How long does it take to get an F-1 visa?

Assembling the required documents for the F-1 visa application can be time-consuming. Students will need to assemble several forms before applying:

Students will need Form I-20 before beginning application for F-1 status. Students should allow at least two (2) weeks for their university to process their application and send the Form I-20.

Once the application for F-1 status has been made at the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate the student must wait for an interview appointment. After the interview a decision is made whether to issue the visa. The student will then have to wait again for the visa to be processed and is available for pick-up.

Estimates of the waiting times to get an interview appointment and estimates for administrative processing of visas at local U.S. Embassy and Consulates are provided here by the U.S. State Department.

The average wait time for interviews and visa processing varies from country to country. It can be as little as one day or as long as a month. Some visa applications require additional processing based on individual circumstances, which requires additional time. However, most administrative processing is resolved within 60 days of application.

Before making inquiries about status of a visa, applicants should wait at least 90 days from the date of interview or submission of documents.