F1 VISA Process
What is a VISA?
An imprint on your passport stating your reason for entering the country.
What is an F1-VISA?
F1 is a student VISA (usually valid for 1-5 years).
Important things to know before VISA registration process:
- You can book your VISA appointment ONLY WITHIN 120 DAYS OF I20 COLLEGE START DATE.
- Your Passport MUST BE VALID FOR 5 MORE YEARS as the F1 is issued generally for 5 years.
VISA Registration Process
Unlike GRE or TOEFL registration and payment process, the process for VISA is confusing. Simply put, follow these 3 steps-
- Pay your VISA fee (~INR 10,880* paid through NEFT/IMPS or AXIS bank): 3 hrs after payment, you can choose your center and date for OFC (Scroll down to know what is an OFC) and VISA appointments. Remember to SCHEDULE YOUR OFC BEFORE VISA CONSULAR.
- Pay your SEVIS/I-901 fee ($200*)
- Fill out your DS-160 (No payment): Fill the details VERY CAREFULLY as this is going to be on your VISA.
- The above three steps can be completed in ANY ORDER but the order given is preferable (WHY? Step1 – you’ll know your VISA date and prepare accordingly, Step2 – Pay beforehand to give them time for verification, Step3 – Can be submitted day before your appointment).
- You can postpone your appointments twice for free of cost*.
*At the time of writing this post i.e. July 2017
- OFC Appointment
What is OFC?
Offsite Facilitation Center (OFC) locations are used by the visa applicants to submit biometric information including their fingerprints and a digital photograph. Simply put, the Consulate takes your fingerprints and photo; Put on your best shirt as this photo is going to be on your VISA.
Documents required for OFC?
- DS-160 (Single page printout with CLEARLY VISIBLE BARCODE from Step3. Not your individual copy)
- VISA Appointment Confirmation (Printout from Step1)
- Original Passport
- Preparing Documentation: Click to view
- VISA Interview
What is a VISA/Consular appointment?
An interview with a consulate officer (an American) to determine if you’re a potential immigrant. The interview lasts usually for 1 to 10 minutes and you’ll be informed (by the interviewer) on the spot if your VISA is accepted/rejected.
Who is a VO?
VO stands for Visa Officer; a person who interviews you at the Consulate.
What is a bank statement? Do I need it?
A bank statement is a letter from the bank stating your funds in INR and USD usually involving the term “for the VISA purpose”. Yes, you must carry your bank statements with you to the VISA interview.
What is a loan sanction letter? Do I need it?
A letter with official bank letter-head, the signature of an official and that clearly states the amount, collateral and the Rate of Interest. If the loan is a source of payment towards your college tuition, you’ll need this letter.
What is a property evaluation/CE document? Do I need it?
A registered Chartered Engineer(CE) evaluates the worth of your properties (lands and houses) and prints out a letter with the evaluation and his contact. You’ll need it for your CA document which is optional.
What is a CA document? Do I need it?
A registered Chartered Accountant(CA) tabulates your finance which may include your savings, properties(from CE) and income from various sources. It is OPTIONAL TO PREPARE CE AND CA documents.
- Prepare answers to typical questions asked (Click here). Practice speaking with a mirror or with your parents/friends.
- Put all your documents in a suitcase file using proper labels (to quickly give the documents a VO asks for).
- Clean shave or trim well.
- Wear a good shirt as they can’t see what’s down below (A VO wearing headphones will be in a separate room and you need to talk with him/her through a mic attached to a transparent window – Watch here)
- As soon as you enter the panel, put your file in the window corner, greet the VO, make sure your voice is loud and clear and lean towards the mic.
- Thank the VO if the VISA is approved or ask him/her the reason if its not.