Series: F-1 Visa Application Process (Part I)

Series: F-1 Visa Application Process (Part I)

Blog Series: F-1 Visa Application Process (Part I)

The process of applying for an F-1 visa is a long one. Many steps need to be taken, and with accuracy being of the utmost importance, it is crucial that every applicant remain steadfast throughout the process. The desire to provide a better understanding for this process has inspired the first blog series from Optimus. In the following blog series, we will help to outline the F-1 visa application process in easy to understand and direct terms in hopes that it will help to alleviate some of the stress and confusion that the process may be a source of for our students interested in traveling to the Orange County area in California from other countries to learn English.

To begin the F-1 visa process, all students must fill out an online DS-160 form. The DS-160 is filled out and submitted entirely online. In addition to helping with ease of use, the process of submitting your DS-160 form digitally is faster, more efficient, and more secure. The submission traveling directly from your personal computer to the Department of State (DOS) database means the middle man is effectively eliminated. After completely filling out the DS-160, a digital photograph is also required.

Upon completion of the DS-160, the next step is to schedule an interview. In some cases (typically based on age), interviews are not required. However, consular officers hold the authority to require an interview of any incoming student for any reason. It is the responsibility of the student to make arrangements for a visa interview at any U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the country where they live. While the choice in U.S. Embassy or Consulate location is left to the student, it is important to keep in mind that qualifying for a visa outside of your place of permanent residence can be difficult. For new students, F-1 visas may be applied for as much as 120 days prior to the time you begin study in the United States, but actual entrance into the country will not be granted until 30 days prior to the date that classes begin. In the case of a returning student, renewal may be applied for at any time (assuming student status has been upheld and SEVIS records are current), and the student can reenter the U.S. at any time as well.

Completing the first two major steps toward F-1 student visa status will put you well on your way to entering the U.S. to study English in Orange County, California. Filling out a DS-160 and arranging for an interview are only the beginning of the F-1 visa application process. Part II of the blog series will discuss how to prepare yourself for your upcoming interview, as well as the papers and documentation you should keep ready throughout the process. 


Published on August 8, 2016

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