F1 Visa Process

Learn About F1 Visa Process And Documents Checklist

Applying For The F1 Visa

The first step is to obtain from the school or academic institution the USCIS Form I-20A-B entitled Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant F1 Student Status. Schools and academic institutions, which have received USCIS approval to enroll foreign students under F1 student visa, have the authority to issue these forms.

Note: A F1 student visa cannot be processed without USCIS Form I-20A-B.

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Check My Eligibility

Your F1 student visa documents checklist include:

  1. DOS Form DS-160, Nonimmigrant Visa Application
  2. DOS Form DS-158, Contact Information and Work History for Nonimmigrant Visa Applicant
  3. A copy of your passport which is valid for at least six months beyond the period of stay in the U.S. and with at least one blank page
  4. Two identical color photographs showing full face without head covering against a light background. You may wear a headdress if required by a religious order of which you are a member
  5. Financial evidence that shows you or your parents who are sponsoring you have sufficient funds to cover your tuition and living expenses during the period of your intended study
  6. For example, if you or your sponsor is a salaried employee, you may include income tax documents and original bank statements. If you or your sponsor owns a business, include business registration, licenses, etc., and tax documents, as well as original bank statements
  7. Transcripts and diplomas from previous institutions attended
  8. Scores from standardized tests required by the educational institution such as the TOEFL, SAT, GRE or GMAT
  9. Documents demonstrating your intent to depart from the U.S. upon completion of studies

The Student And Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS)

All new Form I-20A-B and DS-2019 must be created within the SEVIS system.

The purpose of SEVIS is to monitor the visa adjudication process and oversee the academic career of foreign students and their dependants who enter the U.S. using an F1 or F2 visa.

Under the SEVIS guidelines, the student’s proposed U.S. school must submit specific information electronically before a student visa may be issued.

The required information is:

  1. The full name of the student
  2. Date and place of birth of the student
  3. Nationality/Citizenship of the student. The school’s code/program number
  4. The school/program name

This information can only be entered by the U.S. schools – students cannot enter the information on their own behalf.


Duration of Stay

You may enter the U.S. on US student visa up to 90 days before the designated registration date on the Form I-20AB, and remain in the U.S. for up to 60 days following the completion of the course.


Spouses and Children

Spouses and/or children under the age of 21 who wish to accompany or join you in the U.S. for the duration of your stay can apply for F2 visa.


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