How to Apply

Frequently Asked Questions

Before obtaining F-1 visa

What is required to qualify for F-1 visa?

To qualify for an F-1 visa, a student must meet the following requirements:

  • English proficiency - with the exception of participants in an English language training program. In some cases, the school may make special arrangements to teach you English.
  • Proof of sufficient funds to complete your education.
  • Plan to attend a full course of study by a school approved by the USCIS.
  • Have a Form I-20A-B issued by your school

What are the benefits of F-1 visa?

Students in F-1 visa status receive the following benefits:

  • Study full time in the United States in a program to receive a degree or certificate
  • Eligible to transfer to a different school or academic program by notifying the USCIS
  • Legally work part-time on-campus. Off-campus employment may apply
  • Flexibility to travel within the United States or abroad during the completion of your studies; and
  • Allows spouse and children into the United States on an F-2 visa

What are the limits of F-1 visa?

Students in F-1 visa status must do the following:

  • May work off-campus only with prior permission from the USCIS
  • Must attend the specific school for which your visa has been approved
  • Spouse and children (in F-2 status) may not work in the United States

Where do I file my F-1 visa application?

  • Apply at the U.S. consulate nearest the place of your residence.
  • If you are already in the U.S. on another nonimmigrant status, you may apply for change of status to F-1. Apply to study at a USCIS approved school in the U.S. If admitted, the school will issue you Form I-20. Submit this form and a Form I-539 to the USCIS. If the USCIS approves the application, a new Form I-94 will be issued to you.

What is the processing time for F-1 visa?

The processing time for an F-1 visa depends on the consulate where you are applying and the results of your background and security check. 

While studying in the U.S. on an F-1 Visa

How long can I stay in the U.S.?

Your Form I-20 states the length of time you may stay to finish your studies. 

Can I change status while on F-1 visa?

Yes, you may apply to change to a different status while on an F-1 visa. Many students change from F-1 to an H-1B, allowing them to work for a company in the United States. Other visitor and work visas are also available.

What are the requirements for a transfer to another school?

  • You must be attending an academic institution or a language-training program
  • You must be enrolled as a full-time student
  • The school must be approved by the USICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) to accept foreign students
  • You must show sufficient financial support to complete the study
  • You must prove that you do not intend to abandon your foreign residency 

  • Can I travel outside the US?

    Yes. You may return to the US after an absence of no more than five months. You must have a new F-1 visa if your original one has expired. Have your designated school official sign your I-20 before leaving the US.