Q. Do I need the F-1 Student visa?
A. A student wishing to attend a university or other academic institution in the United States, including primary and secondary schools, or a language training program requires an F-1 visa.
Q. What documents and information do I need to provide?
A. To Apply for the F-1/M-1 visa you must provide:
- Your original, valid Passport;
- One passport size photograph;
- The proper application forms;
- Form I-20 provided by the school or academic institution you are enrolled in;
- Evidence of sufficient funds covering all expenses, including tuition;
- Evidence of your academic qualifications;
- Application Fees.
Q. Who can apply for this visa?
A. Nationals of all countries can apply for this visa.
Q. Am I allowed to work on the F-1 visa?
A. Under certain limited circumstances it is possible to obtain permission to work in the US while on F-1 visa.
Q. How long can I stay in the US on F-1 visa?
A. You may enter the United States up to 30 days before the designated registration date on the I-20. The students returning to resume studies, may enter the U.S. at any time. The holder of an F-1 visa may remain in the United States for up to 60 days following the completion of the course.
Q. Can my spouse/children join me in US?
A. Spouses and/or children under the age of 21 who want to join you for the duration of your stay in US, need to apply for derivative F-2 visa.
Q. What is the right time to apply for visas?
A. One can apply 120 days before the date of enrolment mentioned in the I-20 form.
Q. What about shifting schools once I get there?
A. Once you are in the US, you are governed by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services rules. Accordingly, you cannot change your school before completing a year in it. It is advisable you make your choice carefully, and avoid problems later.
Q. I get my visa on one I-20; then I get another I-20 from another school, which I now want to join. What will I have to do?
A. You will have to apply for another visa.
Q. Does the reputation of the college have any bearing on my visa application?
A. The reputation of the college establishes the motive. If you are going to a reputed college, your intention is clear. But if you are going to an institution no one has heard of, and which has not asked you to take any standard tests, it might make the US consul suspicious.
Q. Does it help if I have been chosen by 10 schools?
A. Yes, it establishes that you are a superstar. There is no direct relation, though it completes the picture for the consul and helps it evaluate the case better. Mention this during your interview.
Q. Is a student visa guaranteed when an I-20 form is issued by a university?
A. A student visa is not guaranteed with the issuance of the I-20 alone. You have to convince the US authorities that you are not intending to migrate by showing proof of your permanent ties in your home country.
Q. If sufficient funds are not available, can a loan from banks or other institutions help in getting a student visa?
A. The US consul will have to be convinced about how you will repay the loan. If huge loans are shown, getting a visa can become difficult. It is preferable to have a smaller loan.
Q. Do I have to pay the first year's tuition expenses in advance and show a receipt from the university?
A. No, paying the tuition expenses in advance is a good way to show proof of funds, but it is not a requirement.
Q. Do I need the student M-1 visa?
A. A student wishing to pursue a course of study which is not principally academic in nature at an established vocational or other recognized nonacademic institution such as a post secondary vocational or business school you require an M-1 visa.
Q. Am I allowed to work on the M-1?
A. Holders of M-1 visas may only engage in employment if it is a required part of their practical training and the employment has been approved in advance by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.
Q. How long can I stay in the US on my M-1 visa?
A. As a holder of an M-1 visa you may remain in the United States for the period of time it will take to complete the course of study as indicated on the I-20M plus 30 days, or for one year, whichever is less.