F-1 International Student Visa Support
An F-1 visa is a nonimmigrant visa that allows individuals wishing to study in the United States the opportunity to do so. If you are a foreign national interested in pursuing an academic program or English Language Program in the United States, an F-1 student visa would allow you to accomplish that goal.
F-1 Visa Requirements
Applicants must meet certain criteria in order to be approved for an F-1 international student visa:
- Proof of foreign residence with the intent to return home at the conclusion of the academic program
- Admission offer from a school, university, or institution that is accepted by the Student Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)
- Sufficient funds to cover academic and living expenses
- Strong ties to a home country, demonstrated by a job offer letter, family connections, bank accounts, or assets such as real estate or vehicle ownership
Admission to a SEVP-Approved Institution
In order to qualify for an F-1 student visa, the applicant must first apply and be accepted to attend a SEVP-approved institution of their choosing in the United States. Once the student’s enrollment has been accepted, they will be registered in the Student Exchange and Visitor Information System (SEVIS) and will be prompted to pay the SEVIS I-901 filing fee. At that point, they will be issued a Form I-20.
F-1 visas are adjudicated directly at the United States Embassy/Consulate of the foreign national’s home country, or through a change of status (for example, from a B-1/B-2 visitor visa) while in the United States. Once the previous steps have been completed, the student may apply at a United States Embassy or Consulate for an F-1 international student visa and must present the Form I-20 to the consular officer, together with the rest of the documentation prepared by our office, when they attend their visa interview.
Spouses and/or children intending to live with an F-1 visa holder in the United States during their studies must also enroll in SEVIS (but are not required to pay the fee), obtain separate Form(s) I-20, and secure their own visas.
Applying for an F-1 Visa
There are a number of steps involved in the F-1 visa application process. The process may vary by United States Embassy or Consulate, so it is important for students to consult the specific instructions listed on their home country’s embassy or consulate website.
Complete the Online F-1 Visa Application
The online application process involves the following:
- Complete the online nonimmigrant visa application, Form DS-160, and then print the application confirmation page and bring it to your interview.
- Upload a recent photo of yourself as you complete the application form, following the official photograph requirements.
- Prepare the supporting documentation to establish strong ties with the home country.
Complete an Interview
If an international student is within the 14-79 age range, an interview is generally required to obtain an F-1 visa. Interviews typically take place at the United States Embassy or Consulate in the student’s home country.
Students must have the following required documents prepared before attending visa interviews:
- Valid passport
- Nonimmigrant Visa Application, Form DS-160 confirmation page
- Application fee payment receipt
- Photo ID meeting the official photograph requirements
- Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F-1) Student Status
- Original Form I-20
- Financial documentation
- Documentation to establish strong ties with the home country
Once the interview has taken place, a Consular Officer will determine whether or not the student meets the requirements to be issued an F-1 visa and may request additional documentation, such as:
- Proof of academic preparation in the form of transcripts, diplomas, degrees, or certificates
- Standardized test scores required by the student’s SEVP-approved institution
- Proof of sufficient funds
- Proof of intent to depart the United States upon the completion of the academic program
In some instances, additional processing may take place, and the student may be required to pay a visa issuance fee.
Entering the United States with an F-1 Visa
Receiving an F-1 student visa does not guarantee a student his/her entrance into the United States. Instead, it grants individuals the ability to travel to a United States port-of-entry, where they may request permission to enter the country via the officials at the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). It will be up to the CBP Officer to allow entry into the U.S. and review the documentation that was previously provided to the Consulate by the student.
Get Your F-1 Student Visa with The Batrakova Law Office
The steps involved in applying for and securing an F-1 visa can be complex to navigate on your own, especially if English is not your first language. The Batrakova Law Office is dedicated to guiding you through the process of qualifying for and securing your F-1 visa, step by step. We are here to take care of all the documentation and assist you in the application process, so you can focus on preparing for your academic program and adventure as a student in the United States.
If you’re looking for support in securing an F-1 international student visa, contact us today.