What requirements must I meet in order to attend school in the U.S.?
Many individuals from other countries find themselves traveling to the U.S. for many different reasons. While some are seeking work, others are trying to escape the harsh conditions they have been forced to live under. Another reason why individuals from abroad wish to come to the U.S. is to either pursue a degree of some sort or continue their education. If you are someone who wishes to study as a full-time student in the U.S. or you have a younger child that you would like to send into the country to pursue an education or continue with their academics, they will need to apply for an F-1 Student Visa in order to do so.
In order to apply for an F-1 visa, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) states that you must meet the following criteria:
- You must be enrolled in either an “academic” educational program, a language-training program, or a vocational program.
- Your school must be approved by the Student and Exchange Visitors Program, Immigration & Customs Enforcement. It is best that you check to be sure it is before submitting your application for your visa.
- You plan to enroll as a full-time student at the institution.
- You must be proficient in English or be enrolled in courses leading to English proficiency.
- You will need to have “sufficient funds available for self-support during the entire proposed course of study.”
- You must still maintain your residence abroad while attending school in the U.S and must not have the intention of giving it up.
After you apply and are approved for an F-1 Student Visa, you will be permitted to enter the U.S. and attend any of the following as a full-time student:
- An accredited college, university, seminary, or conservatory
- Academic high school
- Elementary school
- Another academic institution, which can include a language training program
The USCIS requires you to be “enrolled in a program or course of study that culminates in a degree, diploma, or certificate and your school must be authorized by the U.S. government to accept international students.”
Can I work with an F-1 Students Visa?
After receiving your F-1 visa and entering the U.S. to attend school, you will not be permitted to work off-campus during the first academic year. However, you may still seek employment on-campus as long as it meets certain conditions and restrictions. An immigration and visa attorney can explain to you what these are. Once you get through the first academic year, you may then obtain work as long as the type of work fits into one of these three categories:
- Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
- Optional Practical Training (OPT) (pre-completion or post-completion)
- Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Optional Practical Training Extension (OPT)
The type of job you choose to take must be related to your area of study as well as authorized by your Designated School Official who is responsible for overseeing the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System.
How do I apply for an f-1 Student Visa?
- Find a school that is approved by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP). You can search for a school you already have in mind or another school in the city in which you are looking to move to temporarily to find a school that is approved. You can start your search now by clicking here.
- Apply to the SEVP-approved school in the U.S.
- After your school accepts your enrollment, you will be registered on the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) and will be required to pay the SEVIS I-901 fee.
- You will then be issued an I-20 form.
- After filling out the form and registering in SEVIS, you can apply at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate for your F-1 Student Visa. Be sure to bring your Form I-20 to the consular office when you attend your interview.
- If all your documents are accepted, you pass your interview, and you pay all the corresponding fees, you should be issued your F-1 visa.
[Source: U.S. Department of State].
The process you must go through to obtain your F-1 visa can be difficult, confusing, and sometimes complicated. So, if you would like some assistance with this or you know a child that is living abroad who would like to travel to the U.S. to complete their studies, it would be in your best interest to let an F-1 Student Visa attorney help you file your documents. USAttorneys.com works closely with some of the best F-1 visa lawyers who can aid them in the process of obtaining a student visa and increase their chances of getting their application approved.
Contact us today if you would like to be connected with one of these legal professionals.