hOW TO APPLY FOR F1/STUDENT VISA
If you are not a U.S. citizen/ green card holder, once you get accepted to a dental school in the United States, the next step for you is to get an F1 visa (student visa) for the U.S. Obtaining this visa is a very straight forward process, but can be challenging with the lack of any prior information regarding the visa application procedures. Here, we have compiled this information and discussed it below to make it easier for you!
1. After you get accepted to a dental school, the first step for you is to obtain an i-20 form with your SEVIS (Student Exchange and Visitor Information System) number from the respective dental school/university that you have been accepted to.
SEVIS is an online database that connects immigration officials and U.S. colleges and universities by providing information on international students. It was introduced by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
Most schools will require you to show proof of financial funding for the first year of dental school before they can send you an i-20 form to your address. You must demonstrate sufficient funding to cover all the expenses for your first year including tuition, books, fees, instruments and living expenses. Funding may come from your own personal account/ family members account/ a private sponsor's account and/or scholarships/loans that have been approved. You will have to submit documents verifying the same to your school so that they can review and accept your application.
Verification documents include:
Original letter from your bank stating the available funds. The bank should specify your name and account details with the balance amount. The letter must be on official letterhead, dated within the last six months and include the bank's seal. A bank statement may be attached with this.
In case a relative/ family member is sponsoring your funding, you must submit a Letter of Sponsorship with their details and signature and their original bank documents as discussed above.
In case of a private/ government bank loan, documents stating the approval of loan and its amount.
In case of a scholarship/ grant, an official letter stating the amount and duration of the scholarship awarded.
Once your financial documents are accepted by your institution, they will ship your I20 form with unique SEVIS number to your address. The next step for you is to pay the SEVIS fees. This is generally a one-time payment of about 200USD. The fees can be paid here - https://www.ice.gov/sevis/i901. Make sure to save and download the payment receipt and print it. You will need this for the visa interview at the U.S. consulate/embassy.
After paying SEVIS fee, the next step is to fill and complete a DS-160 form. The DS -160 form collects necessary information required from person seeking a non immigrant visa to the U.S. When you complete filling a DS-160 form it will have your unique DS 160 number and barcode. DS-160 form can be filled here https://ceac.state.gov/genniv/. (Immediately After starting the DS-160 application make a note/ take a picture of your Application ID and Security question answer for retrieval of application in the future.)
3. After paying the SEVIS fee, you can should now create a profile and fill your information for a U.S. F1 visa appointment at https://www.ustraveldocs.com/ . Please make sure that all your details are correct and double/triple check all the details while filling your application. Enter your DS 160, SEVIS number and i20 details in the F1 visa application form and schedule an appointment at your nearest/ convenient U.S. embassy/ consulate. Voila and all the best!
Documents to carry for the interview
Appointment confirmation letter/ email/ receipt.
Your valid passport.
DS -160 form and payment receipt.
A Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F1) Student Status (Form 1-20).
SEVIS payment receipt.
Letter of admission/acceptance from your Dental School.
Financial support documents (Current proof of support that shows you have enough funding to meet expenses for the program duration as indicated on Form I-20 (i.e. bank statements, scholarship letters or loan approval letters).
Letter of sponsorship and their bank statements in case of a sponsor.
2 U.S. Passport sized photos (3X3).
Dental license, graduation certificate, CV (Not compulsory).
the f1 visa interview
The visa officer at the consulate/ embassy will want to determine your reasons for travelling to the U.S. as a student. He/she will ask you sets of questions and determine whether you will receive the visa or not based on your responses and the information you have filled up on your visa application. Your responses should match with the information on your visa application and the I-20 form given by the dental school.
Most commonly asked questions
1) Why are you applying for this visa?
2) Why do you want to pursue this program in the U.S.?
3) Where did you finish your dentistry? when did you graduate?
4) Are you working/ employed? If yes, what is your income? can I see your tax returns?
5) How do you plan to fund the entire duration of your program?
6) What are your plans after the program?
1) Be confident. Do not seem unsure of what you are saying.
2) Communicate clearly. Your answers should be to the point and concise.
3) Do not lie. Especially when the information on your visa application form/ I-20 form might not match with your responses. For example - If you have any relatives in the U.S., do not say that you do not know anybody in the U.S. If your visa was rejected before, do not say that this is your first time for an appointment.
4) Dress well. Wear formals and ironed clothes.