled in a US SERP-certified institution. The course can be an academic program, a language training program, or a vocational program. This is the main criteria for an F1 visa.

Can F-1 International Students Work in the US? 

Yes. International students can work part-time on campus in the US. Off-campus work is only allowed after the university approval. However, a student can only work for 20 hours per week. 

We hope you now understand what an F1 visa process is its requirements, processing time, etc. Want to apply for a Visa for your study abroad journey? Drop us a comment in the section below, or you can connect with a visa expert at Leverage Edu, and we will guide you on your dream journey!

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