Tips for a Smooth DS-160 Application Process For F1 Visa: What You Need to Know
F1 Student Visa for Study Abroad
student visa US Student Visa

Tips for a Smooth DS-160 Application Process For F1 Visa: What You Need to Know

Latika Sharma
DS-160 Application Process For F1 Visa
DS-160 Application Process For F1 Visa

Is it your dream to study in the US? But the jitters of your big move are catching up, and now all you want to do is hop on a plane to a new country. All in good time, my friend, because you are ready for this incredible journey ahead of you.

From acing your tests to picking a college, you have tackled every challenge like a champ. It is time for the next step: nailing your US F1 visa. So give yourself a pat on the back because you have come a long way! Each step was a mix of excitement and nerves, but now that you look back, you're almost at the finish line. Fill out the DS-160 form for your US F1 visa and get your application rolling.

Table of Contents

What is the DS-160 Form?

Understanding F1 Visa

Applying for the F1 US Visa

Getting Form I-20

Filling Form DS-160

Documents Required to Apply for F1 Visa

Things To Remember While Applying For an F1 Visa



What is the DS-160 Form?

The DS-160 Form is an online application required by the US Department of State for non immigrant visas, such as student visas. It is a comprehensive application form required for different purposes such as tourism, business, studies, medical treatment, temporary work, or other short-term visits to the United States.

Completing this form is essential for visa application and determines your eligibility for a US visa based on the information provided.

Understanding F1 Visa

Understanding F1 Visa
Study Abroad

The DS-160 form is an essential step to getting your US F1 visa, and it is natural to feel excited and anxious as you fill in the details. But as you prepare yourself to complete each step of your student visa, this post will help you navigate through any pit stops during your application process.

F1 VISA to study in the United States 

You cannot travel on the Visa Waiver Program or with Visitor Visas

You must apply and get accepted by a SEVP-approved school in the United States

Complete the nonimmigrant visa application- DS-160

Comply with Photograph Requirements

Schedule an interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the country of residence.

Pay a non-refundable visa application fee

Gather additional documents for your visa interview

Applying for the F1 US Visa

The F1 US visa, also known as a student visa, is issued to international students who are interested in pursuing an academic or language course in a SEVP approved college or university in the States. A nonimmigrant visa, F1 will allow you to stay up to the duration of your course and 60 days beyond your academic program. Post this you will need to apply and be approved to stay in the US under the OPT program.

However, you cannot apply for a US F1 visa unless:

  • You are enrolled in either an academic educational program, a language program, or a vocational program.
  • You are accepted by a SEVP (Student Exchange and Visitor Program) and Immigration & Customs Enforcement-approved school. Once accepted, the US F1 visa permits international students like you to study and live in the country throughout your program.
  • Since the F1 is a student visa, you will not be allowed to work off campus or live permanently in the States. You must be a full-time student at the university.
  • You must be proficient in English or enroll in a course for English proficiency.
  • You must have sufficient funds to support your entire stay during your course.

You will need to maintain a residence abroad with no intention of giving it up.

Getting Form I-20

Form I-20 is the next crucial step for your US F1 visa and acts as proof of your status as a non-immigrant student. This 'Certificate of Eligibility' document is issued by a government-approved US educational institute. It allows you to stay in the US upon proving you have full-time admission and adequate funds to complete your education in a SEVP-approved school in the country.

Once accepted, reach out to your university to send you the form required for your visa interview and fee payment.

Filling Form DS-160

You must fill out the DS-160 form for a non-immigrant visa online. While it seems easy, their exhaustive list for the US F1 visa can leave you scrambling at the last minute.

Note: In an unfortunate scenario, your DS-160 session may time out. Do not panic a session timeout can happen due to many technical reasons or inactivity. If your browser is still open, you can recover your application by copying the application ID and clicking on the “Recover Application” icon.

Let's dive into the exciting journey of filling out the DS-160 Form step-by-step:

Step 1:
Get Started: Kick off the DS-160 application process, head over to the Department of State's website and select "Apply for a Nonimmigrant Visa" or "DS-160" from the menu. Create a new application and receive your unique application ID.

