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How to Apply for an F1 Visa for the USA: A Step-by-Step Guide

Applying for an F1 visa to study in the United States involves several steps. Follow this guide to ensure a smooth application process:
1. Complete the Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application (DS-160) Form.

This long form will have questions that are straightforward and does not ask for any payment. Note that you cannot make changes in the form after it has been submitted. So be very careful in filling the form.

2. Fill out the VISA form and Make Payment

This form is comparatively shorter. After completing the form, you will have to make a payment for the VISA fee, which is about $160. Here you will be asked to choose the mode of payment. For faster processing, choose to pay by Axis Bank (over the counter).

Take a print out of the challan and take it to the bank to make the payment. Once you have made the payment, you can log in with the same user id and password and book your OFC as well as Visa slot.

3. Complete the SEVIS Form and Pay the Fee

After completing this form, the SEVIS Fee of $204 has to be paid. The SEVIS fee is a payment made to fund and maintain the Student Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), by The United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

The benefits of an F1 Visa:
  • Legally travel within the US
  • Working at part-time jobs
  • Getting transferred to another institution within the US or even change the intended program of study
  • Getting an opportunity to bring your spouse or children in an F2 Visa and most importantly pursuing your higher studies to earn a degree.

Required Documents for VISA interview:

1. Receipts/Confirmation page and PDF of all the forms that you have filled for VISA interview.
2. An I-20 form.
3. Financial documents such as Bank certificate/Affidavit of support or Bank loan sanction letter. Make sure you get the most recent version of the documents, preferably a week before your Visa interview.
4. A front and back copy of the Passport (Old and New).
5. Appointment letter.
6. 2 passport size photographs.
7. CA certificate.
8. Resume.
9. Acceptance letter.
10​. ITR return document and OFC documents if any.

Required Documents for OFC:

1. Your current valid passport and previously issued passports.
2. The DS-160 barcode page (you will not need the full application).
3. Appointment letter.
4. F-1​
5. Students should bring the SEVIS receipt and I-20.
​6. Visa application payment receipt.​

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