F-1 Visa Application

- 6 mins


  1. Finish DS-160 form

  2. Make an appointment for interview

  3. Pay for the appointment

  4. SEVIS fee (optional)

  5. Interview with the embassy officer

  6. Other things


Website: http://www.ustraveldocs.com/cn_zh/cn-niv-ds160info.asp

Start your DS-160 from here. Pay attention to these things:

  1. Please remember your DS-160 application number. You will see it at once you start application. It is a code with 10 numbers or letters, such as ‘AA000WHE00’.

  2. You should prepare a photo with 51mm * 51mm. Its scale is different from other photos in China. (Important: The photo should be taken not earlier than six months, especially you have used it for another visa before. If the officer finds that your photo expired when you go to interview, you should take a new photo and waste a lot of time.)

  3. After finishing your DS-160, please remember print your DS-160 confirmation. The DS-160 application is not need. DS-160 confirmation must be taken with you when you go to the embassy.

Make an appointment for interview

Website: https://cgifederal.secure.force.com/?language=Chinese%20(Simplified)&country=China

Here you will choose the date and time to have an interview with the embassy officer. Pay attention to these things:

  1. Use your DS-160 confirmation number (DS-160 application number) to start an appointment application.

  2. You should pay for it through China CITIC Bank (more detailed procedure will be introduced in next part). When you start paying, you will get a CGI number. In the bank part, use this number to pay for your application.

  3. When you finish paying, you will get a receipt number (please read next part to know where to find it). You should go back to appointment application website and finish application with this number.

  4. Please remember print your appointment confirmation. Appointment confirmation must be taken with you when you go to the embassy.

Pay for the appointment

Website: https://etrade.citicbank.com/portalweb/USA_visaPayF.html (In most case the appointment application webiste will give you a link to jump.)

In this website you should pay for your appointment application. Pay attention to these things:

  1. Use your CGI number to start paying.

  2. According to my experience, the only successful paying method is to use UnionPay, although this method requires 0.3 percent service charge.

  3. After paying, you will get an email with receipt attached from China CITIC Bank. The receipt number will be in this email.

SEVIS fee (Optional)

Website: https://www.fmjfee.com

When I applied for F-1 visa, there is another procedure to finish. There is a SEVIS number in my I-20 form, and I should go to the above website to pay for SEVIS fee with this number. Pay attention to these things:

  1. You must pay for SEVIS fee one workday before your interview with the embassy officer.

  2. Use your I-20 SEVIS number to start paying procedure. You need prepare a credit card (Visa or MasterCard type).

05/04/2019 00:00

Interview with the embassy officer

You must take these things:

  1. Passport

  2. DS-160 confirmation

  3. Appointment confirmation

  4. SEVIS confirmation (I-901) (optional, for F-1 visa only)

  5. I-20 and Offer (optional, for F-1 visa only)

  6. Visa photo (51mm * 51mm)

  7. Other supporting materials (For example, if you will continue to get Master degree, you should prove you have enough financial resources with obvious evidence. If you want to travel, you may need to show your detailed travel plan.)

If you will attend graduate school as a Ph.D. student, you should also prepare these things:

  1. Personal resume

  2. Study plan

  3. Advisor resume

The process of interviewing with officer is (for U.S. Embassy in Beijing):

  1. Leave your package and unnecessary things outside the embassy. Actually you just need to take the things mentioned above with a transparent bag. There are some stores that offer paid service for keeping packages.

  2. Wait in line at the gate of embassy. There are three lines according to your interview time. Pay attention to waiting in the appropriate line. You need to show your appointment confirmation and passport at the gate.

  3. Wait in line before security check. You need to show your DS-160 confirmation and passport to the officers. They will attach DS-160 barcode to the back of your passport.

  4. Security check. You mustn’t take any electronic devices with you. Please leave them at the step 1.

  5. After security check, the offcier will ask for your passport again. Then wait in line before entering the embassy house.

  6. After entering the embassy house, wait in line. In the first floor, you should show your passport and other required materials at the service window. Then you need to finish the fingerprint in the same floor.

  7. After fingerprint, you will go to the second floor and wait in line. The officer will guide you to one service window and you will interview with the officer.

  8. After finishing the interview, the officer will keep your passport and probably give you a paper tape. If it’s blue, your application passes. If it’s yellow, it means you will be checked (adminstrative processing). If it’s white, sorry… It is also possible that the officer thinks that your materials are not enough or too brief, and the officer will give you a green sheet to ask for some required materials. In this case you don’t go to the embassy again. You need to email all the required materials according to the instruction in the green sheet.

Other things

  1. Even if you are applying for B visa, you should prepare your personal resume and are probably checked if your major is sensitive.

  2. Take cash with you. For example, my photo expired this time and I needed 50 yuan to take a new visa photo.

  3. Your visa photo should be taken not more than six months. At least don’t let the offcier finds the fact. My roommate uses the same photo for one year and applied for 3 different types of visa withour any problem. But I was asked to take a new one…

  4. If any person tells you that you should cancel another visa, please consult the offcier who you interview with. In most case it is unnecessary.

  5. Actually not all F-1 visa applicants will be checked. If your major is not sensitive, probably you will get your visa quickly. If your interview with the officer is pretty good, your apply may also not need administrative process. But for me, I major in computer engineering and I had a unpleasant conversation with the offcier, so I was asked to supplement my materials and email the embassy later…

05/15/2019 16:30

Kaixin Yang

Kaixin Yang


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