Step 2:
Security questions: Start by answering basic security questions about your background, like your full name, date of birth, country of birth, and passport number. It's crucial to provide accurate information to confirm your identity.

Step 3:
Personal Details: Enter your personal information, including your address, phone number, email, date of birth, gender, and marital status. Make sure your name matches exactly as shown on your passport.

Step 4:
Passport Information: Provide your passport details, such as the passport number, issuing country, and expiration date. Double-check everything for accuracy.

Step 5:
Family Information: Share details about your family members, including parents' names, birthdates, and occupations. Include information about your spouse and children if applicable.

Step 6:
Educational Background: Give details of your educational journey, including school names, attendance dates, and degrees earned. If you're currently studying, share details about your program.

Step 7:
Additional Security Questions: Answer more security questions about your travel and criminal history. Always be truthful to avoid visa application issues.

Step 8:
F-1 Visa Details: If you're applying for an F-1 student visa, provide specifics about your intended program of study, school details, start and end dates, and funding sources.

It is mandatory to complete the form in English. Once complete, you can review the page and choose the interview location, which can be either the U.S. Embassy or the consulate.

After successfully submitting form DS-160 for the US F1 visa, print the confirmation page. The page includes a barcode that serves as proof for your visa interview.

Documents Required to Apply for F1 Visa

Don't leave things for the nick of the moment; keep these documents ready:

  • Passport
  • Form I-20
  • Passport-sized photograph to upload
  • Dates and evidence of any international travel in the last five years, especially to the US
  • Address and US travel itinerary- tickets
  • Parent’s details
  • Your education details and history
  • Resume

Things To Remember While Applying For an F1 Visa

  • Keep Documents Ready

Applying for a US F1 visa follows a stringent timeframe. With limited time, you need to keep your US travel itinerary, passport details, and previous travel details handy when filing the form online.

  • Accuracy

Ensure the details filled in the DS-160 form are accurate. Even a small mistake can

affect your US F1 visa application.

  • Application ID

You will be given an application ID when you begin filing your DS-160 form online for your US F1 visa. It is important to keep a note of it in case your session times out and you need to retrieve the form later.

  • Auto Save

When applying for the US F1 visa, it is important to remember that the DS-160 form does not automatically save your details online. If you stop in between make sure to save the changes to avoid filling the entire form again.

  • Review and Print

Eligibility criteria for the US F1 visa is not always breezy. It is always advisable to review the form before submitting it. Once done, keep a print out of the confirmation for documentation purposes. It will be needed during your visa interview.

  • Get Help

There’s always help available if you look in the right place. Zolve offers you expert assistance from personalized DS-160 form filing to professional mock visa interviews for the US F1 visa, so that you can have a hassle-free visa experience.


A US F1 visa is your key to endless opportunities that lie ahead. After you have successfully completed your applications, it’s time to plan your finances. You will want to take some measures to ensure your program fees, stay and other expenses are planned to ease your transition in a new country. For instance, timely payment of tuition, apartment rent, and monthly expenditures need to be calculated beforehand. Zolve serves as an intermediary, facilitating access to collateral and non-collateral loans from Banks or NBFCs based on your needs.


  1. How can I increase my chances of getting an F1 visa?

There is no sure shot guarantee of getting an US F1 visa. However, if you are a diligent student who has been accepted by a university in the US, has the funds to pay and follows the application process to the T- chances are pretty good your visa will get approved.

  1. Is it difficult to fill DS 160 form?

No, filling the DS-160 form is not difficult. But it does require you to be prepared with important details that must be carefully filled online. You can always get help from experts like Zolve.

  1. How can I avoid visa rejection?

Visas are sometimes rejected because all the mandatory fields in the form were not filled. Carefully review each detail before submitting your application.

  1. What is the next step after DS 160?

After successfully completing your DS 160 application you submit it online. Next you have to contact the consulate or embassy with which you want to apply for an interview and schedule a day for the same.

  1. How long is DS 160 valid?

The DS 160 form is valid for 30 days from the day you start the application process. If you are unable to complete the form submission within the timeframe, you will need to start again.