Apply for a U.S. F-1 Student Visa

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Get an F1 Visa to Study in the U.S.

The Immigration and Nationality Act offers two non-immigrant visa categories for individuals wishing to study in the United States. The F1 visa is for non-immigrants wishing to come to the United States to seek out academic studies and/or language training programs and the M-1 visa is reserved for non-immigrants wishing to pursue nonacademic or vocational studies.

Student visas are considered non-immigrant visas because they are issued to people who do not intend to stay in the United States permanently. This means that if students are applying for F-1 Visa they are telling the United States government that they only wish to remain in the United States for as long as it takes to complete their studies. An F1 visa (non-immigrant visa) may not be used as a way to enter the U.S. quickly and pursue permanent residence. The U.S. Government agency responsible for issuing a student visa is the U.S. Department of State. State Department policy is carried out around the world by U.S. consulates and embassies. For this reason, if students are applying for student visas overseas, they will be dealing with a U.S. consulate or embassy in their home country. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is the agency with jurisdiction over individuals who apply to change status to student from inside the U.S.

F1 Visa, Academic Student Visa

The F1 visa is for students attending a full-time degree or academic program at a school, college, or university approved by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in compliance with the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). The F1 visa is valid for as long as it takes the student to finish his or her course of study. An F1 visa also allows students to work on campus and in some situations even off campus. In addition, F1 visa students are eligible to apply for employment-authorized practical training after the completion of their academic program. This training is usually limited to twelve months but may be extended to as much as 29 months for students who are pursuing a degree in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics. F1 visa students are able to transfer schools and change their focus of study while pursuing a degree in the U.S. Once they have completed their course of study or practical training (if applicable), they have sixty days in which to depart the U.S.

Qualifications for F1 visa student status

  • The student must be enrolled in an "academic" educational program, a language-training program, or a vocational program;
  • The school must be approved by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS);
  • The student must be enrolled as a full-time student at the institution;
  • The student must be proficient in English or be enrolled in courses leading to English proficiency;
  • The student must have sufficient funds available for self-support during the entire proposed course of study; and
  • The student must maintain a residence abroad which he/she has no intention of giving up.

The Student Visa e-book includes:

  • Qualifications and Eligibility requirements;
  • A detailed overview of the application process;
  • All of the necessary application forms and guidance on how to complete the forms accurately and completely;
  • Tips on successfully navigating the visa interview at a U.S. Consulate;
  • Instructions on how to extend your status once you are in the U.S.;
  • Rules on working in the U.S.;
  • Information on transferring schools; and
  • All visa application forms.