Q.1 What is an form I-20 and how do I obtain it?
The Form I-20 is an official US Government form, issued by a certified school, which a prospective non-immigrant student must have in order to get an F-1 or M-1 visa. Form I-20 acts as proof-of-acceptance and contains the information necessary to pay the SEVIS I-901 fee, apply for a visa, or change visa status, and be admitted into the United States. The Form I-20 has the student’s SEVIS identification number, which starts with the letter N followed by 10 digits, on the top left-hand side.
Q.2 How early should I apply for my student (F1) visa?
You are encouraged to apply for your nonimmigrant student visa as soon as you have your I-20. To ensure you get an early and timely date you may apply at anytime. However, a student visa may be issued no more than 120 days prior to the start date mentioned on your I-20.
Q.3 I received my visa, when should I travel?
You may only enter the United States within 30 days of the beginning of the course of study stated on your I-20 form, regardless of when your visa was issued.
Q.4 What if I receive the I-20 form to a different school?
If you receive an I-20 form after scheduling your appointment, then you can inform the US consular officer of the new I-20 form at the time of the interview.
Q.5 I was working on an H-1B visa and have now been admitted to a university as an F-1. Do I need to return to my country to apply for a student visa?
No. Once you are in the United States, you do not need to apply for a new visa because the visa is only for entry into the United States. Check with USCIS to determine if you need to adjust the status of your existing visa. If you leave the country, however, you’ll need to apply for the student visa in order to re-enter the United States.
Q.6 What is the SEVIS system and how does it affect me?
The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) program requires schools and exchange programs to verify the enrolment status of all new and continuing foreign students and exchange visitors. Student visa applicants are required to pay a SEVIS fee before a visa can be issued. Applicants are then required to provide the SEVIS I-901 fee receipt as proof of payment. The SEVIS website has more details on this.
Q.7 Can an F-1 student work in the United States?
Full-time students on F visas may seek on-campus employment not to exceed 20 hours per week. After the first year in student status, an applicant may apply for employment off campus with authorization from USCIS.
Q.8 Can my dependents apply for a tourist visa instead of dependent visa if they only want to visit me and stay in U.S. for a short period of time?
Yes, they can apply for a Tourist visa.
Q.9 How do I read and understand my visa?
As soon as you receive your visa, check to make sure all your personal information printed on the visa is correct. If any of the information on your visa does not match the information in your passport, or is otherwise incorrect, please contact the issuing authority (i.e. the US Embassy) immediately.
The expiry date of your visa is the last day you may use the visa to enter the United States. It does not indicate how long you may stay in the United States. Your stay is determined by the Department of Homeland Security at your port of entry. As long as you comply with the Department of Homeland Security decision on the conditions of your stay, you should have no problem. Further information about interpreting your visa can be found at the Department of State’s Consular Affairs website.
Q.10 My visa will expire while I am in the United States. Is there a problem with that?
No. You may stay in the US for the period of time and conditions authorised by the Department of Homeland Security officer when you arrived in the US, which will be noted on the I-94, even if your visa expires during your stay.
Q.11 What address should I mention on Form DS-160, if my current home address and my address on the passport is not the same?
You must mention your current home address in India and not the address printed on your passport.
Q.12 What if I receive an I-20 from a better university after getting the F1 visa?
If you have obtained your visa and need to change the name of the university on your visa, you have to go through the complete process once again by scheduling a new appointment after paying the application fee and service charges.
Q.13 Is there a quota for the number of student visas issued each year?
No. All qualified students receive visas.
For detailed guidance, avail of our visa counselling services by attending our Visa workshop webinar on 27th February at 9:00 am.
If you are not already an Admission Counselling student at the academy, register for the webinar here: https://rzp.io/l/YoS0BjR3
Once you pay and enroll, you will receive the zoom registration link shortly.