Student and Exchange Visitor Visas

F-1 Visa

F1 Visa is the most common nonimmigrant student visa issued to thousands of students and researchers each year. It is specifically for academic purposes and F1 visa requires your proposed study program to eventually awards you with a degree, diploma, or certificate.

Eligibility Requirements:

  • The student must be accepted into one of the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) schools 
  • The student’s enrolment must be full-time at the school s/he is accepted 
  • The student’s English must be sufficient enough for his/her to study in the U.S. or s/he must be enrolled in courses teaching proficient English 
  • The student must be able to afford his/her trip, stay and study in the U.S. 
  • The student must return to his/her home country when his/her study is over 
  • The student must have been living outside of the U.S. at the time of application 

Family Members:

The spouses and unmarried children (under the age of 21) can accompany the applicant as dependents on F-2 status.  


Your lawful stay depends on the course of your study, and how much time you need to complete it. You are authorized to stay in the U.S. until 60 days after the end date of your program listed on Form I-20, Certification of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status. 

Your stay can be a maximum of 60 days after the end date listed on Form I-20. If you want to extend your lawful stay in the U.S., you can follow with your Designated School Official (DSO) the pathways listed below: 

  • Transferring to another school  
  • Changing your educational level (MA to Ph.D.) 
  • Applying for a change of status to another visa status 

Yes, you can. You are allowed to enter the U.S. a maximum of 30 days before your program’s start date.  

Yes, you can. But employment opportunities for F-1 students are strictly regulated. You have two options to choose from:

On-campus work: You can be employed at the university campus, or at one of its affiliated schools outside of the campus. Examples include working at a university library, bookstore, cafeteria, etc.

Off-campus work: Off-campus work is available only to students who completed at least one full academic year of their program of study. You have three options to choose from off-campus work: 

  • Curricular Practical Training (CPT) 
  • Optional Practical Training (OPT) (pre-completion or post-completion) 
  • Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) OPT

    To learn more about working while on F-1 status, please see Working in the U.S.

Yes, you can. For this, you need to request a change of status through U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). To learn more on this issue, please visit Change My Nonimmigrant Status

It depends on whether you want to travel or not. If you receive a change of status approval, you can stay in the U.S without leaving the U.S. However, you need to apply for a new visa from consulate if you would like to travel. 

Yes. But before starting your transfer, you need to take several steps: 

  • Inform your Designated School Officer (DSO) about your wish to transfer 
  • Show proof of acceptance to your new school 
  • Report to your new school and enroll in a full course of study at least 30 days after arriving in the U.S. 

As long as your visa is still valid, you are not required to reapply for a new F-1 visa to enter the U.S. To learn more on this issue, please visit Do Students Returning From Temporary Absences Need New Visas? 

If your children are of minor age (18 years of age or younger), they are allowed to attend schools in the U.S. while accompanying you.  


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