How to get a F-1 Student Visa for the US…

15 Aug

I had to apply for a F-1 Student Visa for the second time now, and I would consider myself as a expert by default. I have learned how to get the whole paper junk ready within 2 days and I feel inclined to share my experience, because I truly think that studying in the U.S. has made me who I am today.

Here is a “short” checklist of things you need to have put together before going to the U.S embassy:

  • I-20 (This is basically the official letter that will be send to you by the University once they accepted you)
  • I-901 receipt, also called Sevis fee. You need to pay this fee online and bring proof of payment (receipts) to the embassy.
  • DS-156, has to be filled out online and printed out. Make sure the bar code on the last page looks something like this.Good Bar Code If it doesn’t they will send you out and will have you redo the form, print it out again until it looks right. (This happened to me, please learn from my mistake! Mine looked something like this: Bad Bar Code)
  • DS-157, can be found here, and has to be filled out electronically through Adobe Acrobat Reader or a similar program.
  • DS-158, can also be found here, fill it out electronically print it out and bring it with you.
  • A 5cmx5cm picture that fits the U.S. restrictions. You can find the restrictions here. (I would bring two pictures.)
  • Then you also need 3 months worth of bank statements. Be sure that the statements cover the amount that is stated on the I-20. If you are not paying for tuition and expenses yourself, be sure to include a letter from your sponsor with the last three bank statements.
  • Pay 140 US$ in Visa fees and bring proof of payment. (157.20 CHF in Switzerland)
  • Write a letter that states that you will be coming back after you are done with your stay. I included possible job offers, ties to friends and family as well as my membership with various clubs that will keep me from staying in the U.S.
  • Include a letter that is addressed to yourself and include sufficient postage. (5 CHF in Switzerland)
  • Bring your valid passport.

Once you have all those things ready or you are only missing a couple pieces, but you are confident you will get them in a conceivable amount of time, call the visa information center at 0900-87-8472 (for Swiss people). You can find your countries number here.

A few more tipps:

  • Be on time when you go to the embassy, there is usually a big line of people that is there for the same reason as you.
  • Be friendly with the people handling your paperwork. They only do what the U.S. Government asks them to do. It is not their fault that you have to go through all the hassle.
  • Talk to the people around you, it will take some of your nervousness away and you will get to know some really interesting people.
  • Bring a book, a newspaper, crossword puzzles, etc. I had to wait for 2 hours in the waiting room.

Good luck!

Disclaimer: The checklist is only a guideline. Be sure to check your country’s website for changes in policy.

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One Response to “How to get a F-1 Student Visa for the US…”

  1. Paul Sunday, July 31, 2011 at 6:19 am #

    Will my B1 visa cancelled if F1 visa is rejected?

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