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 Applying for an F-1 student visa outside the US


You first must apply to study at an INS-approved school in the United States. When you contact a school that you are interested in attending, you should be told immediately if the school accepts foreign national students. If you are accepted, the school should give you INS Form I-20 A-B/ID (Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F-1) Student Status - for Academic and Language Students). If you require a visa, then you should take the INS Form I-20 to the nearest U.S. consulate to obtain a student visa. Only bring the INS Form I-20 from the school you plan on attending for visa processing at the U.S. consulate. You must also prove to the consulate that you have the financial resources required for your education and stay in the United States.

When you arrive in the United States, you should receive an INS Form I-94 (Arrival-Departure Record) that will include your admission number to the United States. An INS inspector will write this admission number on your INS Form I-20 A-B/ ID. The INS inspector will then send pages one and two of this form, known as I-20 A-B, to your school as a record of your legal admission to the United States. You are expected to keep pages three and four, known as the I-20 ID. This document is your proof that you are allowed to study in the United States as an F-1 student. You should see your designated school official (DSO) if you need a replacement copy of your I-20 ID. You should also keep safe your INS Form I-94, because it proves that you legally entered the United States.




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