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How do I apply for F1 visa?

How do I apply for F1 visa?
VISA & Predeparture

How do I apply for F1 visa?

dos-and-donts-of-f1-visa-application-process.

[1] I have been offered to pay for my program by working as a teaching or research assistant. Do I need to get a work visa?
No. Work in the university which is related to your program of study does not require an additional visa beyond your student visa. 

[2] Do I have to pay SEVIS FEE for my dependents? 
No, Sevis Fee has to be paid for the student only. Separate DS-160 forms will have to be filled out for dependents.

[3] I have made a mistake in my DS-160 Form but the visa appointments are already booked. What shall I do?       
Inform the customer service in case of errors, they will make the required changes from the back-end.

[4] I was filling up ds160 form and have difficulty in answering following questions

1. Have u made specific travel plans?           
2. Where will u stay in US?
3. Give your US contact information.

I have filled the address on the i20 for question 2 & 3. 
I have currently answered NO for question 1. Is it ok?            

Regarding question 1, do I need to specify there that I am going for studying and my course will be for 24 months. They have already asked the information about the course once I have  selected the type of visa I am applying for.
For point no. 1 it does not matter. You can mention No or give any tentative date. For studying say Yes and give the course duration as given in the I-20 document.  

[5] What work experience documents do i require at the time of Visa Interview for my Internship? Also what approximately salary should I fill in the DS-160 form?
A letter stating that you have worked at the company as intern from dd/yy to dd/yy and say $0 and mention that it was an unpaid internship. If $0 is not allowed, write $1. 

[6] There is a discrepancy in my name in both the documents. I am not sure which one to follow while filing DS160 and visa form. Can you please confirm?
In passport ->
Surname :__________
Given name : Shailesh Shah             

In i20 ->
Surname: Shah
Given name: Shailesh
Your i-20 is fine

While paying the Sevis Fee the name has to be as per the I-20 document. For the DS-160 form and visa appointments your name as per your passport.

[7] Course name in admit letter: Information management (MSIM) and Course name in i20: Information Science/Studies. One student contacted “Admissions counselor of the university and they said we should mention MSIM in DS160 and in visa interview.” However, I dropped a mail to uwgrad (their grad committee) and this is what they replied “The name on the I-20 corresponds with SEVIS sip code rather than your department tittle.  The coding is correct on your I-20.” 

Now I am not sure what should be mentioned in DS160. Can you please suggest something?
you can give MSIM for DS-160, its fine. if you want you can add in brackets information science.

[8] If I pay the SEVIS fees with the number provided on one i20 and then before going for OFC receive an admit from a better university, which I wish to attend now, how do I go about the process?
If you have not received a visa, you can transfer the SEVIS fee that you already paid to another Form I-20 if you meet the basic rules for reapplying fees. Follow the directions for requesting that SEVP move your fee payment on the following link: http://www.ice.gov/sevis/i901/faq7.htm#_Toc81222153

[9] If your name in DS-160 Form does not match the Passport then you will have to fill a new DS-160 Form.
1. Speak to the customer service and ask them to get it changed. 
2. Alternatively, on the day of the OFC you can get a new DS-160 form made by paying Rs. 200.

[10] For State/Province should I fill Maharashtra or Thane? My passport has Thane in the address.
Thane is a city in the state of Maharashtra. Hence, Maharashtra.

[11] It is given that one cannot apply for visa earlier than 120 days from the start date on the I20. Does this mean that one cannot apply for visa before 120 days OR the visa interview date should not be earlier than 120 days from the start date on the i20. The date on my i20 is 22 September. So can I book a date in the month of June now or I would have to book a date after 22 may.
The visa Interview Date cannot be before 120 days. You can do the visa application process now and take a date after 22nd May.      

[12] For Ds-160 Form, what do I write for Current Occupation? I am working on my own and earnings are not fixed.
Self Employed and give an average of your earnings.

[13] When should I book my flight tickets? After VISA interview or as early as possible? My college will start on 22 September. So I am planning to go in first week of September.
There are 2 sides to it. What if you book your tickets and then do not get the visa (chances extremely less). Similarly, if you wait till you get the visa, the prices must have gone through the roof at the last minute. So the best thing to do is book your tickets in advance, but refundable tickets. You should talk to the travel agents to work out the best prices, group discounts, etc. 

[14] If I transfer the amount through the online transaction , how do we get the receipt and the confirmation that it is activated?
You may receive an email from them saying that the receipt has been activated. But do keep checking yourself as well. Through NEFT, it gets activated in 3 hours.

[15] I have cousins living in USA. Is it okay if answer immediate relatives and other relatives as ‘NO’ in DS-160?
Immediate relatives = NO. If they are 1st cousins, then “other relatives” = yes. If 2nd cousins and different surname, then NO.

[16] Are you applying in the same country or location where the visa above was issued, and is this country or location your place of principal of residence? That means Mumbai?
Yes, you have to give the city the passport was issued at. 

[17] Have you ever been ten printed? I don’t remember whether only two prints or ten prints were taken.
Then say No

[18] US point of Contact Information? on I-20 there is one guy who signed my form (International admission Adv.) or whom should I mention?
The international advisor given on the third page of the I-20 is the point of contact.

