Let’s begin to understand the F1 visa for

International Students Studying in the USA.

  • How Long You Can  Stay  
  • Working
  • What You Can Study  
  • Travel  
  • Changing Schools
  • Changing Majors
  • Forms
  • F1 Interview

F1 Visas are really great!  You can study and live in the USA and even work temporary jobs and get professional training at companies related to your major.  If you start in high school, you may be able to stay and study until you finish your PhD.  

Remember to work with your school or university on everything because you will need their permission and cooperation to make life easier if you want to make changes in your major, transfer schools, or work.  

F1` Visa Students can travel around the USA as they have time and can afford.  Students can leave the country to visit home without immigration problems.  If you have time and money, the US is beautiful and interesting.

 There are ways and programs called OPT and CPT that will allow you to work in your field during and after college.  These will be arranged through your school.  

Here are addition resources to help you with your F1 Visa and F1 Visa Interview:

Mock Interview

Strong Ties: Will You Return Home 

Info and Video on F1 Visa Questions

Visa Denial, 214(b) Rejection Info

The Best F1 Visa Evaluation

USA Government Site:  Student Exchange SEVP

USA Government Site Studying and Working USCIS

Many students are afraid of the application process.  Applications, affidavits, I-901, SEVP, SEVIS, I-20, DS-160, ....It can be overwhelming!  

The most important thing you must understand is that the school must file the I-901 and work with SEVP so you don't have to do anything.  Well, actually you have to pay $200 as of 2016.  But no paperwork.  The school is responsible.  At this point you have your I-20!  

The DS-160 is basic information and often the school will help with that also.  

Maybe you have a service working for you and you don't have to worry outside of paying the high price.  

Whatever you do, don't worry about the paperwork it is all straight forward and lots of help.  

The only thing you should worry about is the F1 Visa Interview.

There is not supposed to be any limit to the number of F1 Visas the USA Government Issues.  They are however very strict on who they give a visa to.  Students must have good paperwork, be good students, and have a good interview.  

This seems easy enough because they tell you what you need to do to pass.  `

Even though the information is clear, many, many students fail the F1 Interview.

 I believe there are some very difficult to overcome reasons for so many failures.  

The main reason is that students often rely on services to do everything and are not prepared.    

Another reason is that students listen to bad advice.  They don't learn what the Embassy wants to know, they try and memorize what someone tells them to say to the Embassy.  214(b) Rejection   

Students think because they paid a service a lot of money they will help them pass the interview.  In reality the services I know work very hard.  But, they don't all understand the interview. They are very good at the paperwork.

 In reality, at the interview, there will be only you.   You'll have to do everything yourself there for 2-5 minutes which will decide your future.   Talk about pressure!    

This is difficult when the service has done everything for your so far, now it is 100% up to you, and now you have to be perfect on your own.

can transfer during their studying
f1 interview day video thumbnail

Basic F1 Visa Application Process

F1 Students are not usually well informed ab out the process because many use a service or relatives or friends in the USA help them apply.  This is easy but in my opinion not a good idea.  Sure get the help, but also be informed.  I often hire people and services to work for me or help me, however I try to be informed and know a lot about what I am doing.  Unfortunately, not every service or individual knows what to do and how to do it the best way.

 Let me explain briefly the process and clarify some of the forms.  

When you choose a school or schools to apply to you can apply directly or through a great site Common Application.   Common Application is a very well respected and accepted way to apply to schools in the USA.   a student or service can apply to almost all schools using one form.  Students will still need to pay the application fee for the individual schools, but not for the use of common application.

 After you are accepted to schools they must inform the USA Government about your intentions and what you will study.   Homeland Security is responsible for Student Exchange Visitor Program  SEVP will give the school permission and the school will send you an I-20 Form.  This is very important because it says exactly what you are allowed to do, for how long, the costs, and important dates.   It is important but very easy to get!  The school will do all of this for you.  As part of this they must file a I-901 Form which the student will pa $200 (2016).

After you receive your I-20 you can schedule an F1 Visa Interview at the USA Embassy or Consulate near you.  Some countries will have phone interviews.  Locate the Embassy Near You

You schedule an interview by filing a DS-160 form Online.  This form requires basic information about you, information from your I-20, and a photo that has to be the right size.  

The most important thing for you to do now is to prepare for the interview and have all your documents in order.  If you want help preparing for the interview or an Evaluation.

I said getting accepted and an I-20 is easy.  Now I will say the Interview may be very difficult.  Some countries have 50-80% denials (214(b) rejections.  Each student is different and must make their own case for why they should be allowed to study in teh USA.

 Will your interview be easy or difficult?  That depends on your documents (many students fail before they even go to the interview).  Your documents and financial information must be carefully prepared.  How much money you show, where it comes from are all important.  

Equally important are how you present yourself to the Visa Officer.  Are you believable?  they are trained to see anyone trying to trick them or hearing stories that are not usual for real students.  

Many people who want to move to the USA use the F1 Visa as a way to "trick" the system.  it isn't as easy as some services or people will tell you.  

I can definitely say from my experience that my students are prepared, their paperwork is in order, they practice a lot, and are good students.  They pass the interview quickly.  

Other students who don;t prepare fail all the time.  Often they fail for a simple reason that could have been avoided.

 This is very important because your first interview you must convince them your a good student who can pay for school.  The second interview after you are rejected you must prove the point they rejected you for is not real and they are incorrect in their assessment.  

This is a very important difference.  Often the 2nd interview seems even more unfair than the first.  The Visa Officers by law of the USA Government must deny your F1 Visa if they are not 100% sure you are a real student who can pay for school.  if they notice a problem the first interview, how can you convince them they are wrong?

If you need help, we are happy to help you in any way we can.  You can write us a quick letter in the form below.  I will answer you and ask some questions to understand how I can help you to get your F1 Visa.  

I am happy to answer you however these take time and effort to figure out.

 Some things I will ask you to do later after I answer you to help the process are to:  

1) Write down exactly what the Visa Officer said and asked in the order they asked.  

2) Know your financial forms and information.  

If I think I can help you after you are rejected i will try my best.

 If you haven't gone to an F1 Interview yet, I can definitely help you!  I have an F1 Visa Evaluation Course and an F1 Visa Interview Course.  Both are great and students who take them have a very high success rate.  

Thanks and good luck!

What will it be like studying in the USA?

When your in the USA studying you will find school different than home depending on where you are from and where you go.  

Many students are surprised by how much easier it is in some ways and how much more difficult in others.  

Easier in that there are not as many subjects to study at one time.  More difficult because the learning style is different and there is way more English reading than they ever did before.    

Be prepared to read a lot.  Begin reading now.  it will help you  understanding and communication if you read a lot.  

A lot of students have difficulty understanding some parts of the lectures.  The best thing is to try and get ahead of your studies and be aware of some of the terminology in new lectures.  This can be difficult to do.

 On the brighter side, my students love the way they learn.  They know they understand and can use the knowledge.  

 They usually are excited and confused at first but really enjoy the challenge.  Holidays are a little sad when they especially miss their families and the food.  YOU will be fine:)  

If you haven't watched the

F1 Explainer Video


  1. Speak English Today on March 4, 2016 at 3:28 pm

    I hope this helps you understand about the requirements of the F1 Visa. Please leave a comment if you have any questions. I am happy to try and answer.

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