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?
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.