F1 VISA

An F1 visa is issued to international students who are attending an academic program or English Language Program at a US college or university. F-1 students must maintain the minimum course load for full-time student status. They can remain in the US up to 60 days beyond the length of time it takes to complete their academic program, unless they have applied and been approved to stay and work for a period of time under the OPT Program

F1 Visa Qualifications

In order to qualify, applicants need to satisfy and prove several strict criteria during an F1 visa interview, including the following:

Foreign Residence

F-1 applicants must have a foreign residence and must intend to return there upon the completion of theirstudies.

Sponsoring Institution

While on your F-1 visa, you may only study at the academic institution through which the visa was granted.

Financial Support

Applicants must demonstrate sufficient financial support — the Study USA Financing Guidecan help you prepare for this aspect of your time abroad.

Ties to Home Country

All applicants must demonstrate that they have strong ties to their home country.
Strong ties consist of, but are not limited to, the following:

  • A job offer letter upon completion of studies
  • Assets (i.e., house, land, vehicle, etc.)
  • Bank accounts

Applying for an F1 Visa

Admission Requirements

Different universities have different admission policies. Your university will tell you what they need to determine if you are academically eligible. Among other requirements, you will need to show the school that you have enough money to support yourself while studying without having to work and you may have to show health insurance in order to cover any medical expenses should you need any medical assistance. Once the university has determined that your application is complete and you are academically eligible, they will issue an I-20 form to enable you to apply for your student visa.

Where to Apply for Your F1 Visa

Applicants for student visas should generally apply at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate with jurisdiction over their place of permanent residence. This will normally be your home country — the country in which you live. Although visa applicants may apply at any U.S. consular office abroad, it may be more difficult to qualify for the visa outside the country of permanent residence.