1) What is the procedures for applying for an F-1 Student Visa?
A) In order to apply for an F-1 student visa, you must first have a SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System)-generated I-20 form issued by a U.S. college or university you have decided to attend. The U.S. academic institution will provide you with the I-20 form only when you have been academically admitted to the institution and have been able to provide evidence of your ability to financially support yourself while a student.Once you have all the required documentation, you may apply for the visa, even if you do not intend to begin your program of study for several months. You will need to make an appointment for your visa interview at the U.S. Embassy/Consulate in India that is closest to your home; you can do this up to 120 days before the start date listed on your I-20 form. It is best to apply early for the visa to make sure that there is sufficient time for processing.
Among the things you'll need to do before the interview is
1) Pay the SEVIS Fee, which can be done online or by mail and is currently USD $100;
2) Pay the visa processing fee (the procedure will differ from one U.S. Embassy/Consulate to another, so visit the website of the U.S. Embassy in your country. You should also make sure you have all the documentation you will need when you go for the interview, including the I-20 form, official financial support documents, proof of payment of the SEVIS and visa fees, and completed visa application form(s). Ensure that you complete the visa application correctly by following the website procedures carefully.
2) What are the financial requirements for obtaining an F-1 Student visa?
A) You must demonstrate that you have adequate financial support for at least one academic year, including the cost of tuition, fees, and living expenses. Your college or university will tell you the amount that is required. When you go for visa interview, in addition to the I-20 and other forms, you will need to show evidence of support which may include an official letter from the school with a scholarship offer, an official approved loan statement, or official bank statements showing the funds available. Also acceptable is an original letter from a sponsor (such as a parent or employer) that shows the amount of the support. Anticipated earnings from employment during school may not be used as evidence.
A) Yes, you may work on-campus on F-1 visa, provided it is part-time and less than 20 hours a week during the academic year. (During the summer and vacation periods, you are able to work up to 40 hours a week, or full-time.) However, you may not work off-campus legally without approval from your international student advisor or during the first academic year.
A)Curricular Practical Training or CPT is an optional employment opportunity available to F-1 students where the training is considered to be an integral part of the curriculum or academic program. According to the immigration regulations, this employment may be an internship, cooperative education job, a practicum, or any other work experience that is either required for your degree or for which academic credit is awarded. In order to begin working on the CPT program, you must get permission from the international student advisor on your campus and often from your academic advisor as well. During the academic year, you are restricted to 20 hours a week or fewer, and during the summer and vacation periods, you can work up to 40 hours a week.
5) Iam going to the US on an F-1 visa to study. I have been granted a scholarship by the university. I have learned that the scholarship will not cover all of my expenses. Can I work in the U.S. to supplement the scholarship?
A)Yes, you can work but only on campus during the first year of study, and only for 20 hours a week or fewer. After your first year of study, you can apply for authorization to work off campus through the Curricular Practical Training or CPT program. (See above.)
6) I am a student in the U.S. and I lost my passport with my student visa stamp. What should I do?
A)Unfortunately you will have to apply for a new passport and visa. Passports, visas, and arrival-departure records (Form I-94; the white card that is stapled to your passport) are official travel documents that all non-U.S. citizens must have in their possession to show their country of citizenship and legal status in the U.S. We encourage students to make a copy of their passport biographic page, their U.S. visa and their Form I-94 as soon as possible after their arrival in the U.S. and put it in a safe place. Often the International Office at your college or university will also keep a copy on file for you. There are a number of steps you need to take, as follows:
--Get a Police Report
Go to a local police station and report your document(s) lost. If available, you will need to provide copies of the original documents. You will be issued a police report detailing the incident. Don't forget to make an extra copy of the report for your own records.
--Report your lost Passport to Your Embassy and apply for a new passport
Contact the local Indian Consulate for information on the procedure to replace a lost passport; you can do this from the U.S. and often by mail.
--Report your lost Visa to the U.S. Embassy Abroad
Fax the Consular Section at the Embassy in India that issued your visa, to report it lost.
Go to the Embassy Consular Section Website to locate the Fax number and contact information.
Specifically state whether the visa was lost or stolen. Be sure to include your full name, date of birth, place of birth, address in the U.S., and an email address. If you have a copy of the passport or visa, fax this to the Embassy or consular section.
Otherwise, if known, report the category of visa, and the passport number. If you have already reported your visa lost to the U.S. Embassy abroad, and then you later find your misplaced visa, please note that the visas will be invalid for future travel to the U.S, and you must apply in person for a new visa when you next return to India.
--Apply for a Replacement United States Visa
Lost U.S. visas cannot be replaced in the United States. When you return to India next, you must apply in person at the U.S. Embassy. When applying for the replacement of a visa, you will need to provide a written account documenting the loss of your passport and visa. Include a copy of the police report.
7) I have completed my BE (Computer Science) from Jntu and I have been issued an F-1 visa to pursue Master of Sciences at the University of Texas for the Fall term. Due to an unavoidable reason, I could not confirm my admission for this term. Now I plan to attend UTD for Spring with the same visa that was issued three months back. Will the INS at the port of entry allow me to enter the U.S.? I contacted the U.S. Embassy at Chennai and the officers advised me get an updated I-20 form from the university before leaving India. Please tell me the measures I need to take to avoid denial of entry or any other problems.
A)To be sure that you have no troubles, you will need to contact your university and ask them to issue and send you a new I-20 form, with your new spring term start date.
8) I am working in the U.S. on an L-1 visa. I have secured admission to an MBA program and need to convert to an F-1 student visa. What is the process? Can I get an F-1 visa while in the U.S.? I have adequate proof of funding.
A) If you would like to be a student, you have two options: 1) you can apply while still in the U.S. for a change of status to an F-1 student visa, or 2) you can depart the U.S., and apply for the F-1 student visa back in India. If you intend to stay in the U.S., you will need to file the Application to Change Nonimmigrant Status, using the Form I-539. The cost is USD$ 300.00 and processing can take between one-four months, so be sure to plan ahead as you will not be able to begin going to school until your application has been approved. Once you have been approved, if you plan to leave the U.S. at any time, you will need to return to India and get your passport stamped with the new F-1 visa, before you return to the U.S. to continue your studies.
9) I have been to US already on H4 visa when i was married to an H-1 visa holder. Now that i am seperated from my spouse, I would like to study in U.S. myself and have been accepted at College. At present, I am in India. Can I apply for an F-1 visa now?
A) Yes, There is no connection between your old H-4 visa and your new F-1 visa, but do note that if you have changed your name after the marital separation, you will need to apply for a new passport before you apply for the new F-1 visa.
10) What should I do if I fall out of status on my F-1 Student Visa?
A) It is your responsibility to comply with all immigration regulations that apply to non-immigrant students while you are in the U.S. If you violate the terms of your visa status, you must be "reinstated" to F-1 student status and this process can be risky for many reasons as you may not be able to continue your studies in the U.S. In addition, it is very expensive to apply for reinstatement, or to return to your country to get a new visa.
If you fall out of status on your F-1 visa, you have two options:
1) Regaining status through departure from the U.S. and applying for a new visa in your home country, then re-entering using a new Form I-20 (with a new SEVIS ID number) from your university.
2) Applying for reinstatement while you are still in the U.S. Do note that there are risks to both options. It is recommended to only apply for reinstatement if you can prove the following:
1)You have not been out of status for more than five months.
2)The status violation was beyond your control.
3)You do not have a record of repeated violations.
4)You are pursuing a full-time course of study.
5)You have not worked illegally.
6)You are not deportable on any grounds other than those for which reinstatement is being requested.