Hello guys. F-1 is an academic visa issued by the Government of the United States of America. Here's a little walkthrough for those first-timers.
1. Pay all the fees applicable. In my case, SEVIS fee and the DS-160 application fee.
SEVIS fee is USD200 and the DS-160 is MYR462. Take a picture with white background. You can just go to the photo studio and ask them for a USA visa picture. The picture printed will be 2" x 2". If they don't give you a CD, ask for one. You'll need the softcopy of the picture for your DS-160.
2. Before you proceed, please make sure you have your I-20 issued by the university, with no errors. In case of an error, have your university issue a new corrected I-20.
3. SEVIS = FMJFee.com (some site/letter refer the same site with different names)
You can pay the SEVIS fee here.
Please make sure you have a printer online. You will need to print the temporary confirmation page and bring it to the interview. Alternatively, you can print to file, or save the webpage to print later.
4. DS-160 = CEAC
First, go to an Alliance Bank near you, and ask for USA visa application form. It is the one with the US Embassy crest on top. Pay the MYR462 in hard cash and keep the Alliance Bank receipt. You'll need it at the interview.
5. Go to VFS home page here and click the "How to Apply for Non-Immigrant Visa" link at the sidebar on your left. Alternatively, you can just go to the DS-160 page directly, here.
6. Follow all the instructions and fill the DS-160 as accurate as you can. There will be a "Comment" section in the form. You may want to boast about yourselves there.
7. When finished, print the CEAC or also known as DS-160 confirmation page. It is also needed for your interview.
8. Repeat step 5 and go to Step 3 in that page. Schedule your interview. You will need the date on the Alliance Bank receipt to schedule your interview. If you encounter an error, do not panic. Try a different browser. I encountered an error in Firefox but it was ok using IExplorer. You will be asked to download a PDF file, which turns out to be your interview appointment letter. Print it. You'll need it later.
9. On the day of the interview, present your IC and your interview appointment letter to the security at the counter. Queue up and wait for them to open the gate and call you in.
You will go through the metal detector portal. Do it just like you're doing it in the airport. Try to avoid wearing belt with metal buckle. It would be tedious. If you're ok, you need to keep your electronic gadgets at the guard house. It is a good idea to just bring a phone. Leave your MP3 player and cameras at home or in car.
10. After the guard house, proceed to the main building and go through another metal detector. Take a number, and wait in the waiting room situated to your right.
11. First call, show your interview appointment letter. Hand in your number, DS-160 confirm page, SEVIS confirm page, Alliance Bank receipt, one photograph, and your current passport.
12. Second call, scan your fingerprints. All your fingers. Hands only of course.
13.Third call, interview. Most common question, "What are you going to USA for?". Other questions? Depends on the staff behind the glass of the counter.
14. Verdict. If you get a visa, you'll get a yellow card with instructions on it on how, when, and where to collect your visa and passport.
If you get a yellow A4 paper, the staff will tell you what is wrong with your application, and they'll call you for another interview. You don't have to pay the MYR462 again.
If you fail, well..... i didn't see anyone failed to get a visa this morning, so i don't know what they will tell you.
Here's the short version :
Pay SEVIS and Alliance Bank
Schedule an interview
Go to interview
Collect visa and passport
Checklist to interview :
previous passports you still have (if applicable)
interview appointment letter
Alliance Bank receipt
CEAC = DS-160 confirm page
SEVIS confirm page
FAS letter from JPA (if applicable)
TOEFL score report
SAT score report (if applicable)
transcript : if asked, tell them the final transcript is not ready yet. past semester grade reports will do
Important sites to visit :
SEVIS : http://www.fmjfee.com/i901fee
DS-160 : http://ceac.state.gov/genniv
It's shocking how the truth hurts so much.
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