All You Need to Know about the New F1 visa rules for 2022
If you are planning to apply for an F1 student visa to fulfill your dream of studying in the US, you must first find out about the new F1 visa rules for 2022.
Since the US continues to be one of the top destinations for Indian students, tens of thousands of student visa applications are submitted every year.
The good news is that the response to F1 visa applications has been overwhelmingly positive, and the visa issued numbers are more or less back to their pre-pandemic levels, thanks to the high approval rates.
In fact, between January and May of 2022, more than 14,600 F1 student visas were issued across the five US consulates in India.
Fresh interview slots opened up on June 26 for those who applied for student visas in the F, M, and J categories in an effort to arrive at the campus by the middle of August.
What is The F1 Visa and what are The New F1 Visa Rules in 2022?
The F1 Visa for academic students is a non-immigrant visa that lets international students enter the United States to study at colleges and universities that are certified by the SEVP or Student and Exchange Visitor Program.
The F1 visa is the most sought-after option for students who are seeking to pursue UG or PG courses in the US. Aspiring students can apply for this visa once an accredited institution accepts their application.
How long you can stay in the US with an F1 visa will be determined by the program, in which you have enrolled. The I-20 form that you will receive from your chosen university will include the expiration date for the program, and you will need to earn your degree within that time frame.
Updates Related to the F1 Visa New Rules 2022
Before we get into the new F1 visa rules for 2022, let’s touch on a few significant news and updates.
Last year, the US Embassy and the consulates in India opened student visa interviews fairly late on June 14 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. By then, a large number of students had already received their I-20 documents from their respective universities in the US and were waiting for the interviews.
This year, however, the student visa interviews opened relatively early with the officials hoping to issue more than the record-breaking number of 62,000 visas that were issued last year.
The Embassy opened its first batch of interview slots in May for dates in June as well as the first half of July. On June 24, the US Embassy in India announced the opening of new interview slots for students who had I-20 forms and wanted to apply for visas in the F, M, and J categories.
Explaining the F1 Visa New Rules
The US Embassy recently proposed some changes to the visa application process. According to reports, the new F1 visa rules 2022 address two of the major problems that the embassy faced last year.
Firstly, their computer system had crashed due to the large number of visa applications submitted from India. Secondly, a large portion of the visa interview slots had been bought by people who weren’t actually genuine applicants.
Although the embassy received good and genuine applications the first half of the season, the second half was filled with applicants who were coming for a second or third time after having been rejected earlier.
Needless to say, the latter was unfair to genuine students who did not even get their first chance.
As per the F1 visa new rules, students who have already been refused once in the summer/spring of 2022 will not be able to get another visa interview this year. The US government has made some software changes to filter out candidates that have already been rejected.
The new F1 visa rules for 2022 also state that applicants should repeatedly check the US embassy website for interview dates, and they should schedule appointments after receiving the necessary documents from their chosen universities. No special timeline has been announced for them.
Besides the new F1 visa rules in 2022, the visa interview waiver scheme has benefitted many Indian students. The scheme, authorized by the US Department of State, waives in-person interview requirements for some applicants as well as their qualifying derivatives in several non-immigrant visa classifications including the F1 student visa.
Indian students who wish to travel back home to visit families are using the visa waiver drop box. The scheme also aims to make it easier for the parents of Indian students to visit their children in the US.
Is the F1 Visa Right for You as Per the New F1 visa rules 2022?
The new F1 visa rules 2022 do not necessarily affect your eligibility for the visa, and nor do they determine whether the F1 visa is right for you. To know if you should apply for the F1 student visa, you should consider the following.
As we have shown you above, the F category of student visa is applicable to students who want to pursue specific courses or programs under certain institutions. If you are in the initial stages of planning your higher studies in the US, chances are you have not applied to any college or university yet. You may not even be sure about which course or program you want to pursue.
