50 F1 Student Visa Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

50 F1 Student Visa Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

This article will give answers to 50 F1 Student Visa Frequently Asked Questions. Questions like, how much does an F1 Visa cost? How can I make sure that my F1 Visa application is not rejected? Can I work in the USA with an F1 Visa? How can i get a form I-20? Do I have to take TOEFL or GRE exams to get an F1 Student Visa? These and many more questions will be answered in this article.  F1 Student Visa is very possible to acquire. But there are still some unanswered questions left. So Let's go!


1. What is Form I - 20?

Form I - 20 is a formal document which proves to the U.S government that you are eligible for an F1 Visa. It explains that you are or you are expected to be a bonafide student. It also claims that you are about to study a full course of study and that you are financially secure for studying and living in the USA.

2. How do I get a Form I - 20?

The form will be sent to you by the US school that you have been accepted to. You would need that document to apply for F1 Visa.


3. Do I have to take TOEFL or GRE exams to get an F1 Student Visa?

If your school requests that you write TOEFL or GRE exams, then you have to write it. Otherwise, the school will have to write a letter stating that they don't require TOEFL or GRE exams for attendance. However, embassies would highly recommend you get some rest scores.


4. What is Curriculum Practical Training?

The Curriculum Practical Training is an employment opportunity for F1 students. This training is an integral part of an academic program. It could come in a form of internship, practicum or any form of work experience that could be instrumental.


5. How can I prove that I can afford my study and living expenses in the USA?

In the form I - 20, the amount you are required to have is stated clearly. This amount of money must cover your tuition fee,your living expenses, and other miscellaneous expenses (as applicable). You must have the funds for that available. If your parents are sponsoring you, then you will have to attach an affidavit of sponsorship with proof.


6. What is Optional Practical Training?

Optional Practical Training (OPT) is a temporary employment opportunity given by the US government to F1 students. With OPT, you can practice what you learn in the classroom off campus. You can use some or all 12 months of practice given to you or you can save those months of practice for OPT after you have completed your studies. The OPT authorisation is granted by the US Citizenship and Immigration Service.  


7. How long does it take for the OPT authorization to be granted?

It takes at least 90 to maximum 120 days to obtain the OPT authorization. For more assurance, it is advised that apply for Optional Practical Training at the earliest possible date.


8.Do visas for students get rejected if the applicants have brothers and sisters in America?

Rejection is subject to the circumstances of each application for F1 Visa. Extended family members in the USA might not be a standard of rejection on its own.


9. What are the requirements for the OPT Authorisation?

You must have at least completed one full academic year as a full time student. Also, you must have a valid F-1 status while you apply for OPT. Lastly, intend to work in a position that is directly related to your course of study.


10. Can a bank loan prove my ability to cover my expenses if I don't have sufficient funds?

The U.S. Consular will  be concerned about how you would repay the loan. If you are to borrow a loan, ensure it's not large. A large bank loan would discourage the Consular from granting you a visa. Try to borrow a smaller loan.


Read: 100 Study Abroad Frequently Asked Questions


11. When can I apply for OPT?

If you are a first year student about completing your first year, then you can submit an application 90 days prior to the start date. If you are beyond your first year, then you should submit your application at least 120 days prior to the start date of your requested OPT. If you are applying based on your completion of course work, then ensure you apply before the completion of your coursework. Otherwise, applications will be rejected.


12. What is the US consulate looking for in terms of proof that the applicant will come back to his/her home country?

If you want more chances of getting a F1 Visa, then ensure that you have unbreakable ties with your home country. You can prove that with proof of permanent employment, proof of family property ownership, meaningful business or  business holdings, bank statements, close family ties or

strong social or cultural associations back home.


13. How much assets or liquid cash are they looking for?

There is no official fixed amount or numbers specified by immigration and visa authorities.


14. How can I convert my F1 Visa to H1- B Visa?

When you are done with school, you can get a job and an employer that can sponsor your H1 - B Visa. Then you can convert your F1 Visa to H1 - B Visa. Then, you can work for your employer with an H1 - B status.


15. I received Form I - 20 from a school and used it to process my F1 Visa. I got a Form I - 20 from another school. I prefer the latter school. What do I do?

You will have to apply again for a new visa with your new Form I - 20.


16. Can I get H1 - B stamp from the USA itself?

No. Your H1B stamp can only be acquired in your home country.


17. Can I change my academic institution once I get to the USA?

According to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services rules, you cannot change your school before completing a year there.


18. What is SEVIS?

This is Student Exchange Visitor Information System. Universities issuing I -20s are expected to enter the prospective students' information in the SEVIS database so that US consulates worldwide can access it. If your information isn't there, then may not be given a visa. So ensure you tell your school to enter your information in the SEVIS database.


19. When is the right time to apply for F1  Visa?

You can apply for the new visa 120 days before the date of enrollment mentioned in the Form I - 20.


