F-1 student US visas are available to anyone seeking to enter the United States for the purpose of engaging in a full-time academic program. This status extends to persons enrolled at the elementary school level through the postgraduate and doctorate levels of university education.
These visas last the duration of the academic program plus an additional 60 days. The student may enter the US up to 30 days before the commencement of the course of study. An intention to engage in another course of study after the completion of the current program must be substantiated with an application to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services for an extension of student status.
Before applying for a student visa, the applicant must have been accepted by an approved educational institution in the USA and submitted form I-20A-B and also form DS-160, which is a general non-immigrant (temporary) visa application form. However, on occasion, the student may enter the USA on a B-2 visa because they have not yet chosen a particular institution.
Prospective students must prove to the US consulate that they have sufficient funds to pay for the educational program as well as their maintenance for the duration of the program. The funds must be currently available and not be based on speculation of funding.
It is important to supply proof of temporary intent to study in the USA. The visa officer will require evidence establishing that the applicant has strong ties to his/her home country as assurance of temporary intent to study in the United States. A home to return to after the completion of the studies, an offer of employment on return from the States and family ties are examples of the type of evidence that show intent to return to one’s home country on the culmination of the said studies.