The F Visa is for students who wish to enter the U.S. and are currently admitted to an established college, university, seminary, conservatory, academic high school, elementary school, or other academic institution. If you are currently in the U.S. in another status and wish to change to F-1 Student status, our office can work with you to file an Application for Change of Status with the USCIS. Please email info at kidambi.com or call (203) 416-5300 to discuss your options.
Despite the recent furor over the F-1 student visa category, U.S. immigrations laws have long recognized the importance of admitting foreign students to study in U.S. schools. A foreign student in F-1 status is “an alien having a residence in a foreign country which he has no intention of abandoning, who is a bona fide student…at an established college, university, seminary, conservatory, academic high school, elementary school, or other academic institution.”
In order to qualify for a F-1 visa, a foreign national must show that:
- (S)he has completed a course of study normally required for enrollment in the U.S. school.
- (S)he is either coming to the U.S. to participate exclusively in an English language training program, is sufficiently proficient in English to pursue the intended course of study, or the school must have made special arrangements for English language courses or teach the course in the student’s native language.
- (S)he has sufficient funds or will funds will be available from an identified and reliable financial source to defray all living and school expenses during the entire period of anticipated study in the United States. Specifically, applicants must prove they have enough readily available funds to meet all expenses for the first year of study, and that adequate funds will be available for each subsequent year of study.
- (S)he has been accepted for a full course of study by an educational institution approved by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (“INS”).
Working on a F-1 Student Visa
There are four main types of employment authorization for F-1 students:
1. Optional Practical Training.
There are two forms of optional practical training.
- Pre-graduation practical training is permitted during summer vacations and other times when school is not in session or during the school year provided that the employment does not exceed 20 hours per week when school is in session.
- Post-completion practical training is permitted when a student has completed all course requirements for the degree. A student is eligible for a total period of twelve months of optional practical training. Any time spent on pre-graduation practical training is subtracted from the overall twelve-month limit of optional practical training. Also, part time pre-graduation employment (20 hours per week) is counted as half the full time rate. In other words, if a student works part time for four months it is counted as only two months of optional practical training. A student may not participate in any optional practical training if he/she has spent twelve months working full time in curricular practical training. Both optional practical training and curricular practical training must relate directly to the student’s major field of study.
2. Curricular Practical Training.
Curricular practical training is a training program which is part of a students curriculum. An employer through a cooperative agreement with the school must in the form of an internship, work-study program, or any other type of practicum offer the training. A student who receives twelve months of curricular practical training is not eligible for optional practical training.
3. On Campus Employment.
A foreign national may work on campus without INS authorization. The hours of employment cannot exceed 20 hours per week during the school semester/quarter or 40 hours during vacations and recesses. On campus employment does not affect the twelve months of practical training.
4. Employment based upon unforeseen economic necessity.
A foreign student may receive employment authorization if there are unforeseen circumstances beyond the student’s control, which make it impossible for the student to support him/herself at the level indicated on the Form I-20. It is difficult to obtain such authorization. The student must first document that suitable on-campus employment is not available. In addition, the student must be in good academic standing and must have completed at least one full academic year in F-1 status. If the INS approves the employment request, the INS will issue employment in one year intervals up to the completion of the student’s course of study.
The answer to this question is not simple. The student may be permitted by the Designated School Official to enroll for less than full-time where it is recommended for academic reasons or due to the student’s illness [I guess a complicated pregnancy qualifies]. The regulations are not specific as to how long a student may take less than a full-time load. An F-1 student is considered to be in status during the school’s annual vacation, if the student is eligible for and intends to resume full-time studies in the next term.
My friend’s son wants to come to U.S. for higher studies or employment. He will be completing his BE Btech. What steps he needs to take –
1. For coming to U.S. to do his M.S. in Computer Science.
— He must immediately obtain admission to an M.S. program from an accredited U.S. University. This University would have to provide him with an I-20 Admissions Record that he would then have to use to obtain a visa.
