Applying for Your US Student Visa: Essential FAQs Answered!

There are two categories of student visas: F1 and M1. The M1 visa is given for non-academic or vocational education for a duration of less than a year, and it includes fields such as gemology, aviation etc. F1 visa is given for a full-time program leading to a degree such as a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree, which lasts at least one year. In this blog, we will discuss about the F1 visa. Below are a few important and frequently asked questions.

a) Where can you apply for an F1 visa?

Before COVID-19, applicants could only apply for appointments at the consulate closer to their residence. For example, applicants residing in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Goa, Madhya Pradesh, and Chhattisgarh could only apply to the US Consulate – Mumbai.

But now, there is no such restriction. You are allowed to apply to any Consulate where the appointment dates are available. Sometimes, you may get an appointment for OFC at one consulate and a visa interview at another.

The current visa application fee is $185, payable in INR 15540/-.

b) When will appointments for F1 visas begin for Fall 2024 applicants?

Applicants can apply for an F1 visa within 365 days of the course’s start date mentioned on the I-20. In other words, to ensure you get an early and timely date, you may apply for a visa as soon as you receive an I-20 from any university. Every year, the US consulate tries to accommodate all the students intending to apply for an F1 visa. However, since the number of students applying for visas is quite large, it becomes difficult to get an interview date if they apply in July or August. Therefore, it is advisable that students apply for the interview date as soon as they receive the I-20 from any university.  

Later, if you receive an I-20 from the desired university, you can fill out a new DS-160 mentioning the name of the new university. You must bring the original DS-160 confirmation page you have used to schedule your appointment AND the corrected DS-160 confirmation page to the consulate or document drop-off location on the day of your appointment. If you are unable to bring your original DS-160 confirmation page and your corrected DS-160 confirmation page, you must cancel and reschedule your appointment by entering your corrected DS-160 application number.

Still figuring out which universities to apply to and their deadlines? Here’s a Complete Guide to Fall 2024 MS Program Application Deadlines

c) What is an I-20 form 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 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 and be admitted into the United States. 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.

The Student and Exchange Visitor Information Service (SEVIS) has been introduced by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (IMS) for students. Before appearing for an F1 visa interview at the consulate, you need to pay SEVIS charges of US $350.

d) If my visa was rejected the first time, can I reapply for it?

Students are allowed to reapply as many as they want.

e) What is the Dropbox facility (Interview Waiver)?

With effect from 1st January 2024, if you have any other valid US visa except a B1/B2 Visa, then you are eligible for a visa through Dropbox, which is nothing but a visa interview waiver that allows eligible individuals to obtain a visa without a face-to-face interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Instead, these applicants can submit the required documentation at a designated Dropbox location.

To become eligible for the Dropbox facility,

  • The visa has to be issued after 1st January 2008
  • The visa should be issued after your 14th birthday.

If your visa has already expired, you can avail of the Dropbox facility, provided your visa expired not more than 4 years ago.

f) How long will it take to receive my passport if I apply for the F1 visa through Dropbox?

You are likely to receive your passport within 7 working days.

g) How to book an F1 Visa appointment?

  • Fill up the D-160 form
  • Create a profile on www.ustraveldocs.com
  • Choose the schedule appointment option and select visa type (Non-immigrant)
  • Follow all the instructions given on the website

Ready to take the next step towards your US academic journey? Contact us today to explore our exclusive USA visa counseling services. Our Services consist of the following:

  1. webinar providing detailed information about the Visa process and guidelines
  2. help with the preparation of financial documents
  3. one-on-one appointment with Mr. Dilip Oak for a mock visa interview.

You are also eligible to attend the pre-departure orientation program organized in June.

To enroll, call us at 020-67444222 or email us at support@dilipoakacademy.com.

F1 Visa: Basics and application process

The United States administration offers a variety of non-immigrant visas for foreign nationals. For instance, the United States issues B-1/B-2 visa to visitors and businessmen, and H-1B visas to those who have been granted permission to work in the country. An M-1 visa is issued to students enrolling in short-term vocational programs like flight schools, language institutes, etc. However, students going to an accredited university for a full-time academic program, require an F-1 visa stamp.

Currently, student visas are being processed faster than other types. Those who already hold a B1/B2 visa can obtain a visa by appearing for VFS appointment and by submitting their application via drop box. In other words, they get an interview exemption.
Students are allowed to apply for the F-1 visa 365 days before the start date of the program mentioned on their I-20 form. The I-20 form is an official document issued by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The following important details are mentioned in the document:

  • the name as printed on the passport of the student
  • the name of the university which the student is joining
  • the program to which the student has been admitted
  • the date of commencement of the program
  • the date by which the program has to be completed
  • the total cost of education for one year.

The fall 2023 semester generally begins in the third week of August. So, if you plan to attend an American university this fall, you can begin applying for your visa now.

How to Apply for an F1 Visa?

