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Student Visa

Generally, there are two non immigrant visa categories for students who want to study in the United States. The “F” visa is for non immigrants who want to do academic studies and/or language training programs, whereas the “M” visa is basically for non immigrants who wish to pursue nonacademic or vocational studies.

F-1 Visa :

To qualify for a F1 visa, you must be accepted by a recognized university in a full time capacity. You should also prove that you have sufficient financial support during your stay in United States. The student applying should be accepted for enrollment in a school that is SEVP certified. The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) is used for monitoring school and exchange programs and for F, M and J category visitors. SEVIS is an Internet-based system that maintains information about non-immigrant students. It is mandatory that all applicants have a SEVIS generated I-20 issued by an educational institution, which they have to submit while applying for a US student visa. In order to process your application, your I-20 will be verified through the SEVIS system.

An interview at the embassy consular section is a part of the student visa for USA process. It is required for visa applicants aged between 14 and 79, with few exceptions. The waiting time for an interview appointment for F1 visa applicants vary, so early visa application is always recommended. Normally, at the interview, a digital fingerprint scan will be taken.

As each student’s personal and academic situation will differ, students applying for same visa may be asked different questions and be required to submit different additional documents. Embassies and Consulates will issue a US student visa 120 days or less, prior to the registration date of the study course. If you apply for your visa 120 days or more before your start date or registration date as provided on the Form I-20, the Embassy or Consulate will hold your visa application until it is able to issue the visa. All students can enter the US 30 days or less prior to the date of study course mentioned in Form I-20. After you enter the US, you can stay as long as you are a full time student, even if the F1 visa in your passport expires. Issuance of visas will not be guaranteed. So it is advised not make any travel plans until a student visa for USA has been issued.

With the student visa, you will normally be admitted for the duration of your student status. It simply means that you can stay in the US as long as you are a full time student, even if your F1 visa expires while you are in the US. If you are a student who completed the course of studies shown on the I-20, and any authorized practical training, you are allowed an additional 60 days, to prepare for departure from the U.S. or to transfer to another school. Once you find a job and employer who can sponsor a H1-B visa, you can convert F1visa to H1 status and you can start working based on that H1-B visa for that employer. In case you are refused a visa, you can apply again.

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