To apply for an F-1 visa, you must provide the U.S. Embassy or Consulate with Form I-20, passport, original proof of funds, and any other documents they may specify.
The U.S. visa tells you until what date you may enter the United States. The expiration date of the visa has nothing to do with how long you may stay in the U.S. That is determined by your I-20 and I-94. You need to renew the visa only if you are traveling abroad after the visa expiration date, so that you may again enter the U.S.
Specific information on F-1 visa application at U.S. Embassies and Consulates is available at the travel.state.gov website.
Location of U.S. embassies and consulates is available at the following address: www.usembassy.gov
You will need to have the following documents to enter the U.S. in F-1 status:
If you decide to enter on a B-2 tourist visa and change your status while in the U.S., please consult with the ISS office at your home campus to find out the details of this transaction, and please keep in mind that this process will most likely take about 4 to 6 months.
You cannot enter the U.S. on a visa waiver and change F-1 status after your arrival. Persons who enter the U.S. on a visa waiver are not eligible for change of status in the U.S.
The Certificate of Eligibility (Form I-20) will be provided to each admitted student following completion of all admissions requirements. This document is taken to a United States Embassy or Consulate to obtain an F-1 visa to enter the United States as a student (Canadian and Bermudan citizens are excluded from this requirement). Documentary evidence of financial resources, SEVIS I-901 fee payment receipt, valid passport, and proof of ties to home country must also be presented at your appointment at the US Embassy/Consulate.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security requires F-1 visa applicants to pay a one-time fee to supplement the administration and maintenance costs of the Student and Exchange Information System (SEVIS). For information on who is subject to the SEVIS fee requirement and for SEVIS fee payment options, F-1 visa applicants should read SEVIS Fee Payment Options for F-1 Students.