If you’re looking to come to the United States as a student, you should understand that you must be able to prove that you’ll be able to support yourself throughout your entire stay. There is a restriction on work for F-1 visa holders. There are a few exceptions (such as certain on-campus jobs and very limited work off campus) for work. USCIS refers to this as self-supporting.
Now that I’ve mentioned that, let’s move on to the actual steps.
– You must first be accepted at an SEVP approved school. SEVP stands for Student and Exchange Visitor Program. You can learn more about it by. Again, as you are considering schools, make sure it is SEVP approved or you will not receive an F-1 visa.
– After you’re accepted, you must pay the SEVIS I-901 service fee. For F visa applicants, the fee is $200 according to the official government website. This fee is separate from your visa fees and any SEVIS administration fees. After this is done, you’ll receive Form I-20 from your school. You will need to present this form during your F-1 visa interview. If you’re going to bring your spouse or children, they also need I-20s, but they do not need to be listed in SEVIS.
– At this step, you’ll complete your visa application. You will pay a non-refundable application fee. There is an online version available. Make sure that you complete and print Form DS-160 to take to your interview.
– Now you need to schedule your interview with the U.S. embassy or consulate. Apply for it as soon as you can. An F-1 visa can be issued up to 120 days in advance of the day you start school. You can enter the U.S. with an F-1 up to 30 days before your first day of school. Make sure that you bring all of the proper documents to your interview: a valid passport, Form DS-160, the receipt for your application fee, a passport photo, and your Form I-20. You should also bring your academic transcripts, diplomas, degrees, test scores (such as SAT or GMAT), proof of your ability to support yourself, and proof that you plan to leave the U.S. when your studies are complete.
– Go to your interview. You may be required to undergo fingerprinting as well and you may need to pay a visa issuance fee. You will be told when you will receive your visa and your passport back.
As you can see, getting your F-1 visa can take a lot of work. If you’d like to get help from an immigration attorney, consider. LawTrades is a legal marketplace and you can get the advice and help that you need to get your F-1 visa processed.