How to Get an F-1 Student Visa to Study in the USA

How to Get an F-1 Student Visa to Study in the USA

Studying in the USA can allow you not just to have an internationally recognized education but also to pave your way for great future career opportunities. It can prepare you for a successful, high-paying career in your home country or anywhere abroad.

Moreover, by getting a degree in the United States, you can even get a chance to stay and work in the country, even if it is just for a short period of time. Keep in mind that having even one year of experience working in your field in the States can probably get you better career possibilities back home.

If you want to study in the USA, you need to plan ahead for your college admission, as well as an entry visa to the USA. Foreign students need to get an F1 student visa for entry and temporary residence in the USA. This could take some planning for time, but it doesn’t have to be difficult if you know exactly what to expect.

The visa application process is a two-step procedure that includes (1) submitting all the necessary documentation and (2) taking an interview at the nearest American embassy. While the first part could be very straightforward, the outcome of the interview at the American embassy may not be predictable for many international students.

Let’s take a look at what you need to do to successfully complete these two steps and get your visa.

Where Do I Start?

After you have made up your mind that you definitely want to study in the USA, you should make sure to follow all the steps listed on the site of your chosen school. Once you are admitted to your intended college, you will receive a letter of acceptance along with an admission document called Form I-20.

student visa application process

After you received these documents in original format, then you will have to pay a SEVIS I-901 fee to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. This fee can be paid online or by credit card.

The next step depends on the US embassy nearest to you. It all comes down to paying a non-refundable visa application fee. In some cases, you can find a visa application (DS-160) online, complete it at home, and take it with you to the interview at the embassy.

You will also need a valid passport and photograph, as proof of your identity. Since you are applying for a non-immigrant visa, you will also need to have proof of foreign residence and enough financial support for the duration of your studies.

How Do I Get It Right?

First of all, check that you have collected all the necessary documentation. Follow the embassy’s instructions to make sure you have all the needed documents in your possession. You do not want to be rejected because you forgot a required document.

Secondly, bear in mind that during your American embassy interview, you should prove that you have strong ties to your home country and that you want to return there after you have completed your studies in the US.

US embassy interview

Strong ties mean things such as potential employment or promotion after you’ve completed your studies, that you own assets such as an apartment or car, that you have bank accounts, or by simply having family in your home country.

You need to provide these proofs because your visa is not for permanent immigration to the USA and is only valid for the duration of your studies.

One thing you can do to prepare for the visa interview is to go through the most common questions: Why did you choose to study in the USA? Why choose this particular school? After you graduate, will you be staying in the US or returning home?

You can find lots of examples online, but they all come down to the same point: Practicing before the interview will help you feel less stressed and you will give better answers. Try having a trial interview with a friend or family member and see how it goes. Remember – practice makes perfect!

You Are Not Alone!

If you have questions about getting an F-1 student visa to the USA, please give LA ORT a call at 1 (800) 998-2678. We’ll be happy to get you started on your path to receive education at an affordable rate – and even see if you qualify for institutional financial assistance. You can also visit, and ask for information about obtaining an F/F1/F2 visa.



LA ORT is a group of nonprofit junior colleges in Los Angeles and Van Nuys provide career training in short term courses.