What is an F1 Student Visa?

The F1 Visa, or “Student Visa” is granted to qualifying foreign-born students attending college or university in the United States. Students in the U.S. on the F1 Visa must maintain a full-time student course load and complete their studies by the deadline listed on their I-20 Form (Certificate of Eligibility for Non-Immigrant Student Status.) Upon graduation, students can remain in the United States for up to 60 days, unless approved to study or work longer under the Optional Practical Training program. The following is what you need to know about the F1 Student Visa:

F1 Visa Qualifications

As with all visas, the Student Visa has certain requirements for eligibility. To apply for the F1 Visa, the applicant must:

  • Have a foreign residence they intend to return to
  • Study at the specific academic institution sponsoring the visa
  • Demonstrate adequate financial support for their academic studies
  • Prove strong ties to their home country through things like assets, family, or a job offer upon graduation

Prior to applying for the F1 Visa, students must be accepted into their academic program of choice. Once accepted, the college or university issues the student an I-120 Form, making them eligible for the next step – the application for a Student Visa.

The F1 Visa Application

Students seeking the F1 Visa should apply at the United States embassy or consulate in the country where they permanently reside. Student visa application procedures vary slightly from nation to nation, but generally include the following:

  • Non-refundable application fee
  • Completed online application for non-immigrant visa (DS-160)
  • Form DS-157 for males ages 16-45
  • Valid passport for travel to the United States dated at least six months past the time of the applicant’s intended stay
  • Digital photo meeting required specifications

The F1 Visa Interview

The interview is the next step in the F1 Visa application process. Applicants are asked a series of detailed questions about their academic qualifications and goals, and the ties they have in their home country that demonstrate their intention to return. Proof of the financial means to fund their studies in the United States is also required. If the consular officer approves of the applicant’s responses may have their application approved. In most cases, a visa issuance fee and fingerprints are required upon approval.

However, an issuance is not a guarantee and travel plans should never be made until a visa is officially approved. Until a final determination is made, the applicant’s passport is taken to be returned at a later date.

F1 Visa Denials

F1 Visa application denials are issued according to United States immigration law. Copies of the immigration law an applicant violated are included with the denial. Student visas are generally denied because eligibility qualifications have not been met, because there was a valid risk of the applicant not returning home, or because all of the required supporting documentation was not submitted. Fraud and misrepresentation are also reasons for denial.

Immigration Lawyers in Philadelphia Guide Clients Through the Student Visa Application Process

Whether you or a loved one has questions about beginning the F1 Visa application process, or have concerns about a denied application, the immigration lawyers in Philadelphia at Surin & Griffin P.C. can help. Now more than ever, it is important to trust your immigration matter to the firm with extensive experience working with various immigration agencies including USCIS, ICE, and CBP.

With compassion and skill, our immigration attorneys can handle all of your pressing immigration matters including visas, sponsorship, appeals, and deportation. Call 215-925-4435 or contact us online to schedule a consultation with a multilingual immigration attorney today.