Step 3 – Complete the F-1 Visa Application Form

When to apply for your Student Visa?

You can apply no more than 120 days before the program start date listed on your Form I-20.

To qualify for an F-1 Visa, strict requirements must be followed. These include:

  • Residence in a Foreign County
  • Complete and correct Form I-20 from the institution you have been accepted to
  • Demonstrate sufficient funds to pay for both your program tuition/fees and living expenses while in the US
  • Demonstrate strong connections to your home country (family, assets such as property or investments, bank accounts, etc) and demonstrate that you intend to return to your home following the completion of your academic program

To find the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your country and for more detailed instructions go to Applicants may be able to apply through a U.S. Consular office outside their home county; however, it is usually more difficult to apply for the visa outside your home country.

You will apply for you non-immigrant visa at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your country.

The student visas page on provides instructions at the website of the embassy or consulate where you will apply for a visa.

Items to Provide with Your Application

The various U.S. Embassies or Consulates each have varying processes and may have additional steps required to apply for your F-1 Student Visa. You must submit the following:

  1. Passport to travel to the United States —must be valid for 6 months BEYOND your authorized period of stay in the US
  2. Form I-20 Certificate of Eligibility from the US academic institution you plan to attend
  3. Letter of Admission from the School which issued the Form I-20
  4. Receipt for payment of $200 SEVIS Fee
  5. Current financial support documents showing proof of sufficient funds to meet expenses for the duration of your program as listed on your Form I-20 (i.e. bank statements).This includes tax documents, bank books or bank statements and proof of liquid assets which are available for funding the student’s education and expenses.
  6. Pay the Non-refundable Application Fee of US $160 – This fee is in addition to the SEVIS I-90 Fee of US $200. If the Visa is not approved, no money will be given back to you. Note: If you pay the fee online, bring the receipt showing payment of the US $160; otherwise bring a MRC (Machine Readable Card) to pay the Application Fee of US $160.
  7. Complete and Submit your Online Application for Nonimmigrant Visa – Form DS-160. NOTE: Print a copy including the confirmation bar code and bring this with you to your interview.
  8. A passport photo: a) If you are applying using the online form, the form will instruct you to upload your digital image as part of completing the online visa application form. Review the Digital Image Requirements, which also provide additional requirements if you are scanning an existing photo. b) If you are bringing a photo with you, it should be in color, head size of 1 inch to 1 3/8 inches (22 mm to 35 mm) which is 50 – 69% of the total image from top of head to bottom of chin., taken to reflect current appearance (last 6 months), in front of a plain white or off-white background, full-face facing the camera, no facial expression, both eyes open and clothing you wear on a daily basis. c) Some embassies and consulates require visa applicants to bring one (1) photo, which meets requirements, to the interview. Review the embassy or consulate instructions where you will apply to learn more.
  9. You may be asked to provide academic transcripts, test scores (TOEFL, SAT, GRE, GMAT, etc.), proof that you will leave the U.S. upon completion of your studies