STEP 4: Apply for the F-1 Student Visa

The F-1 Student Visa may only be obtained by filing an application "in-person" with a US Embassy or Consulate in your home country OR where you hold a permanent residence.

In order to be eligible for the F-1 Student Visa, you must present documentary evidence that will convince the consular officer of the following:

  1. You have been accepted to a school for a full course of study.
    Evidence: Your SEVIS I-20 and York College acceptance letter (be definite and clear about your educational plans). Anticipate that the Visa interview will be conducted in English.
  2. You have paid the required SEVIS processing fee and you have proof of payment. Be prepared to prove financial ability to pay for your education and living expenses for the full length of your program.
    Evidence: Proof of your financial ability that you presented with this application (e.g. Sponsor's Affidavit of Support and supporting documentary evidence). These documents MUST BE originals, not photocopies).
  3. Demonstrate convincing reasons for consular officials to believe that you intend to return home after your studies in the United States. This means demonstrating that you have compelling ties that will cause you to return to your home country.
    Evidence: If your family owns a business, bring letters from the bank describing the business. If your family owns property, submit the deed. If you have taken a leave of absence from your job or have a prospective job offer, obtain a letter from the company stating that your job will be held until you return or that your profession is in demand in your country. Documents that will help to prove strong ties include, but are not limited to:
  • Employment letters stating position, date of commencement of  employment and salary.
  • Bank, Credit Union and Unit Trust statements indicating when accounts were opened, current and six month average balances.
  • Property titles.
  • Vehicle registration certificates.

Self-employed persons, including vendors, businessmen and others should submit their most recent Income Tax Assessment or evidence of income (such as contracts or receipts) and business registration instead of a job letter.

Remember, your main purpose for coming to the United States should be to study, not for the chance to work before or after graduation. While many students do work off-campus during their studies, such employment is incidental to their main purpose of completing their US education.

Other Important Considerations:

Spouse F-2 Visa: If your spouse is also applying for an accompanying F-2 visa, be aware that F-2 dependents cannot, under any circumstances, be employed in the United States. If asked, be prepared to address what your spouse intends to do with his or her time while in the United States. Volunteer work and attending school part-time are permitted activities.

Dependents Remaining at Home: If you have a spouse and/or children remaining behind in your home country, be prepared to address how they will support themselves in your absence. This can be an especially tricky area if you are the primary source of income for your family. If the consular official gains the impression that your family members will need you to remit money from the United States in order to support them, your student visa will almost surely be denied.

Be concise: Because of the volume of visa applications, all consular officials are under considerable pressure to conduct a quick and efficient interview.

Not all countries are the same: Applicants from countries suffering economic problems or from countries where many students have remained in the United States as immigrants will have more difficulty getting visas. Make an appointment and check the waiting times for student Visa appointments at the US Embassy in your country.

Visa Denial: The vast majority of York College students will be successful in obtaining their student Visas. Despite this, a small number of students may have their visa applications denied. The most common reasons for visa denial are:

  • failure to prove sufficient ties to your home country, or
  • failure to provide sufficient evidence of financial support

The visa officer must verbally inform you of the reason for the visa denial. If your visa is denied, please send an e-mail message to gprescod@york.cuny.edu and provide the date and location of your visa interview including details regarding the reason given by the Visa officer for the denial.

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