120 days rule for F1 Visa


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I was going through the application timelines for the F1 visa where most universities have mentioned that


The earliest that an F-1 visa can be granted is 120 days before the reporting date listed on your SEVIS Form. You may apply for an F-1 visa earlier than 120 days before the start date to allow for visa processing and security clearance delays, however, the consulate cannot actually issue the visa until 120 days before the program start date.


Can someone explain me the difference between applying vs actually issuing the visa ?



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If you anticipate delay in processing of your visa say for example you are from a country that is on US watch list then you might have other procedures to be performed by DOS to clear you to get visa approval. In anticipation of that you can apply early but a visa will be stamped not early than 120 days from course start date.

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