The F-1 Visa Application Process

In order to study full-time in the United States, prospective students coming from abroad must apply for and receive an F-1 Student Visa.

The first step in the process is qualifying for and receiving the Form I-20, which is issued by the school the student wishes to attend. Once the student has been issued Form I-20 by their school, the student must apply for the F-1 visa at a United States consulate or embassy in their home country.

Students must contact the consulate or embassy for specific application instructions, as they may vary from country to country. Once a student receives an F-1 visa, the visa is valid for entry (or re-entry) to the United States for the duration of the student’s course of study.

These are the steps to apply
for the F-1 Student Visa:

1. Decide where and what you want to study

Before you apply for the F-1 Student Visa, you must apply to and be accepted by an SEVP-approved school, such as Language On Schools

2. Complete the application process at your chosen school

Complete the school application(s) and submit a clear copy of your passport and bank statement. When you are accepted, the school will issue you a Form I-20 and enroll you in SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System).

Please visit the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) website to learn more.

3. Pay the SEVIS I-901 Fee

Visit the official website of the Department of Homeland Security to make the payment online.

Please note:
If you are traveling with your family (spouse and/or children under the age of 21), they will also need to receive an I-20 but do not need to pay the SEVIS Fee.

4. Schedule a Visa Interview

Find a U.S. Embassy or Consulate (generally in your home country) where you can schedule and attend your visa interview.

Please visit the websites of U.S. Embassies, Consulates, and Diplomatic Missions to find an Embassy or Consulate and follow the instructions.
The process may vary between different Embassies and Consulates.

PLAN AHEAD! Make sure to check the Visa Appointment & Processing Wait Time for the Embassy or Consulate that you plan to visit.

5. Complete the Online Visa Application

In order to schedule your interview you must complete the online Visa Application Form DS-160.

You will need to include a photograph of yourself.
Make sure to read about the photograph requirements before you begin the application.

You can read more about the visa application and the fees by visiting the official US Department of State website.

6. Attend the Visa Interview

Before you apply for the F-1 Student Visa, you must apply to and be accepted by an SEVP-approved school.

  • Received your Form I-20
  • Received a Letter of Acceptance
  • Paid SEVIS I-901 Fee
  • Completed Visa Application Form DS-160 and scheduled the interview

Useful Links

US Dept of Homeland Security: SEVP Certified Schools

Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) website

Pay the I-901 Fee Online

Find your local US Embassy, Consulate or Diplomatic Mission

Check Visa Appointment waiting times

Schedule your Visa Application Interview: Form DS-160

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