Depending on the embassy/consulate abroad, foreign nationals should anticipate up to one week's processing time for a visa. Visa wait times for interview appointments and visa processing time information for each U.S. Embassy or Consulate worldwide are available at the Department of State Website.
The foreign national must pay the SEVIS fee before applying for an F-1 visa.
In order for the foreign national (and family members) to apply for an F visa, the following documents must be submitted available for inspection at the closest U.S. embassy/consulate to the place of residence:
- Form DS-160 ("Online Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application").
- Receipt of the nonimmigrant Visa Application fee (fees); a visa issuance fee (might be applicable)
- A passport sized photograph for each applicant (photo requirements).
- Original valid passport for each applicant with a validity date at least six months beyond the applicant's intended period of stay in the United States (unless country-specific agreements provide exemptions). If more than one person is included in the passport, each person desiring a visa must complete an application. .
- Original marriage certificate and proof of the dissolution of any prior marriages (and one additional copy), if applicable.
- Original birth certificate of children also relocating.
- Original I-20 Form properly endorsed by the Office for International Students & Scholars.
- Acceptance letter from the University, if applicable.
- Sevis fee payment receipt.
- Bank statement or funding letter from the department or other institution.
- It is also recommended that the foreign national carry proof of ties to their home country such as home or property ownership, bank accounts or other financial assets. These are supplemental documents and should be available in case the visa officer asks to examine them.
- You might be asked to provide transcripts and diplomas from previous institutions attended as well as scores from standardized tests required by the educational institution such as the TOEFL, SAT, GRE, GMAT, etc.;