Want to Study in the US?
We have successfully helped numerous Nigerian students in securing their F1 visas. If you’re looking to study in the US and need guidance on where to begin, reach out to us for expert support. Our team of lawyers is here to address any questions you may have regarding your visa application and fees.
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Overview of the F1 Visa Fee
To complete your application, you must pay two main fees. Firstly you must pay the I-901 SEVIS fee. This will place you on the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System, which is a database that tracks all of the foreign students studying in the USA. This lies at $350 as of June 2023. You also need to pay the entirely non-refundable visa application fee of $185.
Despite these high fees, Nigerians have lower costs than some other nations. This is because the visa issuance fee is waived for Nigerians. Issuance is the process by which the US government gives someone a visa after their successful application, and this comes with an additional charge for residents of some countries.
What is the F1 Student Visa?
An F1 Student visa gives Nigerians the right to study various courses in the United States. It gives you access to the following institutions:
- University and college.
- High school.
- Private elementary school.
- Language training program.
Please note that you cannot study for a vocational course on an F1 Student visa. In this case, you must look into the “M” type visa.
Having an “F” type Student visa is always necessary to study at the listed institutions in the USA. If you try to study on a Visitor visa, you will be breaking the conditions of your visa, which may lead to you getting.
Paying an F1 Student Visa Fee
For all non-immigrant visa fees, you will make the payment while attending your interview. This will be made to the Embassy’s cashier directly. There are a range of different payment methods you can use.
Firstly, you can pay the visa fee in cash based on the current exchange rate from Nigerian Naira to US dollars or Great British pounds.
If you don’t want to pay in cash, you can use various credit and debit cards. The cards supported by the United States immigration services include the following:
- Diners Club.
- American Express.
The US government will not accept any other credit and debit cards. You are also not allowed to pay your visa fee as a check.
You will have to pay the visa fee for your interview. If you don’t pay this fee, your interview will be terminated, and you risk your case being closed.
How United States Visa Fees are Changing
The United States announced a wholesale increase to their visa application fees which came into effect on May 30th 2023 . This increase is effective across nearly every non-immigrant visa, all of which are seeing increases of $10-$110. The visa fee increases to keep an eye on are as follows:
- “B” (business and tourism) and “F” (student) type visas from $160 to $185.
- “H, L, O, P, Q and R” (non-immigrant temporary workers) type visas from $190 to $205
- “E” (treaty trader and investor) type visa from $205 to $315.
The US consulate in Lagos has stated that these fee increases are “based on the actual cost of providing NIV services.”
These increases may be concerning for Nigerians wanting to study in the United States. While the change in “F” type visa fees is marginal at $25, the changes to the “E” type visa shows that the US government is prepared to drastically increase visa fees for Nigerians.
When you apply for an F1 Student visa, you need to follow the standard procedure for applying for a non-immigrant visa. This process has two principal stages:
- Preparing forms and documents.
- Attending an interview and paying the application fee.
This process is broken down in the following section.
Preparing Forms and Documents
The first stage is to prepare all necessary forms and documents. The main form to complete is Form DS-160. This is the standard form that is required for a non-immigrant visa application. It will ask you for a range of personal information and information about your reasons for applying for the visa. The form also confirms your past history with the United States and whether you are eligible to enter the nation.
Attending an Interview and Paying the Application Fee
Nearly all applicants for an F1 Student visa will need to attend a visa interview. They are required in almost every case for non-immigrant visa applicants from 14 to 79 years old.
You can schedule an appointment with the US Consulate in Lagos or the Embassy in Abuja online. When writing in June 2023, the wait time for an appointment for an F1 Student visa was 53 days in Lagos or 205 days in Abuja.
At the interview, you will hand in documentation, pay the US visa fee, verify information on your application, and have biometric information taken, such as fingerprints.
Documentation for Nigerians' Applications for an F1 Student Visa
When Nigerians apply for their F1 Student visa, they will need to show the application fee payment receipt. This proves that you have successfully paid any required fees and can proceed with your application. However, there are a number of additional pieces of documentation to pull together for your application which include the following:
- A valid passport.
- A completed Form DS-160.
- A passport-style photograph.
- A Certificate of Eligibility for Non-immigrant (F-1) Student status. Your school will send you this once you are entered into the SEVIS database.
In some cases, further documentation will be required if the immigration authorities believe you need further evidence to prove you are eligible. This includes evidence that you are:
- Sufficiently qualified to complete the study you have enrolled in.
- You intend to depart the United States after you have completed your course.
- You have enough money to pay for educational, living, and travel costs.
How Can IAS Help?
The US visa fee for an F1 Student visa is undeniably high and could continue to rise. However, it will never be refunded if your application is refused. In most cases, you must re-apply and pay the application fee again. The only way to avoid this cost is to invest in specialist visa advice and legal representation. IAS has an expert team of immigration lawyers who can help you to perfectly complete your visa application and maximize your chances of success.
Last modified on October 26th, 2023 at 11:27 am
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The F1 Student visa is contingent on your participation in a full-time course. However, you will also be allowed to work part-time. This work must be no longer than 20 hours per week and must be conducted on campus. Therefore, it is not permitted for work to be the only thing that financially supports you.
Taking part in certain actions may result in you losing an F1 Student visa. In most cases, you will have to leave the country when this happens. You may lose your F1 visa if you:
- Work illegally.
- Stay past the expiry date.
- Transfer to a new school or change classes without official approval.
- Have a poor attendance record.