You will need to apply at the nearest U.S. consulate which has jurisdiction over your residence abroad. Appointment scheduling procedures and times vary from consulate to consulate so you will need to check for details at the appropriate U.S. consulate nearest you: Click HERE for a List of Embassies and Consulates.
NOTE: Canadian citizens are not required to obtain actual visas from a U.S. consulate and only need an issued I-20 document from Dartmouth's Office of Visa & Immigration Services.
There are two different application fees for F-1 visas. There is a one-time "SEVIS" fee of $200 (as of 2008); as well a standard world-wide "Machine Readable Visa" fee (MRV fee) is $160.00 (as of 2012). More information on MRV fees can be found online at: Travel.State.Gov, and for the SEVIS fee: Click HERE.
Depending on your own country's policy on fees for U.S. citizens, there may also be a "reciprocity fee" that you will have to pay. Also, depending on how far away the nearest U.S. consulate is from your home you may also need to allow for addition travel and accommodation costs to get to your nearest consulate city.
This depends on many factors, among them, what type of visa, which U.S. consulate you are using, and whether your application will be subject to an additional security clearance check. In general, most U.S. visas are approved and issued within seven to ten business days, though some can take a little longer. If you are subjected to an additional background security check, such clearances tend to be approved within approximately four to eight weeks. Visit Travel.State.Gov on Visa Wait Times- for Interview Appointments and Processing.
This means that your visa application has been subjected to an additional security clearance procedure. In general, this will add at least between two and four weeks to the visa application process. Unfortunately, there is nothing Dartmouth College, or anyone else can do to expedite this process. Please let our office know if your application is delayed due to a security clearance check. We may need to issue you a new I-20 form with a deferred start date if you are delayed significantly.
Each specific U.S. consulate's website will tell you what exactly to bring to the visa appointment (as well as what is not allowed inside the consulate). In general, F-1 visa applicants should bring the following:
This is often somewhat intangible evidence that you have strong personal, financial, academic and or professional ties to your home country, and that you plan to return there after your Dartmouth degree program. This type of evidence can vary widely. Some suggestions include:
No - F-2 dependents do not need to pay the $200 SEVIS fee. They will, however each need to pay the standard MRV $160 visa application fee.
F-1 applicants who are also having a spouse or children apply for F-2 dependent visas should bring marriage certificates (translated into English in necessary) and birth certificates, as well as their dependents' own I-20 forms, passports and MRV visa application forms.
F-2 dependents may not legally work in the U.S. under any circumstances.
A visa denial based on regulation 214(b) generally means that the applicant has failed to prove non-immigrant intent. This means that the presiding U.S. consular officer was not convinced that you intended to leave the U.S. at the end of your degree program. You may reapply for the visa if you have new information relating to your nonimmigrant intent.
Yes, in general, if your visa is denied, you may reapply. However, you should be sure that you have new evidence or information before you reapply. If you are denied a visa please inform our office as soon as possible.
No, as long as you are maintaining full-time enrollment and satisfactory progress in your degree program, your F-1 status is perfectly fine, despite the fact that their F-1 visa may have expired. You would only need to obtain a new, extended visa if you have plans to depart the U.S. for a visit abroad and re-enter the U.S. You may legally remain in the U.S. if your F-1 visa has expired without any negative consequences as long as your F-1 status is still valid. (See additional section on F-1 status)
Yes, under a procedure called "Automatic Revalidation" if you have extended or been approved for a change to F-1 status, you may travel only to Canada, Mexico or the Caribbean Islands (excluding Cuba) for a period of 30-days or less and then re-enter the U.S. using an expired F-1 visa. To do so, you must have in your possession:
Please contact your immigration advisor at the Office of Visa and Immigration Services, if you plan to take advantage of Automatic Revalidation on an expired visa. NOTE: If you travel to Canada, Mexico and/or the Caribbean Islands you may need a visa for those countries prior to your travel. Automatic Revalidation only applies to U.S. immigration and does not exempt you from the immigration requirements of those other countries and territories.
The difference between U.S. immigration status and a visa is an important and sometimes confusing concept. F-1 status can be extended, shortened or even changed to a different immigration status (i.e. H-1B) while you are inside the U.S., yet your F-1 visa does not have to match your corresponding immigration status while you are inside the U.S. The visa is only necessary for travel purposes. Initial entry and subsequent re-entry into the U.S. from abroad requires a valid visa corresponding to your particular immigration status (i.e. F-1) at all times. However you do not need to depart the U.S. if your visa expires as long as your F-1 (or other) immigration status is still valid. This is a very different policy than many other countries. For example, some nationalities will only receive a one-year F-1 visa stamp, yet their degree program will last for two, four, even six years in the U.S. As long as they are maintaining full-time enrollment and satisfactory progress in their degree program, their F-1 status is perfectly fine, despite the fact that their F-1 visa may have expired.
The following checklist details most of the main aspects of maintaining valid F-1 immigration status while in the U.S.:
Report to OVIS to have your SEVIS record registered in SEVIS in a timely fashion. You must be registered in SEVIS no later than 30-days after the program start date, and each semester thereafter, no later than 30-days after the next session start date for continuing students.
Any failure of any the above-referenced rules can result in the loss of your legal F-1 immigration status.
There is a process to apply for reinstatement should you violate the terms of your F-1 status, however it is a very complicated procedure. Your immigration advisor can assist you with basic information on F-1 reinstatement, however you may need to obtain legal advice from a trusted immigration attorney to do so.
Your F-1 status dates are indicated in section 5 on your I-20 form. Most importantly your program ending date in section 5 is the date you are expected to complete studies. Your program can be extended, or shortened, depending on the progress of your academic program. Upon entry into the U.S. an immigration inspector should write "D/S" ("duration of studies") on your entry stamps. This means that your F-1 sponsor (Dartmouth College) can amend the duration of your F-1 status as necessary. Note that the date you "complete" your studies is not necessarily your graduation date. For immigration purposes, the date you complete your studies is the date you complete all your obligations to the school in order to receive the degree.
As an F-1 you are allowed to arrive in the U.S. no earlier than 30-days prior to the starting date listed in section 5 of your I-20 form. Upon completion of studies you have a 60-day grace period from which to depart the U.S., apply for post-completion OPT, or change it to another immigration category. If you wish to extend your F-1 program because you need more time to finish your degree requirements, you must apply to your immigration advisor *before* the end date on your I-20 form.
Yes, for the entire duration that you are authorized for OPT (click here to go to the OPT-FAQ section) you are still under the same regulations of F-1 status.
Last Updated: 4/22/14