F-1 visa issues
April 29, 2014 8:05 AM   Subscribe

Made a mistake in my F-1 visa application. Am I screwed?

So I made a stupid mistake while filling in my visa application- I conflated the length of my programme with the duration of my stay in the US, and wrote 21 months where I should have written 22.

I really want/need that month before my programme starts in order to set up things / visit family, and now I'm worried that my visa'll start in August, not July like I need it to.

How big a mistake is this? (All my other documents are in order- I have more than adequate financial support, strong proof of my intentions to return, and references both in my home country and the US.) It's possible I'm over-reacting/bean-plating, but I live with catastrophisers so I have no idea how big a deal this is.

Also, is it something I should bring up at the interview? I'd like to get it sorted easily, is that even possible?

Thanks in advance.
posted by Tamanna to Travel & Transportation around United States (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Write a letter to the consulate. (Make sure to include all of your relevant ID numbers and a copy of your photo ID page of your passport, and include a copy of your original application (clearly marked COPY) if you made one so they know who you are and there's no confusion.) Explain that you've realized you made an error in writing the date, and would like to amend the date on your application to whatever date you need. Include a new application with the correct dates listed. Mail that to the consular post handling your visa request.

Bring ALL of that information (and especially the confirmation for your purchased flights) to your interview when you go.

It should be ok. It will likely be a paperwork headache, but it should be ok.
posted by phunniemee at 8:19 AM on April 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

I haven't applied for an F-1 visa in a long time, but the travel.state.gov link has a section on correcting answers on a submitted DS-160. It looks like they would reopen the application after they presumably deny it. which is rather inconvenient, but not very problematic I guess. Re-scheduling interview dates may be a PITA at this time of the year depending on which consulate you are going to.

You should probably bring it up at the interview, AFAI remember I don't think there is another place you can talk to them about it.
posted by ssri at 8:20 AM on April 29, 2014

Response by poster: One more thing. My visa appointment is next Monday, fingerprinting this Thursday, and so I don't have time for a letter.
posted by Tamanna at 8:31 AM on April 29, 2014

I believe that you can enter the US up to 30 days before the official start of stay - scroll down to "Can I enter the US more than 30 days in advance" here. I prepare visa requests as (a small) part of my job, and I have seen this noted elsewhere. Call the consulate and ask someone - don't say "this is my name and I made a mistake", say "I have applied for a visa; what happens if I need to arrive a couple of days before the date I requested?"
posted by Frowner at 8:46 AM on April 29, 2014

Here is a note from the Yale visa page which I think means that you can come in before your actual start date:

In addition, you may enter the U.S. no more than 30 days prior to the starting date noted on the I-20 Form. If you try to enter the U.S. more than 30 days before the start date on your I-20, you may not be permitted to enter the U.S.

IIRC, the I-20 is the official form from the US government, and it would have your requested date on it.
posted by Frowner at 8:48 AM on April 29, 2014

Yes, Frowner is right. I came into the country 20 days before my program/ official date on the I-20 started and they let me in without any issues.
posted by ssri at 8:53 AM on April 29, 2014

Best answer: Talk to your DSO, but yes, Frowner is correct, you are allotted 30 days before your Program Start Date and 60 at the end. For reference, here's the regulations:

8 CFR 214.2 (f)(5)(i):

(5) Duration of status—(i) General. Except for border commuter students covered by the provisions of paragraph (f)(18) of this section, an F-1 student is admitted for duration of status. Duration of status is defined as the time during which an F-1 student is pursuing a full course of study at an educational institution approved by the Service for attendance by foreign students, or engaging in authorized practical training following completion of studies, except that an F-1 student who is admitted to attend a public high school is restricted to an aggregate of 12 months of study at any public high school(s). An F-1 student may be admitted for a period up to 30 days before the indicated report date or program start date listed on Form I-20. The student is considered to be maintaining status if he or she is making normal progress toward completing a course of study.

and 8 CFR214.2 (f)(5)(iv):

(iv) Preparation for departure. An F-1 student who has completed a course of study and any authorized practical training following completion of studies will be allowed an additional 60-day period to prepare for departure from the United States or to transfer in accordance with paragraph (f)(8) of this section. An F-1 student authorized by the DSO to withdraw from classes will be allowed a 15-day period for departure from the United States. However, an F-1 student who fails to maintain a full course of study without the approval of the DSO or otherwise fails to maintain status is not eligible for an additional period for departure.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 9:32 AM on April 29, 2014

Mod note: This is an answer from an anonymous commenter.
I can give you an authoritative answer to your question, as I manage a U.S. non-immigrant visa unit in India. (And, no, I will not tell you which post!) Are you talking about writing the incorrect date on the DS-160 application form? If so, do not worry. We will prepare your visa based off the dates listed on I-20. Generally, your visa will be valid 30 days before your program start date. If you would like, you could flag for the visa adjudicator at the time of the interview that there is a mistake on the DS-160. However, this is not a serious error that requires you to correct the DS-160 form, such as an incorrect birthdate or gender. Once you've received your visa, be sure to check and make sure the information is all correct (spelling of your name, SEVIS number, birthdate, etc.). If it is not, you can contact us at support-india@ustraveldocs.com, and we will quickly get it corrected.

Things not to do: Mail anyone a letter, call anyone, reschedule your interview date, or spend more than even five minutes stressing about this! I hope the rest of your application process goes smoothly.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:18 AM on April 30, 2014

« Older What's a good movie to rent for a bunch of twelve...   |   Why does my Brother inkjet printer show up as a... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.