United States

Any international student wanting to study in the United States will need to obtain a student visa for the USA. Most students are issued with an F1 visa. The general outline/process flow for obtaining an F1 visa is as follows:

Be Accepted at an SEVP Approved School (Zoni)

Before you can apply for your F1 student visa for the USA, you must apply to and be accepted by Zoni

Pay your SEVIS Fee and Receive your I-20

Once you’re accepted, you will be required to pay the SEVIS I-901 Fee in order to be enrolled in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). Then, Zoni will provide you with a Form I-20. This form will be presented to the consular officer when you attend your F1 visa interview. If your spouse and/or children plan to reside in the USA with you while you study, they will be required to have individual Form I-20s, but they do not need to be enrolled in the SEVIS.

Complete the Visa Application

Applying for the F1 student visa may vary depending on the U.S. embassy or consulate you are dealing with. You will be required to pay a non-refundable visa application fee. There is an online visa application available, which allows you to complete and print the Form DS-160 to take to your F1 visa interview.

Schedule and Prepare for your Interview

You can schedule your F1 visa interview with the U.S. embassy or consulate. Wait times for interview appointments vary by location, season, and visa category, so you should apply for your visa early. An F1 student visa for the USA can be issued up to 120 days in advance of your course of study start date. You will only be able to enter the US with an F1 visa 30 days before your start date.

The following documents are required for your F1 visa interview:

  • A valid passport
  • The Nonimmigrant Visa Application, Form DS-160
  • The application fee payment receipt
  • A passport photo
  • A Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F1) Student Status (Form 1-20)

Additional documents may be requested to prove your eligibility for the F1 student visa, including academic transcripts, diplomas, degrees, or certificates. You may also be requested, as well as proof of your intent to depart the U.S. after your program is complete and proof of your financial stability.

Attend your F1 Visa Interview

Your F1 visa interview will determine whether you are qualified to receive an F1 student visa for the USA. Assuming that you have prepared the appropriate documents and meet all of the F1 visa requirements, your visa will be approved at the discretion of the consular officer.

You may be required to pay a visa issuance fee. Digital fingerprint scans will be taken for records. Your passport will be taken so that you can get your visa and you will be informed when you can get it back, either by pick-up or in the mail.

Keep in mind that visa issuance is not guaranteed. Never make final travel plans until you have your visa approved. If your visa is denied, you will be given a reason based on the section of law which applies to your ineligibility.

What's an F-1 Student Visa?

The F-1 Visa (Academic Student) allows you to enter the United States as a full-time student. To learn English in America you will likely need an F-1 student visa. This depends on the number of weeks you will study, and the program type you choose.

In order to study on this visa you need to take a course of 18 hours or more per week, full time or Intensive English courses. If you would like to take the semi-intensive English course of 15 hours / 16 hours per week you would not be able to study on an F1 visa.

When you have been accepted onto an English course with Zoni, we swill end you an I-20 form. This is the first step in the student visa application process. With the I-20 form you can apply for an F-1 student visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate. A Form I-20 is a government form that tells the U.S. government that you are eligible for F-1 Student Status.

How do I get an I-20 Form?

Before Zoni sends out an I-20 you must send us:

  • Full or deposit payment for your course and accommodation.
  • A copy of your passport (personal information page).
    • A financial statement (bank statement) from you or a sponsoring business or individual which: The balance reflected at your financial statement goes according to the study destination and it must be valid for no more than 60 days. Please ask for the correct to your student service representative.
    • If the statement is not in your name, an Affidavit of Support form signed by the person whose bank statement you provide must also be submitted.

What is the processing time for an I-20?

Once we have received all of the above items we will issue your I-20. Your I-20 will be mailed by express mail service. Depending on your location, it typically takes 3 to 10 days for you to receive your I-20 after we have issued it.

KKeep in mind that we only send I-20s to the beneficiary and not third parties in compliance with federal regulations.

Due to Covid 19 protocols we are able to forward your I-20 by electronic file. Contact your designated school official for details.

How long may I stay on my visa?

On a student visa may stay as long as you are a full-time student, and maintain your student status, even if the F-1 visa in your passport expires while you are in America. After completing the course of your studies, you are allowed to stay for an extra 60 days to prepare for your return home. This 60-day grace period is dependent upon maintenance of student status, and upon completion of your full enrollment.

When should I apply for my visa?

Please visit https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/study/student-visa.html

U.S consulates require in person interviews for most visa applicants. You can schedule your visa appointment up to 120 days before your course start date and you will need to pay your SEVIS fee ($350 which can be paid online at https://www.fmjfee.com/i901fee/index.html) for your I-20 prior to the appointment.

When can I enter the USA?

According to federal regulations your student visa allow you to enter the USA up to 30 days before the reporting date shown on the I-20.

What's SEVIS?

SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) is the internet-based database system which tracks and stores information on the visa status and activities of international students holding F-1 and J- 1 visas in the USA.

Please note that the SEVIS fee (which students need to pay in order to apply for a visa) is $350. This money is not collected by Zoni but is payable directly to SEVIS. This fee is non-refundable even if a visa is denied.

Do I need health insurance?

It is not required by strongly advised. International students (F1 visa program students) are responsible for obtaining health insurance.

Transferring my I-20 to Zoni within the US

If you are interested in transferring to Zoni, please contact the Zoni center you would like to study at so we can confirm your status and give you the appropriate documents or call at + 212 736 9000

F-1 students are required to have a valid form I-20 from their current SEVP approved school of study at all times. Students who have been maintaining their F-1 student status at another SEVP approved school in the US may transfer to Zoni without leaving the US.

To obtain a Zoni I-20 without leaving the US, you must follow the ICE transfer procedure. DHS regulations require the transfer procedure be completed within the first 15 days of beginning attendance at Zoni; failure to follow this procedure, the student will end up out of status.

You can begin this process by submitting the required documents and completing your enrollment at Zoni. Once you have been accepted, you should notify the International Student Advisor at your current SEVP approved school of your intent to transfer to Zoni, and give them a copy of your acceptance letter and a signed transfer verification form in order for your SEVIS record to transfer to Zoni.

The transfer-out procedure must be requested within 60 days of completing your program at your current SEVP approved school.

Once your SEVIS record has been released to Zoni, we will issue your Zoni I-20. Students must pick up their I-20 at the school on their first week of class, after completing all the required orientations.

How do I maintain my student status?

Students on an F1 visa are required to study a minimum of 18 hours per week and maintain at least 70% overall attendance and showing academic progress in order to remain in full status.

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