In the present days many students prefer to study and take the Master’s degree from abroad especially United States of America. Students of the present generation want to take this experience which proves to be really beneficial for their career giving them better standard of living. By undertaking foreign education, students can grab the opportunity of studying in the USA and taking the riches of their culture. There are various benefits to study like getting to see the new land, graduating under the complete different style of education, learning the new language, adding fluency to English, bright career opportunities, discover new interests while developing the personality, meeting new people and knowing them and having the degree certificate from renowned universities. Everything in short is a lifelong experience.
It is not as simple as it seems, to have the graduation degree from the well-known or any other University of USA students need to have their F1 visa approved. Getting the approval for the F1 visa is not easy and it takes visa preparation along with time management.
Steps for F1 Visa Preparation:
STEP 1: Research
The first and the foremost thing which needs to be done prior to studying in the United States of America is to research for University or College which matches your criteria of education and monetary budget. Choosing the University wisely based on the best fit will help you in the long term and get approval for F1 visa.
The thing to keep in mind here is that you should not try to adjust and compromise yourself to get the desired school rather try and seek for best fit university.There is no metric neither any official ranking system exists which can categorize colleges and universities in the United States. The best college or university is the one that is best for you and meets your requirements—academic, financial, and personal.
“Early bird catches worm” is the phrase that suits the situation here, because the f1 visa preparation needs to be started as early as 12 to 18 months prior to the year you wish to attend the academics. The choice of the college has to make on the basis of the several questions which can be further classified based on the individual priority.
- The reason behind taking up graduation in USA
- What is your best fit area graduation wise
- The colleges or universities which comes under your selection
- What would be your affordable financial cost
- Whether the deadline for the application and fee would meet or not
- Is the college far or near from your living State and City in USA.
The level of study can be undergraduate, graduate or master. The Research of the School/ College/ University has to be done keeping in mind what you are applying for. They must be certified by the Student Exchange Visitor Program.
The Colleges accept the application only when the candidate has applied for the standardized test required to make the entry in the college. Only if the test score are beyond the threshold value the candidate is considered eligible to take the admission. One thing which needs to be cautious about is giving the test before time to avoid the delay of getting result. The application form can only be submitted when the test results are attached.
Students generally apply to Community Colleges for the two year course program. These can either of the Associate of Arts (AA) or Associate of Science (AS) degree. There can be found several of these community colleges having technical and vocational programs with close links to secondary/high schools, community groups, and employers in the local community.
The under graduation system in USA various a little bit with giving the permission of taking up variety of subjects along with the majors in the field of study. The US government follows the credit system, only after certain amount of credit is achieved the bachelor degree is granted. The number of credits required per subject to pass varies from one institution to another.
There are large numbers of Universities offering the graduate courses thus it is strongly advisable to do the thorough checking utilizing the potential time to find which will suit best for you. From all the above the much immense value is of master’s and the doctoral degree which consumes the research work. While taking the Graduation, you are ensured to get the in depth training and specialized instruction.
Choosing the right University for the particular course can prove to be beneficial while appearing for the F1-visa.
STEP 2: Finance
Before planning any higher education in USA take out time to find out about the cost of living and the financial cost involved in the study across various states and universities. Evaluating the total financial expense is the most important thing one needs to do. Invest some amount of time in YOURSELF. The basic idea behind financial planning is to assess what is affordable. Invest the money you are willing to spend where you see the educational and career benefit. The financial cost would vary with the level of graduation and the course which candidate takes up.
If you end up opting for University with high fees then it is advisable to start financial planning quite early. Every year USA government provides financial help by giving scholarships to the International students but due to high competition among the students chance of acquiring the financial aid decreases.
The few ways to reduce the educational cost:
- Research a wide variety of community colleges
- Apply to colleges in areas of the United States that have a lower cost of living,
- Attend a community college first and then transfer to a four-year school to complete your bachelor’s degree
With the right amount of planning and research, pursuing a U.S. higher education can be made affordable with high returns on your investment. Also selection of college based on fewer fees or the State based on low cost of living can prove to be really beneficial in the approval of F1-visa. The visa interrogator would question back if you have selected a college with really high fees when your financial background is not strong enough to survive the high fees.
STEP 3: Complete Your Application
After going through the complete research work and selecting the university keeping the financial condition in mind, it is now the time to complete your application which you to send to the universities for your admission approval.
This is the most time consuming task as each application is different and has certain criteria’s which needs to be fulfilled. Certain applications require collecting the recommendations, writing essays and verifying the results of the standard examinations. This is the most time consuming and important step amongst all. Giving as much time as it demands gives the desired output.
General Application Requirements:
- The Online application form which candidate has to fill
- Educational credentials which are required by university
- Standardized test scores which are of most important value
- Other forms, depending on the institution, such as financial information, proof of health insurance, vaccination records, and passport and visa information are often required.
