The US is the most popular destination for international MBA aspirants. A little more than half of the top business schools are in the US. For international students to fulfill their dream of getting an MBA from a US business school, getting an admit is not the only requirement. You also need the appropriate student visa. That is the F 1 student visa. An F 1 visa allows international students to pursue a full-time education in the United States. With an F 1 visa, you can study for full-time in a:
- University or college
- High School
- Private elementary school
- Language training program
Why should you apply for the F 1 visa?
- If you need to stay in the US for more than 90 days to complete your academic programs.
- If you want to gain experience in your field of study after graduating, an F 1 visa will allow you to participate in the Optional Training Program (OPT). OPT allows you to work in the US for a total of 12 months during and after your graduation. STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) students get a 24-month extension on their OPT.
- Your institution is SEVP (Student and Exchange Visitor Program) certified.
How should you apply for the F-1 visa?
- Step 1 – Apply to a SEVP approved school.
- Step 2 – You’ll receive an I-20 form from the school, once you accept the offer of admission. The school will enter your name in SEVIS (Student and exchange visitor information system)
- Step 3 – Pay the SEVIS I-901 fee of US $200
- Step 4 – Fill the online nonimmigrant visa application form DS-160. Pay the F 1 visa fee of US $160.
- Step 5 – Print and keep the DS-160 barcode. Schedule an appointment at your local US Embassy or Consulate.
- Step 6 – Prepare the following documents for your visa interview
- A valid passport
- Form DS-160 confirmation page
- Application fee payment receipt
- Form I-20 issued by the school
- Academic transcripts and standardized test scores
- Proof of health insurance
- Financial documents to prove that you have enough money for your living expenses
- Proof that you intend to return to your home country after graduating
- Step 7 – Attend your visa interview on the scheduled day
Choosing the right MBA program for you is very important if you want to derive the maximum benefit. Learn the 6-step process of choosing the right business school.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs) on F 1 visa
- Can my spouse or children travel with me on an F 1 visa?
No. F 1 visa only allows you to travel. However, your spouse and children under 21 can travel on an F 2 visa.
- Can my spouse work on an F 2 Visa?
Your spouse cannot work on an F 2 visa. However, your children can enrol in primary or secondary school programs.
- Can I transfer to another school or program?
You can. You will need to transfer your SEVIS record and get another I-20 form from the new school within 15 days of the transfer.
- Can I travel outside the US during my academic program?
You can travel back to your home country or another country as long as you return to the US within 5 months.
- Can I stay back in the US after my academic program completes?
You can, only if you are authorized for an OPT (Optional Practical Training) program. With an OPT you can stay back for 12 more months (36 months in case of STEM students).
In case you are not authorized for the OPT, you’ll only have an additional 60 days to stay in the US after academic program completion.
- Can I apply for another visa after the F 1 visa expires?
You can transfer your F 1 visa to H1-B or a green card. To get an H1-B visa you need to find a sponsor. An H1-B visa allows you to work for up to 6 years.
If you plan to do an MBA from the USA, you need to score well on the GMAT.
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