Admission to colleges and universities in the United States is sought by aspiring professionals from across the globe. Other than for short-term recreational study with no earned credit hours, a student visa is required for any foreign national who wishes to study in the United States, even if that person’s home country participates in the Visa Waiver Program. If a student is enrolled in a distance learning program, and only a single semester or year is required on a school’s campus, a student visa is still required to be able to enter the United States. The F-1 Visa is a nonimmigration visa that is typically used for this purpose.
Requirements for F-1 Visa Eligibility
There are a number of requirements that an F-1 Visa applicant must comply with for purposes of obtaining that visa. Take notice of the following:
- The student must enroll in a full course load at an approved Student Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) college or university, language training school, seminary, secondary or grade school.
- He or she must be either proficient in the English language or be enrolled in coursework that leads to English language proficiency.
- Unless the student intends on coming to the United States for an English training program, he or she is required to have finished the course of study or the equivalent thereof that is ordinarily required for admission to the program, college or university.
- The student must have full financial support for the entire time of his or her enrollment.
- He or she must a home in their country of origin that the student intends to return to upon completion of their studies.
- The student must have a passport valid for travel to the United States for at least six months after the completion of the student’s program.
Before You Apply for Your F-1 Visa
There are certain steps that a student must take before submitting an F-1 Visa application. Here are the prerequisites:
- Gain admission into an SEVP certified school, college or university before the F-1 Visa application is submitted.
- Pay the I-901 SEVIS fee.
- Complete the DS-160 application and pay the appropriate fee.
- Attend your visa interview.
- Assuming the visa is granted, arrange for payment of the visa issuance fee.
The U.S. Embassy or a consular office will schedule your interview and advise you of it. At the time of the interview, an embassy or consular officer will make a determination on whether you qualify for an F-1 Visa. He or she may want additional information. You’ll likely want to bring the following with you:
- Copies of your academic transcripts, diplomas or certificates earned.
- Any standardized test results that have been required from your school.
- Proof of how you will pay for travel, tuition, books and living expenses.
- Proof of your intent to return to your home country after completion of your academic program.
Duration of Stay
Don’t make travel plans until such time as your visa has been issued. A holder of an F-1 Visa is not allowed entry into the United States less than 30 days before the start of their academic program. He or she is not permitted to remain in the United States for longer than 60 days after completion of their course of studies.
The California Central Valley immigration lawyers at Maison Law Immigration Lawyers want to see you get the best education and opportunities that you deserve here in the United States. The application and documentation processes can be complicated. A simple misstep can result in delays or even denial of a visa application. You’ll want your application and supporting documentation submitted efficiently and correctly the first time. If studying in the United States is your dream, we can help you make it come true. Contact the Central Valley immigration lawyers at Maison Law Immigration Lawyers for a consultation. We can talk about what you want to do with your future and studying for it here in the United States.