International Students

F1 Visa is a Visa category reserved for students who are enrolled in colleges, universities and other academic institutions. The other Visa is M-1, for non-academic vocational studies.
What are the requirements for F1 student visas?

•You must have attendance to an academic institution
•You must be register as a full-time student
•The school must be permitted by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
•You must give proof that you have sufficient financial support to complete the study.
•You must prove that you have no objective of abandoning your foreign residency.

Can I work as an F1 student?

As an F-1 visa holder you are allowed to work in the United States. But there are restrictions issued by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Only those students who study up to 20 hours a week in a university are allowed to work. But before all these students must always request for advises from the advisor of foreign students before they apply for any employment.
How long can I stay in the U.S. as an F1 student?

When you step in USA on a student visa, you will generally be admitted for the period of your student status. That way you may continue staying as long as you are a full time student in USA academics, even if your F1 visa expires while you are in America. Basically every student provide with an I-94 card which is“Duration of Status” or “D/S” of a student when he enters USA with F-1 visa. For a student who has done the course of studies shown on the I-94 card, and any authorized practical training, the student is allowed the following additional time in the U.S. before departure. Later than the study or training ends you will have 60 days to leave the U.S. 

Can I change my nonimmigrant status to F1?

A number of nonimmigrant visa holders, while currently there in the USA, are capable to apply for a request which must be permitted by USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) to change to a different nonimmigrant category. Filing an application with USCIS for authorization of change of nonimmigrant status earlier than your authorized stay ends, while you are staying in the USA, does not require the visa holder to submit an application for a new visa. Though, if you cannot stay in USA while USCIS processes your change of status demand, you will have to apply for a nonimmigrant visa at a US legation or Consulate abroad.

Can I transfer to a different school?

You can transfer your current school but there are some rules which you have to maintain such as you have to notify your current school and workplace along with the DSO(Designated School Official) for approving the transfer of your SEVIS(Student and Exchange Visitor Program) record. Also you need to get a new I-20 from your new school and within 15 days of time you have give the completed I-20 to your new DSO.

Can i travel outside US?

Yes you can travel outside US during your F-1 period but you have to return in US following an absence of no further than five months. And you must have a new F1 visa with you if your original one has expired and you must sign your I-20 before leaving US.

What is SEVP? What is SEVIS?

SEVP (Student and Exchange Visitor Program) is associated with National Security Investigations Division and on behalf of Department of Homeland Security (DHS) SEVP is designed to help them with different visa categories such as F-1, M-1 etc for the nonimmigrant students.
SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) helps in exchanging student’s information. SEVIS facilitate schools and program sponsors to pass on set information and event announcement via the Internet, to the DHS and DOS through a student or exchange visitor’s stay in the United States. All student candidates must have a SEVIS produced I-20 issued by a learning institution permitted by DHS.

Can F-1 students attend public high schools in the U.S.?

Yes they can but there are restrictions and provisions for F-1 students who want to attend public secondary/high schools under U.S. law. Given below the requirements which F-1 students must have to consider in case they want to study in public high schools–

•F-1 secondary school students have to pay to the school the full cost of education.
•F-1 students are barred from attending elementary public schools or publicly-funded adult
 education programs.
•They will have to study for twelve months program.

How do I know if a particular school is SEVIS-approved?

Before admission to the school you should contact for receiving the information about whether they are authorized to allow foreign students in their school. Moreover you can also check the SEVIS approved schools that are updated by ICE in daily basis.

A school that is not currently approved by the SEVIS must file from I-17 electronically for allowing international students. Generally elementary schools are not approved to allow F-1 students but many public schools with DEO certified agency are permitted to admit F-1 students to their academy.

How to prove that I have sufficient funds to support my study?

At the time of interview consulate officer will check whether you have a sufficient amount of money for self-support. If you do not have sufficient assistance to prove your financial ability you need to show other supports such as bank statements and other income certification. You have to prepare with all the availability and sources of funds during your visa interview.

You have also remembered that you haven’t deposited your money recently to the bank otherwise the officer will think they are borrowed to increase your savings. The best proof can be financial aid by the school, such as scholarship, fellowships, research assistantships etc. The form and amount of the aid is specified on Form I-20.

Can an F-1 student apply for green card?

No clear guidance or regulations have been declared till now from USCIS regarding whether an F-1 student can apply for a green card or not. Because a student visa does not permit "dual intention" as in H or L visas, it looks like that applying for a green card application would terminate one’s F1 position instantly.
In the future USCIS may issue new guidance on this matter but students have to be more attentive with regards to the status of their on or off campus employment prospects.