F1 Visa (Student Visa)

The USA F1 Visa is a visa given away to a non-immigrant of US who wishes to join an education program as a student in the States. The education program can be academic in nature or a language training course. To apply for this visa, a student ought to receive a form named I-20 from the school. This visa mandates the student to show that he/she is independent to support their expenses in the US since above-board employment opportunities are less.


To apply for an F1 Visa, the petitioner should be registered in a full-time academic or language education curriculum at a school or academic institution recognized by the US. The full-time academic program is characterized as atleast 18 hour study timetable per week. The non-immigrant petitioner has to reflect that he/she is financially sound to support their residence and expenses during their course of study in the US. In addition to this, the petitioner should intend to arrive to their homeland once the course of study is finished.

Eligibility criteria

The following eligibility criteria should be met by the petitioner;

  • The non-immigrant shall have a proof of citizenship of his/her homeland
  • The non-immigrant shall intend to go back to his/her homeland upon completion of the academic program/language training course
  • The non-immigrant has plans to pursue his academic program only from the institution he/she received I-20 Form
  • The non-immigrant should be financially strong
  • The non-immigrant has to show strong connections reflecting his assets, accounts and family between him and his/her homeland

Application Process

The following steps should be followed to apply for a USA F1 Visa;

Step 1: Verify the type of visa you are applying for since each visa holds different qualifications and application criteria. It is also advised to view the Visa Waiver Program.

Step 2: Now, Form DS-160 i.e. Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application should be filed after going through the guidelines of completing the form. The help of a lawyer can be taken to fill the form since any errors cannot be undone after submitting the form.

Step 3: After filling the form, the visa fee has to be paid; the receipt of which should be saved for reference and to make visa appointment.

Step 4: Now, an interview needs to be scheduled. This can be done by clicking on the Schedule Appointment on your dashboard after logging into your profile. The appointments are classified into two, both of which are mandatory. The first appointment is for Visa Application Center (VAC) and second one belongs to visa interview at the Embassy. The Embassy appointment should be fixed first followed by the VAC. The appointment at Embassy has to be scheduled atleast a day before the visa interview. To book an appointment, keep your passport number, date of payment of fee; and the 10 digit barcode number of your DS-160 form. Whilst scheduling the appointment, you can choose the type of visa, enter private information, and enter the number of dependants, address of delivery of documents, confirmation of visa payment followed by scheduling an appointment.

Step 5: To book an appointment, you will need-

An official passport stating free movement to the US and which holds validity for a minimum of six months in addition to the duration of stay in the States. If you have any dependents desiring for a visa, then they should propose an application.

  1. Form DS-160 confirmation
  2. A copy of appointment confirmation
  3. One passport size photo that meets the US visa specifications

Step 6: After completing Step 5, you should pay a visit to the Visa Application Centre to submit your photo and fingerprints followed by a visit to U.S. Embassy for the interview on the date mentioned. The essentials needed for an interview are;

  1. A copy of appointment letter
  2. DS-160 confirmation copy
  3. Old and present passport
  4. Form I-901 SEVIS fee receipt
  5. Other supporting documents

Note- Children below the age of 14 are exempted from any appointment and interview process.

Supporting documents

The documents required for USA F1 Visa are;

  • A valid passport with a validity of minimum 6 months further than the stay period in the US.
  • The non-immigrant payment of fee receipt i.e Form DS-160 confirmation copy
  • A passport size image as per the criteria mentioned by the US Photograph Requirements
  • An Eligibility certificate for non-immigrant (F-1) student visa for academic and language students
  • Form I-20A-B or certificate of eligibility for non-immigrant (M-1) student status for vocational students
  • Note- The academic institution will send you Form I-20 upon entering your information in the SEVIS database. This form has to be signed by the institution and you. In addition to this, the dependants of the students willing to reside in the US should be registered in the SEVIS each of which will receive an individual Form I-20.
  • Your academic transcripts from the school and colleges you have attended
  • Your score of TOEFL, SAT, GRE or GMAT
  • Your willingness of proof to return to your homeland once the course of study is completed
  • The structural plan of bearing self-expenses related to education, residence and travelling costs


The non-refundable fee required for USA F1 visa is $160 which has to be paid before the interview takes place.

Application form

The application form to obtain USA F1 Visa is Form DS-160 which is available online.

Rejection reasons

The reasons behind USA F1 Visa rejection are mentioned below;

  • When the petitioner is dishonest in his interview and makes an attempt to mislead the officer, chances are likely that the officer inspects about the fact and reject the visa.
  • The officer upon learning about the weak financial status of petitioner might reject the visa application.
  • Most of the visa applications are rejected due to lack of proper documents or any credential missing. This rejection falls under section 22(g).
  • When the petitioner fails to justify his intention of going to the States, his visa is rejected under section 214(b).
  • When the officer learns about the petitioner’s weak bond with his/her homeland and his intention to settle down in the US, this reason paves way for visa rejection.

How long can stay or extension with this visa

The Form I-20 obtained by the applicant itself is a subtle proof of extension for your stay in the States even though you have not completed your academic program. The U.S government is openhanded in permitting to stay non-immigrants to continue their stay in the US even after the expiry of their visa provided the students are registered in full time courses.

However, the non-immigrant students ought to apply for extension of visa in case they are in need of additional time to cover the academic study. The authority of extending the Form I-20 rests with the school/university the non-immigrant is enrolled in. The documents required for extension are passport, Form I-94, Arrival-departure papers, and a valid reason stating your extension in the States.

This visa holders whether qualified to apply for other visas and citizenship

The non-immigrant who has applied for USA F1 visa is eligible to apply for H-1B visa while option of M-1 and H-3 is also available. The change of visa status is approved only when

  • The non-immigrant has completed his/her one academic year in the US
  • Holds a strong academic position in addition to being a full-time student
  • Is capable enough of handling work and studies
  • Has tried to be employed on-campus
  • Is successful in convincing the US government about the sudden change in financial burden