Chase the American Dream: Apply for an F1 Visa Today!

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F1 Visa

An F1 visa is a visa available to international students to attend an academic program or an English language program at a US educational institution. Students who are on an F1 visa will have to maintain the course load to keep up with the full-time student status. The students are allowed to stay in the US for a maximum of 60 days after the completion of the course. However, this will not be applicable if the student has been approved to stay and work under the OPT program for a specified period. Keep reading to learn more about the F1 visa: eligibility criteria, document requirements, application process, interview, fees, and more. 

Visa Name F1 visa 
ValidityUp to 5 years 
Fee510 USD per application
Processing Time15 days- 2 months 

What is an F1 visa?

An F1 visa is a visa required for an international student to study in the USA. It is the course the student takes up and the university/school time that determines if a student qualifies for an F visa. The F1 visa is a non-immigrant visa. 

There are essentially 3 types of F visas:

  • The F1 visas are for full-time students 
  • The F2 visas are meant for the dependents of a person who has obtained an F1 visa. For example, a spouse or children.
  • The F3 visas are meant for border commuters or Mexican or Canadian students who are residents of their country but want to attend US educational institutions.

The F1 visa holders are permitted to work on campus for 20 hours per week. Those seeking longer working hours would have to gain prior approval from the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The work authorisation can also be granted for Optional Practical Training (OPT), and Curricular Practical Training (CPT) for a duration of 12 months.

There are different types of US visas for Indians. Want to know more about them? Check out the blog: A Comprehensive Guide to Types of US Visas

F1 Visa Eligibility Requirements 

The following are the F1 visa eligibility requirements. International students must meet these requirements to apply for an F1 visa:

  • The applicant must have a foreign residence and must want to return to their home country after the course completion
  • After the F1 visa is granted, the student can only student at the institution they have received the visa for 
  • The applicant must provide proof of finances to fund their education. 
  • Additionally, the students must demonstrate that they have strong ties to the country they come from. For example: Must have assets like land/house, receive a job offer after the course completion, and sufficient funds in the bank account, among other things.

Admission Requirements

The admission requirements vary depending on the university a student is applying to. Generally, the admission requirements of a university are provided on the official website of the university. Some of the common requirements include: meeting the academic requirements and providing proof of English proficiency, and medical insurance, among others. Once the student has received admission, the university will issue an I-20 form. The I-20 form will help a student to apply for a visa.

F1 Visa

F1 Visa Document Requirements 

Before sitting for the F1 visa interview, it is important to prepare the required documents. The following documents are required to apply for an F1 visa. 

  • A valid passport is needed to travel to the US. The passport must be valid for 6 months beyond the period of stay.
  • The applicant must submit the Nonimmigrant Visa Application form or the DS-160 confirmation page.
  • The applicant must fill out the application form and pay the required fees for the visa
  • The photograph must be uploaded by the applicant while filling out the  DS-160 form
  • In case the applicant has a spouse/. student, separate 1-20 forms will be required
  • Additionally, the applicant must qualify for the Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant F1 Student Status That is, a 1-20 form is needed. Moreover, the student must be registered in the Student and Exchange Visitor System SEVIS.

Additional Documentation for an F1 visa 

Students might have to present several other documents for the visa interview. Hence, these documents are also needed for the student visa.

  • Academic documents such as transcripts, degrees, diplomas, certificates from schools, among others 
  • Standardized test scores: the test scores required by a US educational institution
  • How will the educational, living, and travel costs will be taken care of 
  • The student will also have to demonstrate the intent to leave the United States after the course completion.

Learn how to Excel in Student Visa Interview: 5 Preparation Tips

F1 Visa Application Process

The application process for an F1 visa is as follows. Students can follow the step-by-step instructions to get an F1 visa.

  • First of all, apply to a SEVP-certified university and get accepted. Some of the documents required for a SEVP certification are the SEVIS ID, program start and end date, and intended program of study. Among other things, Once, the student has received the admission, the university will provide the 1-20 form to apply for the visa.
  • Next, pay the SEVIS fee. The total fee for the visa is  510 USD. The amount includes the visa cost and the SEVIS processing fee.  The SEVIS processing fee would be 350 USD.
  • Thirdly, the applicant must fill out the DS-160 Visa Application. Some of the application requirements include an I-20, passport, travel itinerary, et. Filling out this form would cost around  160 USD 
  • Next, schedule the visa interview. Usually, the student has to be available in person for the interview. However, under certain circumstances, it might not be required. For example, for an applicant younger than 14 years of age. Note: The DS-160 payment covers the cost of the interview. 
  • After the successful completion of the visa interview, the applicant will be granted an F1 visa status.

F1 Visa Interview

The interview is conducted to determine if the applicant is qualified for the visa. The applicant must attend the interview by providing the necessary documents. In the visa interview, the applicant can expect questions regarding studying in the US. Some of the F1 visa interview questions examples are as follows: 

  • Why have you decided to study in the US and not in your home country?
  • Why have I decided to study at this university?
  • What are the test scores secured by you in the past?
  • How will you fund your US education such as tuition fees, and living expenses?
  • Do you plan to stay in the United States after the completion of your education?
F1 Visa

Can F-1 International Students Work in the US? 

An F1 visa student can only work on-campus work in the USA. It means off-campus work is not allowed on an F1 visa.  Some of the on-campus jobs include library assistant, barista, etc. Note: the on-campus jobs would only be available if the student qualifies for the same.

Maintaining Valid F1 Status After You Arrive

It is important to maintain F1 status after arriving in the USA. Otherwise, the student may not be allowed to re-enter the country, or will not be allowed for practical training or on-campus employment. Hence, it is imperative that the student does the following things:

  • Arrive in the US not more than 30 days before the beginning of the classes.
  • Maintain the passing grades and be enrolled in the school/university full-time 

Jobs are an excellent way to earn an income while studying abroad. Check out the on-campus and off-campus jobs in the USA. 


What is the F1 visa for?

An F1 visa is available to international students to study in the USA. An F1 visa can be applied by an international student who meets the eligibility criteria.

How many years is the F1 visa valid for?

The Visa validity is for a duration of 5 years. However, the residency status of the student will remain unchanged. It will remain the same as mentioned in the I-20 form.

Is ielts compulsory for F1 visa?

Meeting the English language requirement is essential to study in the USA. The IELTS requirement is generally 6.5. However, students can also take alternative tests such as TOEFL. Exam. However, it can vary depending on the university.

We hope you now understand what an F1 visa is, its requirements, the application process, 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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A Practical Guide to USA Work PermitsHow to Get PR in Ireland After Study?
How to Get a PR in France?Is it Easy to Get a PR in the UK?

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