How to Apply for Study F-1 Visa

Lorien Finance
Lorien Finance

Getting admission into a college in the U.S. is a milestone for many international students. It holds a promise of great things to come and a curtain call to all the hard work you’ve put in over the past few months. Anyone who has gone through the rigorous process of college applications and GREs knows what we’re talking about. So, when you finally get in, it feels like a grand feat, as it rightly is. But getting admission into the college is just half the battle won. Not to deter your spirits, but a significant challenge is to apply for your student visa so you can step foot inside the college of your choice. That’s why we’re here to break down the process for you step by step so you don’t have to face any roadblocks. But before we move on to the following steps, let’s get a brief understanding of the types of Visas there are out there.

1. F1 Visa

This is for students applying for a bachelor’s or master’s degree, which involves more than 18 hours of study per week. In this blog, we’ll cover how to apply for the F-1 visa, as it’s the most commonly used visa by international students.

2. J1 Exchange Visitor Visa

As the name suggests, this visa is for students, scholars, or lecturers visiting the U.S. under an exchange program. This visa is usually pursued by professionals visiting America on an exchange program for their fellowship or research.

3. M1 Vocational Visa

M1 Visa is meant for students attending a vocational or technical school. While the process of applying for the F-1 and M-1 Visa is similar, the M1 visa has a stamp of time limit on it, which means you cannot overstay the visit.

Now that we’ve got this out of our way let’s go over the process of applying for an F-1 student visa.

STEP 1

Surprise, you’ve already done step 1 by securing a seat at that coveted university in America. Once you’ve been accepted by an accredited university, the college will provide you with an I-20 form that will certify that you’ve been enrolled in a full-time study program there and have substantial financial resources to support your stay in the United States. Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the U.S. immigration department has given American colleges the option to send the I-20 form electronically over email.

STEP 2

The next step is to pay your SEVIS fee (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System), which is approximately $350 or Rs 26,390. We’d recommend that you pay the fees online through a credit card since the alternative is to pay by a bank cheque which could take up to weeks. If you’re wondering about the purpose of the fees, it’s a maintenance fee that you pay to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security which maintains an internal record of the international students in the U.S.

STEP 3

After you’ve successfully paid your SEVIS fee, it’s time to fill up the DS-160 form. Be sure to read the guidelines for filling up the DS-160 form thoroughly. You only get one chance at this because once you’ve submitted the form, you won’t get a do-over. If you’re unsure how to go about it or are confused at any stage, it’s best to consult an immigration lawyer.

STEP 4

You’re one step closer to securing the Visa appointment. All you have to do is go to the VISA fee age and submit a fee of $160. To pay your visa fee, you can choose the following options:

  • 1. Mobile Payments – IMPS

  • 2. National Electronic Funds Transfer (NEFT)

  • 3. Cash – Over the Counter at DRUK Bank

  • 4. Cash – Over the Counter (AXIS Bank and Citibank)

Make a note of your receipt number after the transaction, as it’ll be necessary for the next step.

STEP 5

It’s time to schedule your Visa appointment. You’ll have to book two appointments, one at the Visa application centre and the other at the embassy. The waiting time for the interview can vary from country to country, and it can even take up to several months sometimes. So it’s best to schedule your appointment at the earliest. Scheduling your visa appointment at the embassy or consulate would require you to keep three things handy:

  • 1. Your passport number

  • 2. The date you paid your fee

  • 3. 10-digit barcode number from your DS-160 confirmation page

STEP 6

For your appointment at the Visa application centre, you must bring the following documents: A valid passport, DS-160 confirmation form, appointment confirmation page, and one photograph as specified by the U.S. visa guidelines. This is where you’ll be required to get your photo clicked for the Visa and scan your fingerprints. For your visit to the U.S. embassy or consulate, you will need the following documents: A printed copy of your appointment letter, DS-60 confirmation page, current and old passports (if any), and Supporting papers as per your visa type. This is where the interviewer will ask you questions about your colleges, finances, the intent of coming back, etc. Apart from this, we suggest you keep all your other essential documents handy, like all the confirmation payslips, mark sheets, certificates, interview appointment letter, I-20 sent by the college, etc. And that’s it; if you follow all these steps correctly, chances are you’ll be well on your way to the U.S. to study at the college of your choice. While the U.S. department does not disclose the number of visa applications that are accepted and denied, it’ll still be in your best interest to take guidance from people every step of the way. Anything that involves a lot of paperwork also leaves scope for human error. That’s why it’s crucial to cross-check everything twice before submitting and asking for help wherever you feel stuck. With that, we at Lorien wish you all the best in your Visa application process.


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