[19]  I don’t have my seventh and eighth semester mark sheet. Also, I don’t course completion certificate or provisional degree certificate. Should I wait for these documents or book visa appointment right now?
You can book the date. Its ok if you carry semester 1-6 marksheets with you for the interview. If they ask for the documents, then you can tell them that the college issues the marksheets for 7 and 8 semesters together around July.

[20] Which one will be needed as a financial proof of money kept in a bank: A Bank Passbook or a bank statement?
Either is fine. It should be an original.   

[21] While paying the visa fee through NEFT my bank wants the address for Bank of America and that detail is not given on the instruction page. What should i do?
Google the IFSC Code for the branch address. For example: If the IFSC Code is BOFA0MM6205 the after searching in google you will get the following: 

[22] I transferred the visa fee by NEFT from HDFC Bank to Bank of America.  I received a mail from the bank saying that the bank account number is invalid. What shall I do?

Every student is given a unique bank account number. Verify the Os and zeros properly and see if you have not made any error in entering the account number and other details. If everything is right, then discard the NEFT transaction and go for the Axis Bank method and deposit directly in the account.

[23] I am a student currently but had an internship last year so what should I mention for current work experience?
For primary occupation say “Student” and fill in the company details. In the monthly salary you could either give “zero” or the amount you were earning. In briefly describe your duties, write internship or training.

 [24] Made an error in the SEVIS Form. I have already made the payment how do I rectify it?
Call 703-603-3400 OR Send an e-mail to [email protected] with the problem in the subject line. Explain the problem and give your name, date of birth, SEVIS ID number and the correct address for the receipt.

[25] I had requested for the surrender value of the LIC policy but they customer service emailed back saying that it is not advisable to surrender the policy and gave me approximately figures in the mail itself. Will it suffice?
Email may not be sufficient. Students usually get the letter from LIC – you can contact the branch or agent. Else, take your original policy papers along with the email — if the above is not possible.

[26] As I am a 2013 passout and I am not doing a job, I wanted to know what all should I include in the explanation text box provided in the employment section. I have worked as a volunteer in a NGO (Lions Club) for some months, have written a research paper which got published in IJCA in April 2014 and have learnt languages like python, PHP and R programming. I wanted to know if I should mention all of these or just focus on research paper.
For DS-160 form only mention the research paper.

[27] Do we need official GRE and TOEFL scorecards for the visa interview or a print-out will work? I have TOEFL but I will need to order GRE scorecard from ETS which might take a while to come I’m assuming.
Printout is fine.

[28] Is provisional degree certificate absolutely necessary on visa day?
A lot of fellow applicants are even carrying it to OFC!
Not required for OFC. If you have received it then carry it for the visa interview day else just tell the VO I haven’t received it yet from my college.

[29] The DS-160 wants the address where I will be living in US. I have not booked my accommodation yet. What do I give?
There is a sample ds-160 form on the Colegepond website under the visa section. Refer to that while filling up the form. For now, your US address is the university address given on the I-20 Document.

[30] I have put my primary occupation as a student under the work experience column but however my dad has kept a monthly income on my name for tax purpose. So should I mention that, and if do I will require a description for the same.
Do not mention anything about the income. Just say you are a student and studying a, b, c courses in your duties. If you had any internships or part-time you could give details for those.

[31] I’m going to show shares etc. from both my parents’ accounts (separate accounts). Do I need two separate affidavits of support? Also, for shares and stock statements, how do I show the present value of the shares? Will a screenshot of the last known price from moneycontrol.com or something be enough?
Make one affidavit of support with both their names in it. Get a valuation statement from the place where you have your DMAT a/c, it will come with the quantity, price and value as of that day. Some may charge Rs. 100 to get this done.

[32] My mother is currently in the US for leisure purpose and will be returning back by mid-July and i intent to apply for my visa by the first week of June. So, in the question where it asks about Family Information Relatives: Mother, Q. is your mother in U.S? yes/no. what should my answer be?
Ans: Yes, but make sure it is not related to green card.

[33] I am going to pay the visa fee via NEFT. Will the receipt number be mailed to me?
For every successful NEFT transaction, your Bank will provide a UTR number (Unique Transaction Reference No.). For example, if you do the a NEFT transaction with a branch of Union Bank of India, the Union Bank of India will provide the UTR No. to you which can be used to track the transaction later. So, UTR number is a unique code for identifying the NEFT transaction.

[34]Have you been ten printed?
If you have then say “Yes”. If not or don’t remember, then say “No”.

[35] Do i need a transfer certificate or a leaving certificate from college?
Transfer cert is not applicable. Take the leaving certificate from college. It is usually issued 6mths after your graduation. 

[36] Since I currently have a USA B1/B2 visa, do I need to take an OFC appointment?
Yes       

[37] I have made a mistake in my ds160 form. I have put the tentative arrival date as 28th August however the program start date is 25th August. So will it cause an issue and will it invite more questions from the VO? 
You will have to amend the DS-160 form.

[38] My father and mother are sponsoring me and I am also carrying my grandfather’s fund as an additional backup if they ask. Can I include all three names in single affidavit?
Yes

[39] Procedure to change the visa interview date.
Click on the following link and Login. http://www.ustraveldocs.com/in/in-niv-appointmentschedule.asp
Under Profile you can make changes online. You can also contact the call center +912267209400/ +911206602222 for any help with appointment.   

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