What is an F-1 Visa?
- F-1 visa is issued to a bona fide student who is qualified to pursue a full course of study.
- F-1 student should have a foreign residence without an intent of abandoning it.
- F-1 student should have an intent enter the United States, solely for the purpose of pursuing a course of study at an established institution of learning. The institution should be approved by Immigration & Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) in compliance with Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (“SEVIS”).
How do I obtain an F-1 Visa?
- You will have to apply in a particular program at a school in the United States. The school must be enrolled in SEVIS and qualified to issue an I-20.
- An I-20 is issued by a designated the international student adviser at the school, after you have qualified with the school’s admissions requirements. You will also have to present a proof that you have the financial resources for pursuing the particular program at that school.
- Based on the signed and approved I-20, you will have to apply at a United States embassy or consulate in your home country to obtain an F-1 visa.
- Consulate will issue an F-1, only after verifying the SEVIS I-20 and data in SEVIS system. F-1/F-2 will be denied if no SEVIS record in the system.
- An F-1 student may apply 120 day before the program start date. However consulate will inform the student that he may not enter the U.S. more than 30 days in advance.
- The 120- and 30-day rule does not apply to returning students (renewals) who may be issued an F visa and return to school any time as long as they are maintaining status and their SEVIS records are current.
- F-1 students are part of the “Visa Interview Waiver Pilot Program”, and many not need an interview to renew their visa if they are continuing the same program or attending the same institution.