Friday, January 16, 2015

Your F-1 Student Visa Checklist

After you’ve been accepted to your dream school, there is one more step you need to take before your study abroad journey begins: an F-1 visa application. For many international students, applying for an F-1 visa appears daunting and stressful. In this post – and in our free Jan. 23 webinar – WES Student Advisor will help you understand the process of getting your F-1 visa. You got this!

What is an F-1 visa?

Generally, a foreign citizen who wishes to enter the United States will need a visa. The type of visa that you should apply for is usually determined by the purpose of your intended travel. As an international student who will be attending a U.S. school or English language training program, you are eligible to apply for an F-1 student visa. Keep in mind that under an F-1 visa, you must be accepted by a SEVP-certified (Student and Exchange Visitor Program) school in the U.S.

How do I get an F-1 visa? You’ll want to follow these five (relatively) easy steps.
1.       Get your I-20 form from the institution you will be attending.

Once you’re accepted into an SEVP-certified school, you first need to obtain the I-20 form, “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Status,” from the school you’ll be attending. A hard copy of the form will be sent to you by the institution’s designated school official. If you are admitted into multiple programs, you will receive an I-20 form from every school that accepts you.

Pay the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (or SEVIS) fee before your scheduled visa interview. Make sure to use the I-20 from the school that you decide to attend to pay the SEVIS fee.

After completing form DS-160 online, print out the confirmation page and bring it with your other documents to the visa interview.

4.      Collect other supporting documents.

Your complete visa application packet should include the following required documents: passport, form DS-160 confirmation page, photo, and form I-20. Additional supporting documents may also be required. Basically, you need to show evidence that 1) you have sufficient funds to cover your study abroad costs; 2) you have strong social, family and financial ties to your home country, and you intend to return home upon completing the program in the U.S.

5.      Schedule an appointment for your visa interview.

You can apply for a student visa at your designated U.S. embassy or consulate. Go to the website of the embassy or consulate for country-specific instructions on interviewing. Click here to learn more about how to prepare for your interview.

And that’s it! Follow those five steps to get an F-1 visa.

Still have questions? Want to learn about the process in greater detail? Join us on Jan. 23 for our FREE webinar, Tracking Your Application and Applying for a Visa. Our admissions experts and student ambassadors will provide practical advice on how to track your application and secure an F-1 student visa. Plus, you can ask those questions directly and receive answers in real time! Register today.

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