The US Government has recently announced a new update in the process of student visas which is a huge advantage for international students. The new processing timeline for F-1 visa (student visa) applicants allows students to apply for their visa up to 365 days before the start of the academic term, a considerable improvement from the previous timeline of 120 days. This new processing timeline applies to both F & M student visas. 

F and M visas

F and M visas are types of nonimmigrant visas that enable foreign students to pursue studies in the United States. The F-1 visa is intended for students who enroll in academic programs, whereas the M-1 visa is intended for students who enroll in vocational or non-academic programs.

F and M visa holders can stay in the US for the length of their academic program and are allowed to work on-campus while studying. Additionally, they may be eligible for Optional Practical Training (OPT) after finishing their studies, which allows them to work in the US for up to 12 months in a field relevant to their area of study.

I-20 form

To qualify for an F or M visa, applicants must have received acceptance from a US institution that has been certified by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) and issued an I-20 form, which serves as proof of their program enrollment and visa eligibility. The I-20 form provides evidence that the student has been accepted to a school certified by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) and is legally enrolled in a program of study.

After a student has been admitted to a SEVP-certified school, they will receive a Form I-20 from their designated school official (DSO). It should be noted that if a student plans to bring eligible dependents with them to the United States, each dependent will need a separate Form I-20. The Form I-20 is a critical document that must be kept secure during the student’s time in the United States. It will be necessary for several tasks, such as applying for benefits available to F and M students, including obtaining a driver’s license or a social security number.

Hence this new update will provide students with more time to apply for their visas and avoid any last-minute visa processing rush. It enables US universities to issue and accept I-20 forms up to 12-14 months before the term commences.

Other considerations for international students

The US Government is trying to reduce the waiting period for visa processing further. To avoid any visa application delays, they have implemented several measures, including special interview slots, and interview waivers for some visa applicants, and they are planning to allow domestic stamping of H-1B renewals.

The H-1B visa is a nonimmigrant visa that allows US employers to hire foreign workers in specialty occupations for a temporary period. H-1B visa holders can stay in the United States for up to six years, after which they must either leave the country or apply for permanent residency. But the students have to keep in mind that the US Department of State has clearly stated that they can only travel to the US up to 30 days before their program starts. Hence, students should keep this in mind while making their travel arrangements.

Upon your arrival in the United States, it is essential to get in touch with your designated school official (DSO). Additionally, before the start date mentioned on your I-20 form, you must contact your DSO again. During the academic term, you are only permitted to work part-time on campus, with a maximum of 20 hours per week. However, you may be able to obtain permission from your university to work off-campus.


Overall, the recent update to the student visa processing timeline is undoubtedly beneficial for international students who wish to study in the US, as it provides them with sufficient time for visa processing. This will also help to reduce the chance of delayed academic intakes.

To further streamline this process, please contact us at the earliest by visiting our website, or contact 8138899224/, application assistance from our US counselors. 

Whether it be any doubts or visa application procedures we will have our experts do it for you!