The F-1 student visa is a non-immigrant visa category designed for international students who wish to pursue full-time academic studies at a Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)-approved U.S. college or university. This visa allows Brazilian students to live in the United States while they complete their academic program.


Who Can Apply

Brazilian citizens who have been accepted for full-time enrollment at a SEVP-approved U.S. college or university can apply for the F-1 student visa. In order to be considered a full-time student, you must be enrolled in at least 12 credits per semester (or the equivalent) for undergraduate programs, and at least 9 credits per semester for graduate programs.

Maximum Duration of Stay

The initial F-1 visa is typically granted for the duration of your academic program, as listed on your Form I-20 (Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status). However, there are some exceptions. For example, if your program is less than one academic year (semester or trimester), your visa may only be valid for that duration.


Students can apply for extensions of stay in increments of up to one year. To qualify for an extension, you must maintain a full course of study and remain in good academic standing.

Application Process

The application process for the F-1 student visa can be summarized in the following steps:

  1. Apply to and be accepted by a SEVP-approved school. This is the first and most important step. You will need to research schools and programs that interest you, and then submit an application package that includes your transcripts, test scores (if required), essays, and other supporting documents. Once you are accepted, the school will issue you a Form I-20, which is a key document required for the visa application process.
  2. Pay the visa application fee. The current visa application fee is $160. You will need to pay this fee electronically using the Department of State’s online system before you can schedule a visa interview.
  3. Schedule a visa interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate in Brazil. Once you have paid the visa application fee, you can schedule an interview appointment online at the website of the U.S. embassy or consulate in your area. There may be wait times for interview appointments, so it is advisable to schedule your interview well in advance of your planned start date at your U.S. school.
  4. Attend the visa interview and submit required documents. Be sure to arrive at your interview on time and dress professionally. During the interview, the visa officer will ask you questions about your plans for study in the United States. You will also need to submit the following documents:
  • Valid Brazilian passport
  • Completed visa application form (DS-160)
  • Form I-20 from the school
  • Proof of financial support for your entire academic program. This could include bank statements, scholarship letters, or sponsor affidavits.
  • Academic transcripts
  • Evidence of English language proficiency (TOEFL, IELTS, etc.) While not mandatory, this can strengthen your application.

Common Interview Questions

The visa interview is your opportunity to make a positive impression on the visa officer. Here are some of the most common interview questions that F-1 visa applicants are asked:

  • Why do you want to study in the U.S.?
  • What are your academic plans? What do you hope to achieve by studying in this program?
  • How will you finance your studies?
  • What are your plans after graduation?

It is important to be prepared to answer these questions in a clear, concise, and truthful manner. Your answers should demonstrate that you have a genuine interest in studying in the United States, and that you have a clear plan for your academic and professional future.

Approval Time

Processing times for F-1 visa applications can vary depending on the workload at the U.S. embassy or consulate where you apply. Generally, you can expect to wait anywhere from 2 to 4 weeks for a decision on your visa application.

Estimated Costs

The following are some of the estimated costs associated with applying for an F-1 student visa:

  • Visa application fee: $160
  • SEVIS fee: $350
  • Tuition and living expenses: This will vary depending on the school you choose and the location. You can find information on the cost of attendance on the website of the school you are interested in attending.

Travel Restrictions

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there may be travel restrictions in place for Brazilian citizens entering the United States. It is important to check with the U.

Benefits of Studying in the U.S. with an F-1 Visa

There are many benefits to studying in the U.S. with an F-1 visa, including:

  • Access to a high-quality education: The United States is home to some of the world’s top universities and colleges. An F-1 visa will allow you to pursue a degree at a prestigious institution and gain valuable knowledge and skills.
  • Improved English language skills: Studying in an English-speaking environment is a great way to improve your English language proficiency. This will benefit you in your academic studies and future career.
  • Exposure to a new culture: Studying abroad is a great way to experience a new culture and broaden your horizons. Living in the United States will give you the opportunity to learn about American history, society, and way of life.
  • Career opportunities: A U.S. degree can be a valuable asset in the job market, both in Brazil and internationally. Studying in the U.S. can also give you the opportunity to network with professionals in your field and gain practical experience through internships or co-op programs.
  • Potential for Optional Practical Training (OPT): F-1 visa holders may be eligible for Optional Practical Training (OPT), which allows them to gain work experience in the United States after graduation. This is a great way to gain practical experience in your field and improve your job prospects.

Maintaining Your F-1 Visa Status

To maintain your F-1 visa status, you must comply with the following requirements:

  • Enroll in and maintain a full course of study: This means enrolling in at least the minimum number of credits required for your program each semester.
  • Report any changes to your program: If you change your major, school, or program end date, you must report this change to the Designated School Official (DSO) at your school. The DSO will update your SEVIS record and may issue you a new Form I-20.
  • Obtain permission before engaging in off-campus employment: F-1 students are generally allowed to work on campus without authorization. However, off-campus employment requires authorization from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
  • Leave the U.S. within 60 days of completing your studies or dropping out of school.


The F-1 student visa is a great opportunity for Brazilian students to pursue a high-quality education in the United States. By carefully planning and preparing your application, you can increase your chances of obtaining an F-1 visa and achieving your academic goals in the U.S.


Can I bring my dependents with me on an F-1 visa?

Yes, your spouse and children may be able to accompany you to the United States on an F-2 dependent visa. They will not be allowed to work in the United States, but they may be able to enroll in school part-time.

Can I travel outside the U.S. with an F-1 visa?

Yes, you can travel outside the U.S. with an F-1 visa. However, you must ensure that your visa is still valid and that you have a valid travel document (such as a passport) to re-enter the United States. You may also need to obtain a travel signature from your DSO before you travel.

Can I change schools with an F-1 visa?

Yes, you can change schools with an F-1 visa. However, you must first transfer your SEVIS record to the new school and obtain a new Form I-20 from the DSO at the new school.

Can I work in the U.S. with an F-1 visa?

There are limited opportunities for F-1 students to work in the U.S. On-campus employment is generally allowed, but off-campus employment requires authorization from USCIS. Students may also be eligible for Optional Practical Training (OPT) after graduation.

What happens to my F-1 visa after I graduate?

You have a 60-day grace period after completing your studies or dropping out of school to leave the United States. During this time, you may apply for a change of visa status or depart the U.S.