Consulates and embassies can issue an F-1 visa up to 120 days prior to the start date of your program in the United States. If you apply for the visa more than 120 days before the beginning of your program, the U.S. consulate or embassy in your country will hold the visa until they can legally issue it. The US visa process is a multi pronged process. Following are the steps one goes through in the visa application process:
1- Apply to an SEVP-approved institution: First thing first, student is required to get admission in US government’s Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP).
2- Pay the SEVIS fee: Atleast three days before submitting an application, the student is required to pay SEVIS fee.
3- Complete a US student visa application: The student is required to complete online visa application. Personal details are required like Name, date of birth, Address, phone number, Passport details, Details of travel plans, and travel companions, Details of previous US travel, Your point of contact in the US Family, work and education details, Security, background and medical health information SEVIS ID and address of US school/program you intend to enroll in (as printed on I-20 or DS-2019 form)
4- Pay the visa application fee: Student is then required to pay online fees for the visa application.
5- US student visa interview: This is the final step required to obtain US student visa. Student has to appear for Visa interview in the consular office. There are certain documents that student is required to carry to the interview.