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F1 Visas: What is it and how do I get one?

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Are you an international student looking to receive a US student visa? University of the Cumberlands welcomes students from over 40 countries on an annual basis, so we have knowledge on how this procedure works. This process may seem complex at the outset, and with good reason, but we have put together a blog on what is needed for this task.

What is an F1 Visa?

F1 visas allow international students to legally reside in the United States while attending colleges, high schools, foreign language programs, or other academic institutions. The visa is only available for full-time students. Typically, students are permitted to remain in the U.S. for up to 60 days after they complete their academic programs, although those who work under F1's Optional Training Program may be able to stay longer.

F1 Visa Qualification

Aspiring international students must meet the following basic requirements before being permitted to legally study in the United States:

  • Applicants must have strong ties to their home country. These can be demonstrated via family connections, financial assets, or job offer letters
  • Aspiring students must demonstrate that they possess sufficient financial support
  • Students must have signed passports, valid for at least six months after entering the U.S.
  • Students must successfully complete embassy interviews
Accessing F1 Visas

School Application

If you've determined that you are eligible for an F1 student visa, the next step is to determine the admission requirements for the institution you wish to attend. If you are interested in studying at University of the Cumberlands not only do we have more than 40 different undergrad majors and offer graduate level degrees, but we will also provide you with assistance every step of the way. To start, you will need to send in an official transcript evaluation from an approved member of the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services, along with proof that you're a proficient English speaker. Ideally, you will have passed the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exam.


Upon receiving your acceptance letter from your university, you will have to pay a SEVIS I-901 fee, which will allow you to access the SEVIS system. If you have been accepted into University of the Cumberlands, your admissions counselor will send you an I-20 form. Otherwise you will need to obtain an I-20 form on your own. Either way, it is your job to complete this form and submit documentation proving that you have sufficient funding for your international study experience.

Visa Appointment

Visa wait times can be extensive, so be sure to make an appointment as soon as possible. Make sure to bring the following items to your interview:

  • Passport
  • Form DS-160
  • Form I-20
  • A receipt for your application payment
  • Test scores for TOEFL, GRE, or any other exams that may impact eligibility
  • Proof of financial stability

Issuance of a U.S. visa is never guaranteed, so don’t make final travel plans until your visa has been approved.

F1 Visas at University of the Cumberlands

At University of the Cumberlands, we take pride in our diverse student body. We encourage students from all over the world to apply for our robust undergraduate and graduate programs. We recognize that the process can be difficult, which is why we are willing to provide ample assistance for aspiring international students.

Preparing Students For Admission

As a SEVIS approved institution, University of the Cumberlands helps admitted students secure visas by sending all of the forms they'll need while visiting embassies. We also assist international students, with current F1 visas, who wish to transfer from schools within America. With our help, those students can obtain the needed transcripts and determine which credits are available for transfer. As an added benefit, we can help students obtain Social Security cards and driver's licenses, if needed.

Internships and Work Programs

Practical skills are just as important as theoretical knowledge, and at University of the Cumberlands, both are emphasized. Curricular Practical Training (CPT) allows current international students to apply the lessons they learn in the classroom to a typical work setting. Upon graduating, students eligible for Optional Practical Training (OPT) can remain in the U.S. and work while maintaining F1 international student status. OPT can be extended up to four years after graduation for students with STEM degrees. University of the Cumberlands encourages international students to apply for both training programs.

Support Services

Transitioning to life in a different country can be difficult, but University of the Cumberlands provides all of the resources students need to excel. These include free support services at the Academic Resource Center, counseling services, and access to the Career Services Office.

For more information, forms and valuable resources, visit our International Students page. There, you can learn why the University of the Cumberlands offers an ideal environment for international students.

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