Before you receive your F-1 Student Visa:

In order to study in the United States, you must first receive an F-1 Student Visa. If you have not first registered for the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), you must complete that prior to applying for your F-1 Visa. Once you have done that and paid your SEVIS fee, you are ready to apply for your Student Visa. You will need the following:

U.S. embassies or consulates in certain countries may have additional document requirements.  After you have the required documents, present them to a U.S. embassy or consulate to receive your F-1 student visa.

To receive a student visa, you will also need to show:

  1. Your plan is to study at Avila University.
  2. You are connected to your home country and will return there after completing your degree.

Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application, Form DS-160 – Learn more about completing the DS-160. You must: 1) complete the online visa application, and 2) print the application form confirmation page to bring to your interview.

Photo –You will upload your photo while completing the online Form DS-160. Your photo must be in the format explained in the Photograph Requirements.

You should schedule an appointment for your visa interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the country where you live. You may schedule your interview at another U.S. Embassy or Consulate, but be aware that it may be more difficult to qualify for a visa outside of the country where you live.

Wait times for interview appointments vary by location, season, and visa category, so you should apply for your visa early. Review the interview wait time for the location where you will apply here:

New students: Student (F and M) visas for new students can be issued up to 365 days in advance of the start date for a course of study.  However, you will not be allowed to enter the United States on your student visa more than 30 days before the start date.

Continuing Students – Student (F and M) visas for continuing students may be issued at any time, as long as the student is currently enrolled at a SEVP-approved school or institution and in SEVIS.  Continuing students may enter the United States at any time before classes start.

To be fully prepared for your interview, you also need to pay your fees. The application fee is $185. This fee is non-refundable. If your visa is approved, you will also need to pay a visa insurance fee which is based on your nationality.

You will need:

    • Your passport (your passport must be valid for at least six months beyond your period of stay in the U.S.)

    • Form DS-160 application. Check a U.S. embassy/consulate for information.

    • A bank statement showing you have sufficient funds to attend Avila University.

A consular officer will interview you to determine your qualifications for a student visa, and may request additional documents, such as evidence of:

  • Your academic preparation, such as:
    • Transcripts, diplomas, degrees, or certificates from schools you attended; and
    • Standardized test scores required by your U.S. school;
  • Your intent to depart the United States upon completion of the course of study; and
  • How you will pay all educational, living and travel costs.

Review the instructions for how to apply for a visa on the website of the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you will apply.

A consular officer will interview you to determine whether you are qualified to receive a student visa. You must establish that you meet the requirements under U.S. law to receive a visa.

Ink-free, digital fingerprint scans are taken as part of the application process. They are usually taken during your interview, but this varies based on location.

After your visa interview, the consular officer may determine that your application requires further administrative processing.  The consular officer will inform you if this is required.

After the visa is approved, you may need to pay a visa issuance fee (if applicable to your nationality), and make arrangements for the return of the passport and visa to you.  Review the visa processing times to learn more.

After you receive your F-1 Student Visa:

  • Notify Avila University so we can prepare for your arrival.
  • Complete Avila’s Housing form and housing preference questionnaire to reserve a place in a dormitory or residence hall.
  • Remember that you can only enter the U.S. 30 days or less before the start date on your I-20.

The Basics of an F-1 Student Visa

Are you thinking about studying in the United States? If so, you’ll need to apply for an F-1 student visa. The F-1 student visa is a nonimmigrant visa that allows foreign students to study at an approved college, university, or other academic institution in the United States.

What is an F-1 Student Visa?

An F-1 student visa is issued by the US Department of State and allows foreign citizens to enter and stay in the United States as long as they remain enrolled in their educational program. It also grants permission for part-time work related to your field of study. An F-1 student visa does not allow for permanent residence or employment outside your field of study.

Applicants must show that they have enough financial resources available to cover their tuition and living expenses while attending school in the United States and must maintain good academic standing throughout their studies. Additionally, applicants must prove that they are planning on returning to their home country upon completing their studies.

Why Do You Need One?

The purpose of an F-1 student visa is twofold: First, it allows foreign students to gain knowledge and skills from accredited US schools; second, it ensures that students respect US immigration laws and regulations during their stay by only engaging in activities allowed under the terms of their visas. Without this visa, you will not be able to attend classes at your school or participate in any other activities related to your educational program. Furthermore, without an F-1 visa, it is unlikely that you will be allowed into the country in the first place; many airlines do not allow passengers without proper documentation to board their flights. Without proof of a valid student visa, potential students will not be able to obtain admission into a US-accredited institution, nor will they be able to legally work or reside within the country while enrolled as a student.

The bottom line is that if you want to pursue higher education at a US university or college, you’ll need an F-1 student visa—no exceptions! It’s important that prospective international students understand all aspects of applying for and obtaining an F-1 student visa before beginning their journey toward higher education in the United States. With proper preparation and understanding, obtaining your F-1 student visa should be relatively straightforward!

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