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F1 Student Visa Application Guide: Everything You Need to Know for 2024/25 Intake

F1 Student Visa Application Guide: Everything You Need to Know for 2024/25 Intake

The American dreams of students can be fulfilled once they get F-1 student visas. It's a non-immigrant visa issued for the convenience of international students. Under the Student Exchange and Visitor Program (SEVP), any student over 16 years of age can attain a full-time education in the USA with legal permission and have a proper duration of status under the academic session.

Usually, students have around 60 months of visa grant from the start of their course, and they can complete their academics with a post-study work permit for up to 2 years without being worried about visa renewals. Many US institutions are international hubs for participating in world-class learning and research projects.

How do I apply for an F1 student visa for the 2024/25 intake in the USA?

To begin with the F1 visa application process, first things first, you need to consult a reputed education consultant or website, which can guide you through researching the USA visa policies and the universities in which you potentially prefer to study.

1. Research and Shortlist Universities

There are many scholarships provided to international students for academic sessions in 2024–2025. You can shortlist some of the top universities, which are ranked globally for academic courses. Once you shortlist one that resembles your academic needs and budget, you can further proceed to meet your academic requirements for enrolling in your desired academic course.

2. Preparation classes

Preparation classes are equally important for you to be able to be eligible for an F-1 student visa. You may need to submit necessary tests like Duolingo, IELTS, TOEFL, SAT, ACT, GMAT, and GRE based on what your shortlisted university accepts.

3. Apply to University

The next step, after you get a good test score, is documenting your application according to the requirements of the shortlisted university. You need to get an offer letter from the SEVP-certified school and educational institutions to proceed with your F-1 student visa.

4. Await Admission Decision

You can get an offer letter if you qualify for the academic program at the university or college you are applying to. You need a week or two; sometimes within a few days, you can get an admission decision from the university, wait, and accept the offer.

5. Apply for visas and Finance studies

Once you attain acceptance for your I-20 form, you are eligible. Then, you can get permission to attend an interview round to study on US premises under the F-1 visa.

Now, you have work remaining on your part to demonstrate sufficient financial resources to study in the US. For that, you can get sponsors, student loans, financial agreements, and even scholarships, which increase the chance of your visa being accepted in the USA.

6. Prepare for Interview

You can schedule a visa interview online once you fill out the I-20 form and are accepted by a U.S. embassy or consulate in your home country. If you meet all the requirements, then you qualify for the visa interview, whose result will determine your future study plans in the USA.

7. Departure

Book your air ticket on student discounts and make arrangements for departure for a USA visa. In advance, you can also take advantage of pre-departure services from your consultancy, like accommodation help, pre-departure briefings, orientations, and many more.

Requirements and Fees for F-1 student visa

To qualify for an F-1 student visa, students need to meet the key criteria. Applicants need acceptance from a SEVP-approved school to proceed with other visa requirements.

The application fee for a U.S. student visa is $185 (approximately Nrs 24,700), which is a SEVIS fee you need to attach to your visa application. Applicants between the ages of 16 and 79 can attend a visa interview for a student visa, while people of any other age are considered to be a special case scenario.

F1 Visa Application Submission Window

The F1 visa application is submitted within the window of the DS-160 form ( Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application Form). Students applying for fall intake in 2024 can apply up to August and usually, the winter term visa deadline is around mid-October. Constantly check for visa submission deadlines online, and you can fill out simple steps to correctly apply for an F-1 visa.

You need a valid non-immigrant intent and evidence from your country to depart the US upon finishing your academic course. A valid passport, an adequate English proficiency test, a letter of acceptance form (I-20 ), and additional academic transcripts and financial statements.

One also needs a letter of recommendation, a resume, and an academic essay to be admitted to the US Admissions Council.

How do I prepare for an F-1 student visa interview?

There are certain dos and don'ts criteria to be selected in a USA visa interview. You need to understand the whole F-1 student visa application process. Also, you need to revise the admission essay, or SOP, that you have submitted with the university courses you have applied for.

Take note of how the university accepted and declined your applications if the interview council asks for them. Keep your answers more clear and concise to make a good initial impression on your interviewer.

Share your intentions for what your career aspirations are clearly and be composed for your interview. Make sure you do not appear overconfident or nervous at your interview. If your answers sound credible and authentic and you have a correct English accent, then only a chance of you being selected for an interview is possible; hence, prepare accordingly. Also, dress formally and in light-colored clothes to look professional.

Besides, you need to prepare yourself to talk about health care and insurance while in the US, as they could raise doubt about the validity of your application. Make sure you also arrive early for the interview.

What should you do if your US F-1 study visa is delayed?

Student visas can be either accepted, pending (delayed), or denied. Your visa application might be under review if it's getting delayed, and until you get a visa decision, there's no need to panic. Some of the common reasons your visa decision is delayed more than expected are,

  • Security checks of your personal information
  • Embassy or Consulate delays, including emergency outbreaks
  • High U.S. student visa application volumes

In case your F-1 visa decision is delayed, you first need to contact the education institution you applied for. Communicate reasons why you may not arrive in the US before the start of your classes, and if possible, take a leave of absence or seek re-admission in the next semester, according to their convenience, as unforeseen delays in your arrival in the USA occurred.

Even if you get a denial notification of your visa, it can be because some of the documents could have been incomplete or require administrative processing. In some cases, you can reapply for an F-1 student visa. Following the Bureau of Consular Affairs, you can check the page addressing visa delays and denials.

Key Benefits of F-1 student visa

F-1 student visa provides a duration of status for international students and it benefits them in many ways. Let's check out the perks of a student visa in the USA, besides a legal stay.

1. Part-time Work

F-1 visa holders, under their visa terms and conditions, are granted the freedom to work for up to 20 hours a week. It is taken as a part-time job for international students in case they want to fund their lifestyle in the USA. A good part is that students take academic breaks and get an extra 20 hours a week, making it 40 eligible working hours to work in breaks.

2. Bring spouse and children

If F-1 visa holders want to bring their spouse or children under the age of 21, then they can apply to the U.S. on F-2 dependent visas. And this facility is only provided post graduation.

3. Optional Practical Training Facility

If your F-1 student visa is approved, then you will gain practical work experience relevant to your field of study. OPT can be utilized in two main ways,

i) Pre-completion OPT

It allows students to work part-time and full-time on their breaks and during academic sessions. Under this facility, interested students can register for employment related to their field of study, which need not necessarily be paired with their internship program.

ii) Post-completion OPT

Post-completion OPT is granted to F-1 nonimmigrant visa status students who are graduating and then are eligible to work under an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). If they meet specific eligibility criteria, they can gain valuable practical work experience and train in the US workforce.


In this blog, we have painted a comprehensive picture of the USA visa application process for international students, their post-study work rights, and even what they can do to secure a visa to study on US premises. But before all, make sure you shortlist and consult an expert in this field to help you take a good academic and career path abroad, without bias.

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