Blogs on ‘Student Visa’

F1 - Student Visa for International Students

4 min read
Blog Summary The F-1 Visa is a non-immigrant visa tailored for international students aiming to study in the US. After gaining admission to accredited US institutions, students can apply for this visa. It allows part-time work during studies and offers post-graduation opportunities via the Optional Practical Training (OPT) program. To maintain F-1 visa status, students must meet key obligations like enrolling in a full course load and adhering to US laws. F-1 visa holders can work on-campus and have limited off-campus employment opportunities. AECC Nepal provides comprehensive guidance on the F-1 visa application process.
f1 student visa for International Students

What is an F-1 Visa?

F-1 Visa is a non-immigrant visa that is designed for international students planning to Study abroad in the US. You can apply for the F-1 visa after securing admission to accredited US educational institutions. The F-1 visa not only permits you to engage in part-time work during your coursework but also opens doors to post-graduation opportunities through the Optional Practical Training (OPT) program. However, adherence to visa duration is important, and extensions must be obtained from one's home country if the academic journey requires more time.

F-1 Visa Qualifications

If you have to qualify for the F-1 visa, you will need to qualify for some specific criteria for the interview. The same is tabulated below.


Fulfillment for Obtaining F-1 Visa

Financial Support

You have to prove that you have enough finances to support your studies and stay in the USA

Strong Relation to Home Country

You should prove your strong relation to your home country, & that you have your family, assets & bank accounts in your home country

Foreign Residence

You should have your residence in a foreign country and must return after your course completion

Sponsoring Education Institution

You are expected to study at the educational institution through which your visa was granted

F-1 Visa Requirements

You are supposed to meet a few criteria to enter the USA. Given below are the US F-1 visa requirements.


  • Full-Time Enrolment: You should be enrolled for studies in an accredited and recognised university.
  • Institution: Your previous educational institution must be approved by the Student and Exchange Visitors Program (SEVP), Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
  • Sufficient Bank Balance: You should have sufficient funds to support yourself throughout your stay in the USA.
  • Choice of Program: You can enrol in an academic program, language-training program or vocation program.
  • English Language Proficiency: You must have an acceptable English proficiency test score or must be enrolled in a language proficiency course.
  • Home-Country Residence: You must submit proof of your permanent residence in your home country to indicate that you have no intention of staying permanently in the USA.

Eligibility Requirements to Study in USA

F-1 Visa Application Process

It is advisable to apply for your F-1 visa USA at least six months before the start of your semester. You are required to follow certain procedures or steps to apply for the F-1 visa. They are explained below.


  • Get your offer letter and I-20 form: You should first receive a Letter of Acceptance from an SEVP-certified university. You will then receive an I-20 form from the university, which should be submitted for your F-1 visa application. The starting and ending date of your course will be written on this I-20 form, which in turn decides your duration of stay in the USA. Hence, it should be ensured that there are no mistakes in it.
  • SEVIS Fee: You will be given a SEVIS ID on your I-20 form. In order to continue your F-1 visa application, you will be required to pay the SEVIS fee. It is recommended to keep a printed copy or save the receipt of your fee payment.
  • Fill out the DS-160 Form: DS-160 is an online visa application form that all non-immigrants, including those applying for an F-1 visa, are required to fill out. The form will be available on the Consular Electronic Application Centre website. You will need your SEVIS ID to access this form and will have to pay a fee for the same. You can then print and save the form with the barcode.
  • Schedule your F-1 visa Interview: You can then schedule your F-1 visa interview, the waitlist of which can even be more than a month. You need to carry all the required documents, including the DS-160 and I-20 forms.
  • Fly to the USA: The standard visa processing time for the USA is 4-5 weeks after the visa interview. Once you receive your F-1 visa, you can book tickets to study in the USA.

The list of documents you will be required to submit along with the F-1 visa application is tabulated below.

Valid passport

Proof of funds

Letter of Acceptance from a recognised university

Medical examination report

Language proficiency test scorecard

SEVIS fee payment receipt

I-20 Form

DS-160 form


What is the Difference Between a J-1 and F-1 Student Visa?