2. Come here for employment, securing a job and H1-B Visa.
— For this, he would have to find employment with a U.S. employer capable of employing him in a specialty occupation (one that requires the minimum of a bachelor’s degree).
Since you have already filed an application for change of status it is important that you respond to the Request for Evidence from the USCIS. Not doing so could affect an application for a visa at the U.S. Consulate.
You will be unable to return in F status if you leave the country. Also, once you depart you are ineligible to use the remainder of the OPT period.
Optional Practical Training (OPT) is accorded to individuals in F-1 status. You should be able to file a COS application to be accorded F-2 status.
Yes, however, it may be unlikely that you will receive your Permanent Residency before your OPT expires. This could be a problem if you plan on continuing in school or extending your F status. Indicating you are in intending immigrant renders you ineligible for extensions of your F student visa. There may be additional complications and we highly recommend you discuss this matter with one of our Attorneys.
I am a student with a 5 years F1 visa. I married an US-citizen, I want to know if the marriage invalidates the visa.
Marriage to a U.S. citizen does not in itself invalidate your F-1 visa.
Are there any restrictions on port of entry for a F1 visa? Should the student arrive in the same state where the college is located in?
There are no restrictions. However, you must be prepared to explain to the satisfaction of a CBP official why you your entry is at a POE different from the one located nearest to the school.
I’m an international student. I received a notice that my I-20 expired this year that the University did not notify me until after passing of the grace period of 60 days during which reinstatement could take place. The university is asking me to leave the US and try to enter again with a new I-20 that they will provide me. Is there still a way to avoid leaving and filing reinstatement? What are the options in case problems arise at port of entry?
This situation is case specific and the questions sensitive. Unfortunately, this scenario is outside the scope of this forum. We recommend a personal consultation.
I am on F1 visa and my wife is green card holder. Should I apply for green card now or wait till my wife becomes citizen after 2 years?
You could have your spouse petition (file an Immigrant Petition) for you immediately under the Family Based (2A) category. According to the Visa Bulletin for July 2012, it appears the backlog for India is approximately 2 years. However, numbers could move rapidly. If this happens, you could be looking at filing an Application for adjustment of status before your spouse becomes eligible to apply for naturalization. This strategy has no downside since you could always wait to file an Application to Adjust Status after your wife becomes a naturalized U.S. Citizen. You will not be required to file an immigrant petition all over again.
Reinstatement may be possible, but not guaranteed in this situation. It appears you have been out of status for over 5 months. Under federal USCIS regulation 8 CFR 214.2(f)(16), an F-1 student is only eligible for reinstatement if all of the following conditions apply to the student:
- Has not been out of status for more than 5 months at the time of filing the request for reinstatement (or the failure to file within the 5 month period was the result of exceptional circumstances and that the student filed the request for reinstatement as promptly as possible under these exceptional circumstances)
- Does not have a record of repeated or willful violations of [USCIS] regulations
- Is currently pursuing, or intending to pursue, a full course of study in the immediate future at the school which issued the Form I-20
- Has not engaged in unauthorized employment
- Is not deportable on any ground other than section 237(a)(1)(B) or (C)(i) of the Act
- Establishes to the satisfaction of the [USCIS], in detail showing, either that:
- The violation of status resulted from circumstances beyond the student’s control. Such circumstances might include serious injury or illness, closure of the institution, a natural disaster, or inadvertence, oversight, or neglect on the part of the DSO, but do not include instances where a pattern of violations or where a willful failure on the part of the student resulted in the need for reinstatement or
- The violation relates to a reduction in the student’s course load that would have been within a DSO’s power to authorize, and that failure to approve reinstatement would result in extreme hardship to the student.
- Hope you find this helpful. Contact your International Students Office to discuss reinstatement immediately.
You may be able to change status to F-1 provided you register for classes and initiate processing while the second H-1B remains pending. Discuss the situation with the designated school official at the School.