When should students apply for a Student Visa?

Applications for an F-1 Student Visas can be made as soon as the student receives Form I-20 from their university and have demonstrated adequate financial resources. International students should apply early for their student visa to provide time for processing.

The local Embassy or Consulate in the student’s home country will issue the visa and can do so up to 120 days before the start/report date printed on the student’s Form I-20. However, if students apply for the student visa more than 120 days before their start date the Embassy or Consulate will hold their application until it is able to issue the visa. The government officials will use the extra time to accomplish any special clearances or other processes that may be required.

Students from the countries of Cuba, Syria, Sudan and Iran need to receive special clearance from their local U.S. embassy or consulate depending upon their intended course of study. Students from these countries will need to complete forms DS-157 and DS-156 and appear for an interview with a consular officer. This process takes additional time and student from these countries should plan accordingly. Additional information can be found here.