20. What is J1 Visa?

A J-1 visa is a non-immigrant visa issued by the United States to professors, exchange visitors, research scholars that aim at participating in programs that promote cultural exchange, especially to obtain medical or business training within the U.S.


Read: 20 Cheapest Universities in the USA for International Students 2024


21. How can I convert F1 Visa to J1 Intern Visa?

After graduating with F1 Visa status, you will have to leave the USA for a year. You will either pursue your post secondary school and apply for J1 Intern Visa within 12 months of finishing your studies.


22. How can I convert F1 Visa to J1 Trainee Visa?

Once you graduate with your F1 - Visa status, you will have to leave the USA. You  must have at least one year of work experience in your field of study. If you don't have education outside the U.S. prior to this F1, you must get a post-secondary education degree outside the U.S. Then you can apply for J1 Trainee Visa.


23. How to convert from F1 Visa to Green Card?

There are 5 major ways in which you can convert F1 to Green Card.


A. You can get a  parent or child Sponsorship

If you have a parent or a child under 18 and is already a legal US citizen, they can sponsor you for your green card. An F1 visa lawyer will be handy. The same is the case with f1 to o1 visa.


B. Receive Employer Sponsorship

What if you have been working while studying? Then, you can have your employer sponsor you. How?  By asking the organization you work for to make an application for you for an EB-2 or EB-3 employment-based green card. The assistance of an f1 visa immigration lawyer. You can also search for “f1 visa immigration lawyer near me”.


C. You can participate in Military Service

Suppose, if you have two years of the university. You might be eligible for certain high-demand positions in the military, even without having a green card. For further inquiries, you may speak to a military recruiter on your campus about this possibility. You can solicit the assistance of an F1 lawyer.


D. You can marry a US citizen

F1 visa marrying us citizens. This is a very popular way of acquiring a green card. In order not to be accused of a ploy to simply  get a green card, you will have to prove that your relationship is legitimate.


E. You can  seek Asylum

What if you would be putting your life in danger if you return to your home country or if there is a civil war occurring or you are a member of a persecuted minority or group!Good news! You can petition for asylum.


24. How much does an F1 Visa cost?

The F Student  Visa cost $160. But you will be spending $510. Why? Because you will have to register for SEVIS and pay a fee that costs $350. In addition to that, you will have to complete and pay for an online non-immigrant visa application (DS-160) that costs $160. In total, you will spend $510 for an F Visa. This is the f1 visa price. Even an F1 visa attorney can testify to that.


25. What is an M1 Visa?

An M1 Visa is a type of student visa that is meant for students who wish to study vocational or technical courses in the USA.


26. What is the difference between an M1 Visa and an F1 Visa?

An F1 Visa is meant for candidates who wish to study academic courses or English Language Courses in the US. An M1 Visa is meant for those who intend to study in non - academic or vocational schools.


27. How do I apply for the F1 Visa?

The F1 Visa Application is simple and it's done in five stages.


A.Get Accepted to a School

Of course, you have to apply to a school in the US. But you also need to be accepted by a school approved by the SEVP.


B. Pay Sevis Fee and Receive your I - 20

Afterwards, you are expected to pay the SEVIS I-901 Fee in order to be enrolled in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS).


C. Complete F1 Visa Application Form

The U.S. embassy or the consulate  will determine the manner in which you will apply  for the F1 student visa. Then, you will be required to pay a non-refundable visa application fee. There is an online visa application available. It  allows you to complete and print the Form DS-160.


D.Schedule / Attend F1 Visa Interview

The period of time you will wait for interview appointments varies by location, season, and possibly visa category.  Therefore, it is advisable that you  apply for your visa early. It is possible that your  F1 student visa for the USA can be issued up to 120 days in advance of your course of study start date. Note that  you will only be granted to enter the US with an F1 visa thirty (30) days before your start date.


27. Can I work in the USA with my F1 Visa after graduation?

One way you can stay in the US on an F-1 visa after graduation is with an OPT extension. The post-completion OPT allows recent graduates to work in the US for up to 12 months.


28. How can I renew my F1 Visa?

For the F1 Visa Renewal, you will have to repeat the same process of F1 Visa Issuance. Usually the U.S Embassy  issues the F1 Visa for the duration of the academic program. If your program takes 1 year to graduate, the Embassy will most likely give you the visa for 1 year. For example, you may have to start extending F1 visa. But sometimes when a program is longer, the Embassy will issue a visa that is valid for less.


A)Go to your home country or another country and apply to a U.S Embassy for renewal or,


B)Use the Automatic Visa Revalidation option;


29. Who qualifies for Automatic F1 Visa Revalidation?

The requirements to be eligible for automatic visa revalidation are as follows: You must have a US nonimmigrant visa which has expired. You must have travelled to Canada, Mexico, or any of the US adjacent islands. Your travel must not be for more than 30 days.


Read: 40 Cheapest Universities In The World For International Students 2024


30. What is the difference between F1 and F2 Visa?

F1 visas are meant for non immigrant students for academic courses. An F2 Visa is given to the dependent of an F1 Visa. The dependent could be a spouse or minor children of an F1 Visa. Thus the person gets an F1 dependent visa.


