Green Cards (Common)
National Interest Waivers
Professors & Researchers
Executives & Managers
PERM Labor Certification
Investors (EB-5 visas)
Family (Spouse, etc.)
Work Visas (Common)
O-1 Extraordinary Ability
TN Canadians & Mexicans
J-1 Visa Holders
Nurses & Physical Therapists
Information about the F-1 Visa
The F-1 visa is for students admitted to study full-time at U.S. colleges, universities, conservatories, academic high schools (with strict regulations) and language training programs.
The foreign student must be accepted for a full course of study by a school specifically approved by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. The student must have completed the same requirements as all other students entering the program.
The student must be proficient in English unless:
The student must prove that sufficient funds are available to pay all expenses necessary to study in the United States. Finally, the school must provide the student with a Form I-20 A-B.
The student must apply for an F-1 visa at the U.S. Consulate or Embassy located in their place of permanent residence. Each consulate or embassy may have different requirements, the required documents include:
Your spouse and any unmarried children under 21 years old may join you in the United States. Your family members must meet all of the requirements for visa eligibility, including evidence of sufficient funds available for their support; and evidence that they will leave the United States when the studentís education is completed. Dependents may not work while in the United States.
A student in F-1 may not work off-campus at all during the first year of study. The USCIS may allow off-campus employment after the first academic year. The F-1 student may work on-campus without permission from the USCIS. Students should discuss options for employment with your school advisor before beginning employment of any kind. To apply for either off-campus employment or optional practical training, the student must submit Form I-201D (which is provided by the school) and Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization.
A student in F-1 status can obtain practical training by working for a company in the United States either while in school (called curricular practical training) or after graduation (called optional practical training). Curricular practical training must be coordinated through your school or university. It does not require a petition to the USCIS. An F-1 student may have up to one year of optional practical training after graduation, but only if the students has not taken more than one year of curricular practical training.
To transfer to a different school, you must be maintaining valid status. Notify your current school of your intent to transfer. Then obtain Form I-20A-B from your new school, complete it, and return the Form I-20A-B to your new school within 15 days of starting classes.
The initial period of admission on your I-94 Arrival Departure Card allows for the completion of your academic program, any authorized practical training, plus sixty days grace period to leave the United States. You may extend your stay in the United States if you have maintained your visa status, and you were delayed in completing your program due to compelling academic or medical reasons.
To apply for an extension, you must submit the completed form I-20A-B and Form I-538 to your school within 30 days before the date noted on the original I-20A-B.