Studying in the USA as an International Student and F-1 Visa Requirements

International studentsDeciding to move to a new country is a big decision that takes a lot of courage. Choosing which school and in which state to study can determine a student’s educational experience, as well as their personal experience with the United States.

Why Choose to Study in the United States?

The United States is more than just a popular destination for international students to attend higher education courses. In fact, it could almost be considered an international student headquarters. The United States hosts more international students than any other country in the world—and the number of international students in the country continues to grow with each passing year.

A 2011 study showed that 74.9% of prospective international students identified the United States as their primary preferred study destination. The next runner up was the United Kingdom, at just 8.4%. These numbers lead to an obvious conclusion: the US is a highly sought after destination when international studies are concerned. Prospective students ranked the US high on their lists across a number of factors, including but not limited to:

  • The Range of Programs Offered
  • The Quality of Education
  • The Country’s Safety
  • The Cost of Tuition
  • How Welcoming that Particular Country is to International Students

However, this study was based on the opinions of students who had not yet attended school in the United States. What about students who have already completed a program in the United States?

This question is what led USA Today to ask an even tougher question. After students left the US, would they recommend their learning abroad experience to others? Well, as it turns out, the students in question would in fact recommend studying on US soil for a number of reasons. With all these factors in mind, it’s safe to say that the US is the best place for international students to attend school.

Why Choose to Study in South Florida?

A growing, changing, and diverse population adds to the excitement of learning in a new place, making South Florida an excellent location for learning. There are still other aspects that make South Florida a prime destination for international students.

South Florida is a popular tourist attraction, thanks to its busy streets, mild weather year round and beautiful waters that surround the area. International students who choose to study elsewhere in the US might never have the opportunity to come visit warm South Florida. Why not just spend the entire time in the Sunshine State, experiencing everything this location has to offer? Study and stay where the rest of the world vacations: in South Florida.

Why Study at Florida National University (FNU)?

Making the decision to study at FNU is pretty easy when it comes down to it. The following are factors that might sway a student’s decision toward the establishment:

  • FNU is Affordable. FNU offers students in-state tuition, something that most colleges do not offer to international students.
  • FNU is Diverse. FNU’s diverse culture and student body offer a level of familiarity and comfort for international students that many establishments do not offer.
  • Quality Education. FNU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate, baccalaureate, and master degrees.
  • Experienced Professors. FNU seeks out professors who are actively practicing in their field, meaning that they have an up to date understanding of the industry. This enables them to prepare students to their best of the ability to be successful in this field.

What is Studying Like in the US?

Students who are eligible to be enrolled in university-level courses must be prepared to take on adult responsibilities. Students must attend class and should be prepared to speak up with any questions.

All work must be completed at a satisfactory level in order to advance in one’s program of study. There are very few students under the age of 18, which means that students on the university campus are considered adults. That means that each student’s decisions come with consequences—both positive and negative.

Visa Requirements

International students must be careful to understand and follow all of the requirements needed in order to obtain an F-1 Visa. This is the visa that allows students to enter and study in the US. Before obtaining an F-1 Visa, students must obtain an I-20.

I-20 Visa

An I-20 is a U.S. government form issued by an accredited institution. This shows that the visa applicant meets enrollment and financial requirements of the institution, and has been accepted into one of the programs. Before applying at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate for an F or M student visa, students must first apply to a Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) approved school and be accepted.

There are several steps to apply for a visa. The order and manner in which these steps are completed may vary, depending on the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where students apply. Review the instructions on the embassy or consulate website where you intend to apply.

F-1 Visa

According to the US government, to enter the United States to attend a university or college, high school, private elementary school, seminary, conservatory, or another academic institution, including a language-training program, students need an “F” visa. To attend a vocational or other recognized nonacademic institution, other than a language-training program, students need to acquire an “M” visa.


Before applying, it is important to know that this process will take several steps to complete. The order in which these steps are completed may vary at the US Embassy or Consulate where students apply. The following are the steps, as described by the US Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs:

  • “Complete the Online Visa Application: Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application, Form DS-160 – Learn more about completing the DS-160. You must: 1) complete the online visa application and 2) print the application form confirmation page to bring to your interview.
  • You will upload your photo while completing the online Form DS-160. Your photo must be in the format explained in the Photograph Requirements.
  • Schedule an Interview.
  • While interviews are generally not required for applicants of certain ages outlined below, consular officers have the discretion to require an interview of any applicant, regardless of age.” (US Government).

Still have questions? Review the US Department of Homeland Security’s easy to follow timeline and step-by-step guide.

FNU: Welcoming Students Across the Globe

If you are ready to begin your education in the United States, then it’s time to get started. Be sure to get started on applying for your student visas and apply to FNU now!