In that case, the best thing you can do is rely on AI to help you with your research. SelectRight is one such AI-based tool that can help you find the best universities and programs for your academic goals. SelectRight uses over 6 million data points across 10,000+ MBA, STEM, and CS programs to provide you with unbiased and transparent recommendations.
The F1 student visa has a significantly broad application and some very clear rules. That is why relying on SelectRight from the get-go can help you narrow down your search and streamline your efforts.
Frequently Asked Questions about the F1 Student Visa
Apart from the F1 visa new rules, you may have several pertinent questions about the visa application process. Here, we will go over some of the most frequently asked questions related to the F1 student visa.
What Are The Eligibility Requirements for The F1 Student Visa?
Understanding the eligibility requirements is an absolute must before applying for the F1 student visa. You need to meet several rules and requirements to be eligible for this visa, and the new F1 visa rules 2022 have not affected these requirements.
The college or university where you are planning to apply must be approved by the SEVP Immigration & Customs Enforcement.
You must be enrolled at the college or university as a full-time student while your academic term is in session.
Proficiency in the English language
You must meet the English language proficiency score required by the college or university where you will be attending, or you must enroll in courses to improve your proficiency in English.
You would need to submit proof of funds to show that you can meet the financial obligations associated with living and studying in the US.
You need to make sure that your passport is valid for traveling in the US for at least six months after your course or program ends.
Home country residency
You must maintain a residence in your home country with the intention of returning after completing your course and earning your degree.
How to Apply for a F1 Student Visa?
The application process for the F1 visa remains the same even after the F1 visa new rules were announced. Here are a few steps you need to take to ensure your application goes smoothly:
- Get admission into a SEVP-certified college or university before submitting the visa application.
- Pay the SEVIS fee.
- Complete the DS-160 visa application.
- Submit the I-20 form, which you will receive after being accepted by the institution, with your F1 visa application.
- Schedule a visa interview.
- Attend and ace your visa interview.
With these steps complete, you are ready to submit your F1 student visa application.
What Are The Admission Requirements for The F1 Student Visa?
You need to have certain documents ready before attending your visa interview. The good news is that the new F1 visa rules 2022 have not altered the documentation requirements. Make sure to have these handy when you go for the visa interview:
- A valid passport
- The I-20 form
- Printed copies of the I-901 SEVIS payment and DS-160 confirmations.
- A photo of yourself that you intend to use for your visa.
- School transcripts as well as official test scores mentioned on your college/university application.
- Diploma (if applicable).
- Bank statements or other proof of funds.
The consular officer will evaluate these documents, and they may also request additional documents as per the new F1 visa rules 2022. These might include:
- Standardized test scores that your chosen college or university requires.
- Academic records including degrees, transcripts, diplomas, or certificates from institutions you have attended.
- Proof of your intent to leave the US once your course or program is completed.
- Statements that prove your ability to fulfill all financial obligations including living, travel, and educational costs.
Make sure to carry these additional documents when you go for the interview.
Does a Full Scholarship Mean Guaranteed F1 Student Visa?
Simply put, getting a full scholarship does not guarantee an F1 student visa, but it might make the chance of approval higher.
Providing proof of funds is a crucial step in the visa application process, and if you don’t have the required sum in your bank account, a scholarship will certainly help.
Those who don’t have a scholarship can provide a loan approval letter as proof of funds. If you are struggling to get a bank loan, FundRight can help you find a loan within 2 days!
FundRight is India’s first student loan bidding platform. Here, 14 lenders compete to get you the best loan offers and quick approval.
Wrapping Up: Do the New F1 Visa Rules 2022 Benefit Students in India?
The new F1 visa rules 2022 aim to streamline the visa application process, and it bodes well for students in India.
The education sector in the US is slowly bouncing back from the setback posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Currently, the US consulates in India are issuing two-thirds the number of F1 visas that they did before the pandemic, but thanks to the new F1 visa rules of 2022 along with some other measures, they are hoping to get back to 100% by 2023.