  • Get your I-20 from the SEVP institution
  • Apply online by filling the DS-160 form
  • Pay the general visa application fee ($160)
  • Pay the SEVIS fee ($350)
  • Schedule your OFC appointment followed by F1 visa interview date
  • Attend the F1 visa interview on the scheduled date

Keep in mind that you should have adequate liquid funds to cover the total cost of one year of education – this is mentioned in the I-20 form. Many students are under the wrong impression that their sponsor needs to deposit this entire amount in the bank and that otherwise their visa can be rejected. Contrary to popular belief, this is not the case. Bank deposits (savings, fixed deposits) and other liquid assets like shares, mutual funds, Public provident fund and employee provident fund etc. education loans are all acceptable forms to prove financial capability. The following are additional points are also taken into consideration by the consulate officer:

  • Accreditation and reputation of the university to which you have been admitted (this shouldn’t be an issue if you go through Dilip Oak’s academy; we only recommend accredited universities)
  • your academic background is good along with a satisfactory GRE score
  • Annual income and financial stability of your sponsor
  • Your communication skills along with your ability to give convincing and honest answers to the consulate officer’s questions

If your Visa Application gets rejected in the first attempt, you can apply again. You have to go through the same process again, except the SEVIS fee.
Start preparing your financial documents now and apply for an F-1 visa as soon as you get your I-20 form from the university you desire to attend. 

At Dilip Oak’s Academy, we provide detailed guidance on these processes under our Admission Counseling Services  that include, selection of universities, documentation process and visa counselling along with mock visa interviews. As India’s leading Study Abroad Consultants, we have helped more than 30,000 students to secure their dream-admits for various universities in America including MIT, Stanford, Cornell, Carnegie Mellon and other top-ranked universities.
We also offer GRE, TOEFL, and IELTS coaching, GRE Self Prep and guide students with university selection, application essays, and visa counseling under our Admission Counseling Services for USA, Germany and UK. To enroll, call us on 91-020-67444222, 91-8007878495.

FAQs on F1 Visa appointments for Fall 2022

To help you get a fair idea of the current scenario regarding the F1 visa appointments, below are a few important and frequently asked questions and their responses as per the recent update from the US Embassy.

1) When will appointments for F1 visas begin for fall 2022 applicants?

F1 appointments for fresh applicants will most probably start from 17th May. Initially, they will open appointments till the end of June. This year, they will accommodate all the students intending to apply for an F1 visa for fall 2022. Therefore, students are requested to not panic and apply for the interview date only after they receive the I-20 from the desired university.  Also, we suggest that you take the visa appointment in Mumbai rather than in Delhi or Chennai.

2) If my visa was rejected the first time, when can I apply for the interview next?

They will most probably give a second chance to rejected applicants between 15th August to 1st September.

3) If I have any other US visa (B1/B2/H1/H4/L1/L2) which has expired, can I still get a drop box facility for an F1 visa?

Yes, you can, provided your visa expired not more than 4 years ago.

4) If I apply for the F1 visa through drop box, how long will it take to receive my passport?

You are likely to receive your passport within 7 working days.

5) Can I make changes to the already submitted DS-160?

Yes, you can make all the necessary corrections including the name of the university.

6) Do I need to show the same financial documents for the visa interview which I submitted during the application process?

 No, your documents cannot be the same. For visa interview, you mainly need to carry the latest documents including bank statement, fixed deposit receipts, loan sanction letter etc.

7) What are the vaccination requirements before landing in America?

As per the CDC regulation, you need to be double vaccinated and you are required to take the RT-PCR 24 hours before boarding the flight.

For further guidance related to :

  • filling the DS-160 form
  • payment of visa fees
  • scheduling/changing visa appointments
  • document verification

You can enroll for our visa counseling services and also avail of a mock visa interview appointment with Mr. Dilip Oak. To enroll, call us on 020-67444222 or email us at support@dilipoakacademy.com.

F1 visa interviews to begin mid-May

Most of you have received admits from the universities and are now in the crucial phase of visa application. Here is a quick look at the visa process, chronologically.

According to the recent update from the US Embassy in Delhi, visa interviews for students will begin in mid-May.

However, the embassy has also stated that Indian applicants are unlikely to get a second or third chance if the visa is not approved in the first interview. You are therefore requested to keep checking the website for visa dates and thoroughly prepare for the visa interview.

If thorough guidance related to :

  • filling the DS-160 form
  • payment of visa fees or
  • scheduling/changing visa appointments
  • document verification

you can also enroll for our visa counselling services and along with the above mentioned services, also avail of mock visa interview appointment with Mr. Dilip Oak. To enroll, call us on 020-67444222 or email us at support@dilipoakacademy.com.

US Student visa update 

Most of you have received admits from the universities and are now in the crucial phase of visa application. Here is a quick look at the visa process, chronologically.

  1. filling the DS-160 form
  2. paying the visa fees
  3. scheduling appointments for:
    a) submitting biometric data and documents at the Offsite Facilitation Centre and
    b) the Visa Interview

At the moment, many students are not able to get visa appointments and are confused as to how to proceed further. According to the recent update, the US Consulate has declared that students who have been previously issued any kind of US visa (B1/B2/L1/L2/H1-B/H4) can avail of the dropbox facility to expedite the process. 
The student has to login into his/her account on www.ustraveldocs.com, and answer a few questions to be eligible to avail of the dropbox facility. Following this, the student can directly book the OFC appointment. If the appointment goes well, the student will be directly issued the F1 visa within a week. 

If you have any queries related to:

  • filling the DS-160 form
  • payment of visa fees or
  • scheduling/changing visa appointments

these can be made at:

You can also contact us at the academy for any visa-related guidance and attend our LIVE visa workshop (webinar) by Mr.Dilip Oak on 17th April, 9 am to get in-depth assistance on the visa process. Register here: https://rzp.io/l/YoS0BjR3