DS-160 – What is Intended Length of Stay for F1 Visa

Thanks for the tip from Deepak

I am reading this thread  (US F1 Visa interview Experience)after a very long time and I found that almost everyone is wondering what they should mention in Intended Length of Stay column.

There is a section in your I-20 that says, ” The normal length of study is 24 months/30 months/5years.”

It means your university expects you to finish your course in that duration (until and unless you speed up by taking more courses in each semester or slow down by taking only minimum required credits to fulfill F-1 status).

Now, you can include your one year OPT into the duration in your I-20, making your intended length of stay one year longer than what is mentioned in your I-20.

But better you do not mention your intended length of stay shorter than the duration mentioned in your I-20.

However, it is good to include your OPT period into your intended length of stay because VO knows that almost nobody comes back without doing OPT.

Therefore, in my opinion, the best answer for intended length of stay is = normal length of study mentioned in your I-20 + one year OPT.

Remember, the duration mentioned on your I-20 does not include your OPT duration. My current answer may contradict my previous answer but that’s fine.


  1. Kishor on June 13, 2016 at 9:21 PM

    Hi there
    In my i20 normal course duration is 60 momth. But it is a 4 yrs bachelor. So what should i have to mention 60 months or 48 months in my finance nd sponsor docs ????

    • Raghuram Sukumar on June 14, 2016 at 11:32 AM

      I would say 4 years in dS160.

  2. Sumit on June 3, 2015 at 12:06 AM

    Hi ,
    Thanks for the information . I’m intending to pursue MS – CS starting fall -2015 . In my i-20 , the normal duration of course is stated as 36 months . But MS usually gets completed in 24 months .
    When I contacted the university , they said 36 months is the maximum time within which you’ve to complete your masters .
    What should I enter into my Visa Application Form ? 24 months or 36 months .
    I’m afraid I don’t have the sufficient funds to show for 36 months.


    • Raghuram Sukumar on June 3, 2015 at 8:00 AM

      Enter 24 months.

      • Sumit on June 3, 2015 at 9:43 AM

        @Raghuram : Thanks for the reply . In this blog you’ve said not to mention the duration of stay lesser than what is stated in the i-20 . In my i-20 , it’s stated as 36 months . So still should I enter 24 months ?


  3. shonak simlote on December 19, 2011 at 10:09 PM

    i have applied for california state univ at long beach. on i20 its written the maximum duration of course is 36 months. in ds 160 form i have mention the Intended Length of Stay for F1 Visa as 36 months. now what should i tell to visa officer should i do like this.( even i am showing enough finance for 3 years also).
    1. tell him that the course can be completed within 30 months and the project which is mandatory should be completed within 6 months
    2. i will opt for opt(optional practical training) for 1 year.
    3. or tell him that i have written the same duration as mentioned on the i20 form.

    • Deepak Yadav on January 1, 2012 at 11:46 PM

      @Shonak: You do not have to worry about the expenses after completing your studies (expenses during OPT period) because during OPT you earn money and can easily afford all expenses on your own as well as can save money to send it back home.

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