If you are planning to participate in exchange visitor programs in the USA, you can apply for a J-1 visa. We have tabulated the key differences between a J-1 and an F-1 student visa below.


J-1 Visa

F-1 Visa

Source of funding

For a J-1 visa, a minimum of 51% of the financial support should come from external sources such as scholarships or grants, while the remainder can be provided through personal funds or familial contributions

It is flexible with any kind of funding

On-campus employment

Limited to 20 hours & prior authorisation is required

Limited to 20 hours, but no prior authorisation is required

Grace period

30 days

60 days

Spouses and children

Spouses and children can apply for a work permit & can even study full-time or part-time

Spouses and children will have to change their visa status to work or study full-time

Off-campus employment

You can apply for Academic Training, without any fee, for upto 18-36 months 

You can apply for Optional Practical Training, with a fee, only upto 12 months

Health insurance

Required but for a limited amount

Optional, but recommended

F-1 Visa Interview

An F-1 visa interview is one of the most important steps to study abroad. It tests your eligibility and intent of pursuing the particular course in the USA. Your academic background, financial stability, language proficiency, and much more will be tested here. You will be asked a series of questions to assess your reasons to study abroad, career goals, and how your education will be beneficial to your home country. Though the visa interview is one of the toughest processes in getting a student visa, you can easily pass it if you prepare and perform well.

What to Expect at Your Visa Interview?

There is a set of procedures that will be followed during your visa interview. The same is given below.

  1. The interview will be in English and will be happening in front of the visa officer at a US Embassy or Consulate.
  2. The questions will be quick and straightforward.
  3. The questions asked will vary depending on your chosen academic program, choice of university, etc.

Top Scholarships in the USA for International Students

F-1 Visa Denials

There are chances of getting your F-1 visa rejected. Though the F-1 visa rejection rate is not very high, it would be helpful for you to get a few reasons for visa rejection.

  1. Submission of incomplete or incorrect application.
  2. Being unable to convince the US Consulate of your return to your home country after the course completion.
  3. Failing to justify your intention of Studying in the USA.
  4. Not meeting minimum language requirements.
  5. Misbehaving with the panel during the interview.

Maintaining F-1 Visa Status

Maintaining F-1 visa status is of great importance for international students pursuing education in the United States. To ensure that you comply with the same, you must fulfil several key obligations. This includes enrolling in a full course load, making satisfactory academic progress, keeping your I-20 form up-to-date, promptly reporting any changes to your designated school official, obtaining proper authorisation for off-campus employment, and maintaining health insurance as per school requirements. Additionally, you should be aware of your visa and travel document expiration dates, fulfil the tax obligations, and always adhere to US laws to avoid any legal issues. Staying informed and proactive in meeting these requirements is vital to a successful and uninterrupted academic journey in the United States.

Can F-1 International Students Work in the US?

F-1 international students in the United States are generally allowed to work, but there are specific regulations and limitations that they must adhere to. The same is explained below.

  • On-Campus Employment: F-1 visa holders can work on the university campus for up to 20 hours per week while classes are in session and full-time (more than 20 hours per week) during breaks. This employment does not require special authorisation, but you should confirm with the Designated School Official (DSO) that you are eligible.
  • Off-Campus Employment: Off-campus employment opportunities for F-1 visa holders are limited and typically require authorisation. The two primary types of off-campus employment authorisation are Optional Practical Training (OPT) and Curricular Practical Training (CPT).

We hope to have provided you with all the information related to what an F-1 visa means for those who plan to study abroad from Nepal. If you have any further doubts or queries, you can contact AECC. Our counsellors can guide you throughout the application process, from university applications to visa assistance. Do not hesitate to contact us for FREE assistance!


Frequently Asked Questions

Is F1 Visa hard to get?
No, if you satisfy all the requirements, it is not hard to get an F-1 visa
What is an F1 and J1 Visa?
Both F-1 and J-1 visas are the student visas required to study in the USA. The differences between them are explained in the blog in detail.
Is F1 a good visa?
Yes, an F-1 visa is one of the popular visas chosen by international students to study in the USA.
How many times can you apply for an F1 Visa?
There is no limit on the number of times you can apply for the F-1 visa.

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