Getting F-1 Student Visa in US: Guide for International Students (+ INFOGRAPHIC)

4 years ago



So, you’re an international student who has been admitted to a US university. Up next is getting your US student visa.

Don’t know where to start? The Typical Student team has created this guide to help you figure out the necessary steps to take. Let’s look into this!


Getting an I-20 Form


As soon as you’re academically admitted and have tuition costs covered for at least a year of study, the college/university sends you an I-20 form. This document contains all the necessary information about a student and is vital for getting the F-1 visa status:

  • intended program of study
  • program start date
  • cost of attendance
  • sources of funding
  • student’s personal information

All the information is submitted to the U.S. government’s Student and Exchange Visitor System (SEVIS).


IMPORTANT: Checking the accuracy of information submitted to the I-20 from is the number one job for every student! In case there are errors in the form, you must immediately contact your international advisor at a college to correct the information.


Paying the SEVIS Fee


About 90% of international students studying in US have F-1 student visas. Students who have already obtained the I-20, must pay a $200 SEVIS fee.

The fee covers the maintenance of SEVIS database and employee expenses. Once the SEVIS fee is paid, students get an electronic receipt needed to get a student visa and enter the United States.


Applying for F-1 Student Visa


Student visa application breakdown:

  • apply for a student visa through the U.S. Department of State.
  • F-1 visa students must complete the DS-160 form.
  • the DS-160 form submission fee is $160, however additional fees may be required by U.S. embassy and consulate.

Note: Other fees are added to match the fees charged to local applicants under the U.S. law.


Next, a visa interview is scheduled at the embassy/consulate nearest to student’s location. Students must look up the specific rules and instructions of the U.S. embassy/consulate to secure an interview.


Visa Interview Preparation


In a nutshell, here’s what students must demonstrate during their interview to meet 3 main  criteria:

  • being legitimate, serious students;
  • having the resources to pay for education;
  • intention to return home after completing their degree and any legal work in US (non-immigrant intent).

To prevent any mistakes during the interview, check out EducationUSA, the U.S. Department of State’s network advising centers working in 170 countries. Very often, these centers provide visa sessions with consular officers/embassy officials involved to help students learn more about the procedure.


Also, check out the NAFSA (The Association of International Educators) guide 10 Points to Remember When Applying for a Student Visa. This is a helpful resource with links to the videos recorded by U.S. embassy and consulates around the world.


Good luck!






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Any questions or propositions?