All over the world, most of the students want to at least complete a full-time degree or study in US but before you can step into any of the universities or schools for your desired program of study, you need to get the F-1 visa.
For students planning to continue their education in US, there are separate visas that are issued by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). However, unlike other countries, US Immigration and National Act have extremely stringent and specific requirements when it comes to applicants that qualify for the F-1 student visa. It will be decided at the Consulate whether you qualify for the F-1 visa. The student visa requirements include being accepted at the school, proof that you or your sponsor has enough funds to pay for lodging and tuition for the proposed study program and strong intention of leaving US after the academic program is completed.
The F-1 visa is for full-time students and their dependents such as immediate family is eligible for F-2 visa. F-1 is only issued to students planning to peruse full-time academic program or a language courses. F-1 visa and other student visas are only issued to students that seek admission in Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) certified. The SEVP monitors the visitors on the different J, M and F visas, colleges and exchange programs. All applicants for the F-1 visa are required to have Form I-20 that is generated by the SEVIS, which is needed at the submission of the F-1 visa.
Other required documentation includes:
• Form I-20
• MRV receipt that proves visa application fee has been remitted.
• Form DS-160 which is the online non-immigration visa application
• A valid passport (in good condition) that is valid for at least 6 months after the period of stay in US.
• 2 x 2 inch photograph with clear facial features and no covering over the head.
• SEVIS 1-901 receipt of the fee
Some of the documentation and proof that are needed at the time of submitting your forms and application for visa include:
• Diplomas, certificates and transcripts for the institutions that have been attended till date
• GMAT/SAT/TOFEL/GRE scores, as applicable. These are standardized tests that are accepted across most educational institutions in US
• Proof of financial evidence that shows that your parents/sponsor are financially strong to put you through the cost of the tuition fees for the study program and can cover living expenses.
• If the sponsor/parent draws a fixed salary, the original income tax documents and bank statements will be needed but if the parents run a business, all documents pertaining to business registrations, tax documentation, and licenses will be needed.
The students on F-1 are exempted from paying the Federal Insurance Contributions Act taxes which go into the Medicare and Social Security as they are non-immigrant foreign nationals. But the exemption is only for the first 5 years. But they are still responsible for paying the federal income tax if they have been in US for 5 years or less by using the 1040NR tax forms. Additionally, many of the F-1 visa holders are legally eligible for the provisions under the tax treaty of individual home country.