All You Need to Know About F1 Visa Requirements


By Imagility

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International students dream of pursuing higher education in the USA. Each year, lakhs of students enter US colleges and educational institutes to obtain a US bachelor’s or master’s degree. However, one must get an F1 visa to enter US colleges to enroll in a course.

The F1 visa is a student visa specifically designed for those looking to study in the United States. In 2021, 357,839 applicants were granted F-1 visa status, while 88,583 got refusals.

If you are also considering applying for an F1 visa, you need to understand F-1 visa requirements to improve your chances of F1 visa approval.

This blog post will provide a comprehensive overview of the US student visa requirements and the steps you need to take to apply for an F1 visa. Whether you’re from China, India, Mexico, or other countries, you’ll find all international student visa requirements here.

But before we get into the F-1 visa requirements, let’s first understand the F-1 visa.

What is an F-1 Visa? A Brief Overview

The F-1 visa is a student visa that allows international students to study in any US college, university, or educational institute certified by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP). This is the most sought-after student visa that helps international students to realize their dream of studying in the US and obtaining a US bachelor’s or master’s degree.

The duration of your stay as an F-1 visa holder depends on the course you pursue. The university or any other educational institute certified by SEVP will provide the I-20 form that will mention the expiration date of your pursuing course. Hence, you will need to complete and obtain your degree before the mentioned expiration date of the program.

Once you graduate, you can apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT). The OPT status allows you to work in the US for up to 12 months in a field related to your study.

F-1 students can also apply for an H1-B visa after graduation or during OPT. H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa program that allows US employers to hire foreign workers in specialty occupations, which are professions that require theoretical and practical application of specialized knowledge along with a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent.

F1 Visa Requirements

While applying for an F-1 visa, you must meet the following F-1 visa requirements to get your application approved.

Ensure your University/college/Institute is SEVP certified

First, you need to check whether your institute is certified by SEVP. SEVP has a list of universities, colleges, and institutes that meet the conditions specified by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to accept international students. Once you confirm the listing of your institute at SEVP, only then can you apply for an F-1 visa else it is futile.

Enrolled as a full-time student

You must be enrolled as a full-time student at the institution. Part-time enrollment will not suffice to apply for an F-1 visa.

Proficient in English

English language proficiency is a must-have student visa requirement in the USA to get F-1 visa approval. You need to prove proficiency at a level where you can read, write and speak English that will allow you to enroll in a program. You can take tests like IELTS to improve your English proficiency.  You need to check what it takes to qualify for a USA student visa IELTS requirements.

Proof of Sufficient Fund

You must prove that you have sufficient funds in your bank account to finance your studies and living expenses in the USA. However, it does not signify that F-1 visa students are not eligible for scholarships.

Strong ties to home country

It is essential to show you have strong ties to your home country, and once you complete your program, you will return to your home country.

Required Documents for F-1 Visa

Below are the required documents you must have while applying for F-1 visa applications.

  • A valid passport
  • Two photographs complying with the US visa requirements
  • Proof of F-1 visa paid fees
  • Form DS-160 for non-immigrant visa applications
  • Form I-20
  • Previous year educational certificates
  • Acceptance letter from the College/University/Institute

How can Imagility help you?

Imagility is an immigration software that helps aspirants to build a compelling F-1 visa story while highlighting the essential components that need vital attention. Imagility’s AI and ML capabilities automate the petition-building process and recommend improvements that can ensure effective petitions, reducing the risk of RFEs and denials and consequently increasing the chance of F-1 visa approval.

Imagility’s Student App helps students find universities of their choice, apply to them, and prepare for the visa process. All this is done by consolidating information about universities, the visa process, and interview tips in the App. Students can search for suitable universities based on their field of study, degree level, and location. The mobile app supplements the Imagility Platform and helps students stay updated on the visa process.

Download the app on Play Store and App Store today to embark on a successful immigration journey! 

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