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Updated Guidance on F-1 Visa Issuance

student visa

In February 2023, the U.S. Department of State (DOS) provided updated guidance that consular officers can now issue an F or M student visa up to 365 days in advance of an international student’s program start date. This new guidance does not change the requirement for issuing Forms I-20, “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status,” in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), paying the I-901 SEVIS Fee or seeking admission into the United States.

Students can only enter the United States 30 days before the program start date listed on their Form I-20. Students who attempt to enter the United States more than 30 days before their program start date may be found inadmissible by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

To help ensure smooth entry into the United States, students and school officials should confirm the following prior to arrival at a U.S. port of entry:

  • Students have an active I-901 SEVIS Fee payment on the Form I-20 that they are traveling under.
  • The name of the school on the Form I-20 matches the name of the school on the visa.
  • Student financial information remains up to date in SEVIS.
  • Students do not attempt to enter the United States more than 30 days in advance of their Program Start Date.

Increase in Student and Exchange Visitor Visa Fee

DOS published a final rule announcing an increase to certain nonimmigrant visa application processing fees, including student and exchange visitor visa fees (F, M and J). The cost for student and exchange visitor visas will increase from $160 to $185 and will take effect on May 30, 2023.

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