F-1 Student Visa: an Introduction

Students entering the United States for the purpose of attending a college, university, or other academic and language programs, must enter the US with an F-1 Student Visa. F-1 students may stay in the US for the full length of their academic program plus an additional 60 days.

F-1 students must maintain a full-time course load during the academic year and complete their studies by the expiration date listed on Form I-20. To apply for an F-1 visa a student will first need Form I-20 from the admitting school and must have also demonstrated sufficient financial resources.

Students must first apply, and be accepted, to an accredited college or university within the Untied States. If the school decides you are eligible for admission they will issue a Form I-20. Accepted students will then need to pay the SEVIS I-901 fee. This fee is paid online at the SEVIS website located here.

Students may then apply for an F-1 student visa. This visa is issued by the local US Embassy or Consulate in the student’s home country. It can take considerable time to process the application for an F-1 visa and students are encouraged to begin the process as soon as possible. Many documents are needed to submit the application for an F-1 Student Visa.

The final step is to attend an interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate. After which, the student will be issued an F-1 visa to study in the United States.