Frequently Asked Questions on F-1 Visa

What is an F-1 visa?
An F-1 visa is a non-immigrant student visa that allows foreign nationals to pursue academic studies and programs in the United States at accredited colleges, universities, seminaries, conservatories, academic high schools, or other academic institutions.
Who is eligible for an F-1 visa?
Individuals who have been accepted by a Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)-approved school and have the necessary financial resources to support themselves during their studies in the U.S.
How long can I stay in the U.S. on an F-1 visa?
F-1 visa holders can generally stay in the U.S. for the duration of their academic program, as indicated on their Form I-20 (Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status). They are also allowed a grace period for practical training or departure from the U.S. after completing their program.
Can F-1 visa holders work in the U.S.?
F-1 visa holders are typically allowed to work on-campus part-time during the academic year. They may also be eligible for certain types of off-campus employment under specific circumstances, such as Optional Practical Training (OPT) or Curricular Practical Training (CPT).
Can F-1 visa holders transfer to another school?
Yes, F-1 visa holders can transfer to another SEVP-approved school by completing the necessary transfer procedures and obtaining a new Form I-20 from the new school.
Can F-1 visa holders travel outside the U.S. during their studies?
Yes, F-1 visa holders can travel outside the U.S. during their studies, but they must have a valid F-1 visa and an travel endorsed Form I-20 for re-entry. It's important to consult with the designated school official (DSO) at their academic institution before traveling internationally.
Can F-1 visa holders bring their dependents (spouse and children) to the U.S.?
F-1 visa holders can bring their dependents to the U.S. by obtaining F-2 dependent visas for their spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21. However, F-2 dependents are not eligible to work in the U.S.
Can F-1 visa holders apply for a green card (permanent residency) in the U.S.?
F-1 visa holders may be eligible to apply for a green card through employment-based immigration pathways or family sponsorship after completing their academic program and meeting other eligibility criteria.
What is the SEVIS fee, and when do I need to pay it?
The SEVIS fee is a mandatory fee that F-1 visa applicants must pay before applying for their visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate. It helps fund the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) program.
How early can I apply for an F-1 visa before the start of my academic program?
F-1 visa applicants can typically apply for their visa up to 120 days before the start date of their academic program, as indicated on their Form I-20.


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