If you are an international student who is attending an academic program in the US, you will need to get a temporary (student) visa to get in. An F1 Student Visa is the most common type of student visa for international students who want to study in the United States.
This visa allows you to enroll in any course of study at any college, university, or high school in the United States if the school accepts your application. But your school of study in the US must be approved by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP).
Once your F1 Visa is valid, you can travel freely in the United States and abroad without worrying about losing your status. There are over a million international students studying in the US right now, and with a bit of preparation and help from an immigration attorney in Queens, you could be one of them.
Getting an F-1 visa can be tricky and confusing, especially if you are a first-time international student. But do not worry, we have got you covered! This guide will show you everything you need to know about applying for an F1 visa and getting the green light to enter the US and start your academic program.
Am I Eligible to Apply?
To be eligible for an F-1 visa, you must meet five conditions, namely:
Residence in a foreign country
If you are applying for an F1 visa, you will not be able to stay in the US permanently. After your academic program is finished, you will have to go back to your home country. So, you will need to have an official residence in another country if you want to get an F1 visa.
Admitted by a SEVP approved US school
If you want to get a F1 visa, you will need to get accepted to a school that is approved by the SEVP. You will need to do the admissions process before you can submit your visa application. A lot of the steps in the visa application process require forms from the school, so if you do not get accepted, you will not be able to do many of the steps.
It is vital to know that home schools, preschools, daycares, public elementary and middle schools, distance education, and online schools are all ineligible for SEVP schools.
Proof of financial support
If you are applying for an F1 visa, you will need to show that you have enough financial support to live and study in the US. This is not needed for other types of student visas. You will need to show proof of your financial support, like a scholarship notification, bank statement, or tax return from the previous year.
This proves that your costs of living and schooling will be taken care of while you are in the US, since you will not generally be able to work legally there.
Strong ties with home country
An F1 visa only permits temporary residence. So, to get one, you must prove that you have strong ties to your home country. This confirms that you intend to return to your home country after the end of your academic program.
If your visa interviewer believes that you do not intend to return to your home country once your academic program ends, then they will most likely reject your visa application. But it is not as hard as it may seem to prove strong ties to your home country.
You can prove strong ties by showing that you have family or relatives in your home country that need to be taken care of. You can also show that you have a job offer waiting for you in your home country or that you have a property in your home country (such as a home where you plan to reside after your academic program).
If you do not have any of the above, then you can show how you plan to use your US education in your home country instead.
If you want to join an academic program and apply for an F-1 visa, you will need to show that you can read and write English at a high enough level.
You can do this by taking English proficiency tests like TOEFL or IELTS. But if you are from an English-speaking country, you can benefit from some waivers.
The easiest way to know if you are eligible for an F-1 visa is to speak with an immigration attorney in Queens.
The Application Process
To get an F1 Visa, you will need to apply and get accepted to one of the SEVP schools. These schools are approved by the government, and you can find a list of them on the DHS website. Once you have been accepted to one of these schools, you will be enrolled in SEVIS and will need to pay a fee to continue processing.
Once you have paid the fee, you will get a form called an I-20 from the school you want to go to. You will then need to fill it out and submit it to the US Embassy or consulate for your F1 visa interview.
Do not forget the I-120, though, as you will present this to your consulate officer during your interview. But you must quickly take the next step of applying for the F-1 visa by filling and submitting Form DS-160. Once you have filed Form DS-160, you will get a printed acknowledgment with a barcode attached.
Do not lose this form, you will need it for your interview. You must support your application with evidence by attaching relevant documents. An immigration attorney in Queens can help you sort out these documents. Make sure you book a visa interview as soon as possible at the closest US Embassy or consulate to you to make sure everything goes smoothly.
It is a good idea to talk to an immigration attorney in Queens to get some tips about the interview. At the interview, you will need to show proof of your legitimate student status, enough money to cover costs, and plans to go back home after school. You must attend this interview by yourself.
But there are some exceptions for certain ages or some requirements to renew your visa. Once you have gone through the interview process and succeeded, you will get your F-1 visa, which allows you to study in the US.
Application Rejected, What Next?
If your F1 visa is rejected, you can usually resubmit your application, but you will have to start from scratch. You will not have to pay a new SEVIS fee, but you will still have to pay an application fee. You can reapply three times a year.
If you are having trouble getting your application approved, talk to an immigration attorney in Queens about it before resubmitting.
If you are an international student who wants to come to the US to study, our immigration lawyers are here to help you make it happen. It can be tough to know what to include when applying for an F-1 visa, so it is important to make sure you do not forget any important info or documents. If you do, it can really hurt your chances of getting an F1 visa.
At Gehi and Associates, we will make sure your application is done and has all the required evidence. We will look at your case and see if you qualify. Our experienced immigration lawyers will help you through the whole process and be there to answer any questions you have. Connect with us right away!