July 4, 2022

The road to student visas: USA

The road to student visas: USA
by
Deni Isic


Danish citizens just need to visit the US Embassy in Copenhagen and fill out the application form DS-160 online in advance to obtain a F-1 student visa.

You can apply for this online when you have received the admission letter from the American University, where a so-called "I-20" visa document is attached. Do not be intimidated by the form names, you can remember the three names as:


I-20 = The ticket allowing you to apply for an F-1 student visa online  

DS-160 = The form to fill out to apply for an F-1 student visa

F-1 = Student visa for a semester in the United States that you are applying for on the Embassy website

 

Step-by-step guide:

We started out hard, but don't worry, there are really only 5 "rough steps":

  1. Receive the I-20 document together with your letter of admission  
  2. Go to the embassy website and fill out the DS-160 application form
  3. Apply for an F-1 visa
  4. Book a meeting at the US Embassy in Copenhagen  
  5. Show up at the embassy with the right documents (overview of documents can be found further down in the blog).

What do I bring to the interview at the embassy?


Before reading further, it is important to emphasize that you can not book an appointment at the embassy until you have received your I-20 document. In addition, you should be aware that access to the US Embassy in Copenhagen is reminiscent of a security check at the airport, which means that electronic devices such as a mobile phone, computer or Ipad are not allowed in the building.

In addition, you should preferably book an appointment as early as possible, as at certain times there may be several weeks of waiting time for an interview. Last but not least, it's nice to know that when you finally get an appointment for an interview at the embassy, ​​you should arrive well in advance, as there may be a queue outside the building due to security checks. You really dont want to be late for your interview.


For the interview at the embassy, ​​please bring:


  • Confirmation Page (with barcode) for completing the online application form DS-160
  • Printed copy of the confirmation of your time for interview
  • Receipt number (CGI reference number) or receipt for payment of MRV Fee (will be covered in this blog as well). It is stated on your confirmation of your booking for the interview that you have paid the MRV fee.
  • Receipt for payment of SEVIS Fee (will be explained in the blog as well)
  • Valid passport with space for visa (valid during the period you are studying abroad)
  • A photo og you- see the requirements here
     

  • Visa document (I-20) with your signature at the bottom if you are applying for an F-1 visa.
     
  • Proof that you have the financial background to be able to cover the expenses during the study period, ie. the financial statement and / or any bank letter you attached to your application to the university. The documentation you bring must be accompanied by an original signature from the bank. Copies are generally not approved.

The interview itself takes approx. 15 min and you can expect to be asked basic questions about your study stay. When the interview is over, they will keep your passport for a few days so that they can stamp the visa into the passport, which will be sent by physical mail to your address.

How much does it cost to get a student visa to the United States?


In short, there are two fees associated with a student visa to the United States. There is the MRV fee and SEVIS fee. Again, do not be intimidated by the unknown fee names. It's actually very simple:


MRV fee = The actual fee for applying for a student visa
SEVIS fee = A fee that goes to the US Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)

Both fees MUST be paid before your interview at the embassy and are non-refundable in case of rejection.

MRV fee costs 160 USD and is paid as seen in this guide

The SEVIS fee for an F-1 visa costs $ 350 and is paid separately at SEVP's website


The practicalities of the F-1 student visa


Specifically, with an F-1 student visa you can travel to the United States 30 days before your first tuition day, as listed on your I-20 document. If you dream of traveling around the United States after your final exam, there is good news. Your F-1 study visa is valid for 60 days after the end date of the study stay, which is also stated on your I-20 document.


Before you go on a visa hunt, it is important to point out that when your study stay is over in the US, you can not travel out of the country and back on the same visa as this is terminated despite the fact that you have 60 days to spare after completing the study stay. Therefore, it is important that you do not travel out of the USA if you plan to travel in the country afterwards.

If you need a trip to your home country or somewhere else abroad during the study period, you can take your I-20 at the university's international office and get them to sign a “travel authorization” so you avoid being rejected when returning to the United States.

Last but not least, on a F-1 visa, you can not have a job in the United States while studying. However, it is allowed to work alongside the studies if you get a job at the exact university you study at.

Not so bad again, right? Keep in mind, this is just one step on the path to the college life you've seen all your life in movies. If you do not get to experience it in your life now, then whenwill you ever? This blog is an example of the exact process as experienced by a Danish student going to the US to study a semester abroad. The word visa is often associated as an unmanageable process, but it's actually not as difficult with the right step-by-step guide as you get for free here.

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