The timeline for applying is stricter in a four-year college or university than a two year course providing community college. Having the knowledge of timeline dates is important to avoid the missing of the deadline. Thus it is advisable to consider the dates before starting any kind of f1 visa preparation as it can consume considerable amount of time. The procedure involves form filling, transformation of educational transcripts, order copies of test scores, and to register for classes so plan ahead.
STEP 4: Applying for F1 visa
This is the turning step of the entire journey. Whether or not you will get the visa approval completely depends on how you project your personality, background and educational skills in front of the visa interrogator. The interviews are short and precise and thus they expect crystal clear answer with crisp knowledge. You have to put your best foot forward to explain them the reason behind your pursuing studies in the United States. They would also like to know about your entire plan while you continue the graduation and after thoughts once graduation is completed. The Interview will be scheduled only after receiving I-20 form from University.
In visa interviews, do your best to explain why you want to study in the United States, how you support yourself financially while in school, and what your plans after your studies are finished. Also there is no guaranteed assurance for the approval of the F1-Visa.
There are three different types of Visa which the US Embassy offers to the International Students showing the willingness to travel abroad and study:
F1: It is non-immigrant visa for the students taking admission in college or university
J1: It is non-immigrant visa to research scholars, professors and exchange visitors participating in programs that promote.
M1: It is a temporary student visa that allows international students to attend an accredited vocational or non-academic school.
The University which you have applied must come under the database list of the US embassy. It is not necessary that the Universities or Institutions which are supporting Student Exchange Visa Program and have the required certification would be listed in the database of USA visa council office. It is vital for the institution to have the national accreditation. The factors that help for the University’s accreditation are:
- Course Credits and their Recognition
- Other Institutions providing Degree
- International Employers
For the International Students who come to United States of America for the study purpose there are two separate US Government departments involved from the time the student is arrived in USA. These two agencies take care of the student status and stay in USA while their study is continuing.
The entire F1 visa application process comes under the responsibility of State Department which has the authority of issuing the visa to the candidate. If the State Government Approves the candidate’s visa request, then once the candidate enters USA comes role of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
The entire responsibility of State Government is taken over by the US DHS once the visa holder steps in the USA. The authoritative actions include the entry into the country as well as issuing and enforcing international student regulations.
STEP 5: Departure
This final step is the key component which includes everything from making travel arrangements to attending a seminar on international education and the entire educational system. It is important to get accustomed to the International education system which is different from the Indian countries. There is a heavy responsibility on the candidate to gather all the required documentation material for the entry in the United States of America as well during the reporting at the orientation time. The candidate is not allowed to attend the University until all the documents are verified hence, it is an important task.
To remain on the safer side it is advised to check the University website and then start gathering the documents so that you do not miss on any single paper required. Missing one any important document can lead to delay of admission. The website have specialized information and by participating in the discussions going on you can try and solve every occurring doubt. There would be information about average local temperatures throughout the year, housing, health insurance, local transportation options and more.
Some US Education Institutes, advising centers and the alumni (students who have returned from the United States) organize the seminars, discussion and the orientations which provide information and resources that help candidate prepare for the total new journey and fresh start of career.
The experts discuss various common-day topics and challenges that would arise in front of the candidates capable enough to break their moral. The students are made to learn about new experiences and skills to adjust to new challenges. They are taught and told about:
- cultural differences
- changes from your home environment
- academic systems and expectations
- Coping in a new cultural setting.
Arrangements of Travel
Before travelling to USA, confirm with your community college when you are expected to arrive on campus to comply with visa regulations. Remember that you are not allowed to enter the United Stated more than 30 days prior to the start of your I-20 or DS-2019. It is also important to finalize health insurance, communication plans with family and friends, emergency plans and other travel related items.
Collecting Pre-departure Materials
- Arrival Documents needed for security check
Everyone arriving in the United States passes through an inspection by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers. The arrival process is quite long and time consuming and there are long list of documents required for entry.
- Reporting to University and Attending Orientations
U.S. colleges offer a special orientation program for international students in addition to a regular student orientation. Students should plan on attending both as they cover different information.
The orientations are organized specially so that the candidate can connect with their respective DSO and further can complete the needed visa verification process. DSO also helps the candidate learns about the additional information required for candidate to stay in USA. Even the student is told about the Institute’s policy and procedure regarding the International students. Attending these orientations is crucial for all new international students on campus.
As you are going to study on F1 visa you are also eligible for fresher entry level jobs for opt students completion of your graduation. F1 students has the opportunity to work and gain practical work experience after or during graduation as F1 OPT jobs. Upload your resume to and apply for the latest OPT jobs in USA at OPT Nation.
Max Troy is the Career Counsellor as well as a passionate Author. Well, he has years of experience in the Career and Jobs industry. As a part of his career at OPTnation, he helped various OPT and CPT candidates to shape their Career. Through his knowledge and writing skill, he is contributing to the students to find the best Career advice and immigration topics. Do share the information if you like it.