New students can now apply for an F visa up to 365 days in advance of the start date for their course of study (up from 120 days). Students will need to present a Form I-20 issued by their school indicating the start date to the consular officer during their visa interview. Students will, however, not be able to enter the United States on their student visas more than 30 days before their program start date.
Continuing students may be issued an F visa at any time and may enter the United States at any time before classes start. Students who need to renew a visa should check the individual Embassy or Consulate website to determine if your case is eligible for a waiver of the in-person interview.