31. What kind of questions will the US Consulate during the F1 Visa Interview?

Most of the F1 Visa interview questions will be related to these 5 categories:

  • Your study plans
  • Your university choice
  • Your academic capability
  • Your financial status
  • Your post-graduation plans


32. After graduation, how long can I stay in the USA with an F1 Visa?

After the program ends you will have 60 days to depart the U.S. If you need to renew your F1 student visa


33. Can I  work in the USA with an F1 Visa?

F-1 visas are intended to enable foreign students to study in the U.S., hence, there are strict work restrictions. Students with F-1 visas are generally allowed to work on the campus of the university at which they study for up to 20 hours a week. There are also two training programs that F-1 students can get permission to work under.


35. Can I travel outside the US?

Yes. You may return to the US after an absence of no more than five months. You must have a new F1 visa if your original one has expired. Have your designated school official sign your I-20 before leaving the US.


36. What are the F1 Visa Requirements?

The following are the requirements you need to meet in order to get an F1 Visa

  • You would need a valid passport.
  • Proof that you have purchased health insurance for international students.
  • A form DS - 160 for non - immigrant visa applications
  • Documents that show your previous education and present qualifications.
  • Two passport photographs that meet the US Visa Requirements
  • A form I - 20. This form states the amount of money you have to finance your education and your living in the US. In particular, you will be attaching tax records and bank statements for the last three years, pay stubs of previous employment, proof of scholarship (if any).


37. What are the new F1 Visa rules 2024?

There are new f1 visa rules 2024 that have altered the f1 visa process. If you are an international student from a  travel ban country, you  should be able to enter the US from their countries for the fall semester. True, the travel bans for those impacted countries remain in effect. However, students with  f1 needing to enter/return to the US for the fall semester from these countries for their studies may now do so or until the travel ban for your country is lifted.


38. What kind of information is recorded in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS)?

When the Form I - 20 is issued to you, this is the information that is recorded at the SEVIS:

  • Your SEVIS ID number
  • Your program start and end dates
  • Your intended program of study
  • Your funding sources
  • Cost of attendance at your school of choice
  • Other personal information


39. Will I be given a receipt after paying for the visa and the SEVIS processing and maintenance fees?

Yes. You will definitely receive a receipt after paying the cost. It is called the I-901 SEVIS fee receipt. You will need it for your visa interview.


40.How can I make sure that my F1 Visa  application is not rejected?

You can do that by  reading and following all instructions carefully. Always double- and triple-check your documents before submitting your application. Also,  during the interview demonstrate that you are traveling to the US to study and planning to return to your home country once your program is complete.


41. How can I maintain my F1 Visa status? 

You can do that by actively complying with the codes of conduct and university requirements, as well as the conditions and requirements of acquisition of F1 Visa.


42. What should I do when I enter the USA?

You need to ensure that you enter the country not more than 30 days before the beginning of the program. Then you can contact the designated school official.


43. What if my F1 Visa expired during the coronavirus pandemic?

You can remain in the U.S. after your F-1 expires as long as:


  • Your passport is valid.
  • Your I-20 or DS-2019 is valid.
  • You are a continuing full-time student (or for students on post-completion OPT or Academic Training, you are following the OPT or Academic Training rules).


44. Where can I apply for an F1 Visa?

You cannot apply for an F-1 inside the U.S. Visas can only be obtained outside of the U.S. at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate. It is advisable to apply for the visa at a U.S. consulate in your home country, unless circumstances or travel plans make this impossible.


45. Will I encounter delays on my F1 Visa Interview appointment?

The availability of visa appointments will vary based on your location and on local circumstances. You can keep checking with your local embassy/consulate ( ) for updates about its operating procedures.


46. How long does the F1 Visa processing take?

Most times, you will get the response on this visa immediately after the interview. At the end of the visa interview, the interviewer might congratulate you for getting the visa or will provide you with a document letting you know the reason for denial.


47. Can I bring family members to the USA?

If you have dependents, such as a spouse or unmarried children under 21 years old, they are allowed to come to the US too. This can be done with an F2 visa.


48. Who is eligible to acquire an F2 Visa?

To be eligible for an F-2 visa, you must:

  • Be the spouse of an approved F1 visa holder, or
  • Be the unmarried child under 21 years old of an approved F1 visa holder
  • Have the financial means to support the family during your stay in the US


49. What can I do if I am declined for F1 Visa?

If you are declined for an F1 visa you are usually able to apply again. Then, you will need to start the process from the beginning. Fortunately, you won’t need to pay the SEVIS fee again, but any application fees will need to be paid a second time.


Of course, you’ll be told the reason that you were denied.  If you can amend any issues, you may have a better chance next time around.


50. How long does the F1 Visa interview last?

The interview is usually straightforward and quick, and may only last around five minutes. The F1 visa interview is in English, and happens in front of a visa officer at a US embassy or consulate.

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