F1 Visa Requirements & Application Procedure

If you wish to apply for an F1 Visa to study in the U.S, below are the general process you need to go through before obtaining the visa;

F1 Visa



  • Be Accepted at a SEVP Approved School
  • Before you can apply for your F-1 student visa for the USA, you must apply to and be accepted by a school approved by the SEVP.
  • Pay your SEVIS Fee and Receive your I-20
  • In order for you to be enrolled in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), you will be required to pay the SEVIS I-901 once you’re offered admission. Upon payment, your will be offered a Form I-20 by your school. The form will be presented to the consular officer when you go for your F-1 visa interview.

*If your spouse and/or children plan to reside in the USA with you while you study, they will be required to have individual Form I-20s, but they will not need to be enrolled in the SEVIS.


Complete the Visa Application

Depending on the U.S. embassy or consulate you are dealing with, application process for the F-1 student visa may vary. You will be required to pay a non-refundable visa application fee in any case.

However, there is an online visa application available, which you can complete and print the Form DS-160 which you are to take along with you for your F-1 visa interview.


Preparing for your Interview

Early preparation is key for visa supplication. An F-1 student visa for the USA can be issued up to 120 days in advance of your course of study start date. You will only be allowed to enter the US with an F-1 visa 30 days before your resumption date.

The following documents are required for your F-1 visa interview:


  • A valid passport
  • The Nonimmigrant Visa Application, Form DS-160
  • The application fee payment receipt
  • A passport photo
  • A Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F-1) Student Status (Form 1-20)

Additional documents may be requested to prove your eligibility for the F-1 student visa, including;

  • Academic transcripts
  • Diplomas
  • Degrees, or certificates
  • Test scores such as the TOEFL, SAT, GRE, or GMAT
  • Proof of your intent to depart the U.S. after your program is complete
  • Proof of your financial stability.

Visa Interview & Issuance

Keep in mind that visa issuance is not guaranteed. Never make final travel plans until you have your visa approved. Your F-1 visa interview will determine whether you are qualified to receive an F-1 student visa for the USA. Assuming that you have prepared the appropriate documents and met all of the F-1 visa requirements, your visa will be approved at the discretion of the consular officer. If your visa is denied, you will be given a reason based on the section of law which applies to your ineligibility. Filing a waiver of ineligibility is possible in some cases. You may be required to pay a visa issuance fee.



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