Who is Eligible?

An alien who has a residence in a foreign country which he/she has no intention of abandoning, who wishes to come to the United States to pursue a course of study at an academic institution accredited by the INS, may qualify for an F-1 visa. The alien must have a valid educational purpose for coming to the United States, and must be able to support himself or herself while in the United States without working.

The applicant must have available sufficient funds and outside financial support to ensure he or she will not become a public charge or accept unauthorized employment. He or she must be proficient in English or receive training to make him or her proficient, intend to depart the United States at the conclusion of his or her studies, and be qualified to attend the particular institution. All students are given permission to be in the United States for “duration of status,” that is for the period of time needed to complete the educational program plus 60 days. At the end of the course of study a period of work authorization may be requested for the purpose of gaining experience in the field of study, known as “practical training.” If qualified, the student may also change non-immigrant status to a temporary non-immigrant work visa or adjust status to a permanent resident visa.

How to Apply F-1 Visa

F-1 visa status may be obtained by making an application directly to a Consular Officer at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate, or, if the applicant is in the U.S. in lawful status, by submitting an application to INS to change his/her status to that of a student. In either case, the applicant must first be accepted at a school that is authorized by the INS to accept foreign students. Such schools may include established colleges, universities, seminaries, conservatories, academic high schools, other academic institutions, or language programs in the United States. The requirements for application vary somewhat depending whether the prospective student applies while abroad, or while physically present in the United States.

To apply for F-1 visa status abroad, the prospective student must submit the following documents to a U.S. Consular Officer:

  1. Form OF-156, Application for Nonimmigrant Visa
  2. A valid passport
  3. Form I-20, documenting that the alien has been accepted for a course of study by a school authorized by the INS to accept foreign students
  4. Evidence of financial support sufficient to meet the student’s needs during the course of study
  5. Evidence of intention to return to his/her home country upon the completion of the course of study

Duration for F-1 Visa

F-1 visa status will be granted for the period of time, or duration of stay required to complete the course of study. The student’s Form I-120 will be notated with the expected date of completion of the student’s program. If the student fails to meet the program completion date, an extension may be granted if the school certifies that the delay was caused by compelling medical or academic reasons such as illness, or changes in the student’s major or research topic.

To learn more information regarding F-1 Student Visa, Contact our Student visa lawyer, Darren Silver & Associates, LLP. For an initial consultation at 1-800-971-7013 (Toll Free).