Info & Requirements
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An F-1 Visa is issued to international students that attend an academic program or English Language Program at a U.S. college or university. F-1 students must maintain the minimum course load for full-time student status. An F-1 student can remain in the U.S. up to 60 days beyond the length of time it takes to complete their academic program. In addition, an F-1 student can remain for 12 months after securing a degree to work under the OPT (Optional Practical Training) program. F-1 students are expected to complete their studies by the expiration date on their I-20 form (Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status) which is provided by the U.S. College or university that the student has been accepted to and will attend.
In order to qualify, applicants need to satisfy several strict criteria:
1. Must have a foreign residence and must intend to return there upon completion of studies;
2. Can only study at the academic institution through which the visa was granted;
3. Must have sufficient financial support;
4. Must have strong ties to home country (e.g. job offer letter upon completion of studies, assets, bank accounts, and family).
5. It may be possible to convert this visa to a temporary work visa upon completion of applicant’s studies. Spouses and minor children obtain F-2 visa status and are not authorized to work in the U.S.
Immigration regulations are very strict with respect to working while carrying a student visa. F-1 status, which is the most common status for full-time international students, allows for part time, on-campus employment (fewer than 20 hours per week.) Jobs available on campus typically do not pay much, certainly not enough to finance a university education. Do not count on this kind of a job for anything more than a supplement to other funds.
An F-1 student is generally entitled up to one year of post-completion practical training. Authorization for this type of practical training may be granted for a maximum of 12 months and only starts once you have graduated or completed your course of study.
Once you are accepted as a student you can speak to the international students department of your university to get the necessary forms to apply for any possible training/work opportunities. They will inform you of the different practical training options available to you.
Applying for an F-1 Visa
Each university may have a different admission policy. When applying through F-1Visas we will inform you what they need from you in order to determine that you are academically eligible. Amongst other requirements, you will need to show the school that you have enough money to support yourself while studying without having to work and you may have to show health insurance in order to cover any medical expenses should you need any medical assistance.
Once the university has determined that your application is complete and you are academically eligible, they will issue an I-20 form to enable you to apply for your student visa.
Applicants for student visas should generally apply at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate with jurisdiction over their place of permanent residence. This will normally be your home country, the country in which you live. Although visa applicants may apply at any U.S. consular office abroad, it may be more difficult to qualify for the visa outside the country of permanent residence.
You will need the following when applying at the consulate for your student visa:
1. You will have to pay a non-refundable application fee. This means that if your visa does not get approved, you will not get your money back.
2. An application Form DS-156, completed and signed. These forms are free at all U.S. consular offices.
3. A DS-157 form for all males aged 16-45.
4. A passport valid for travel to the United States and with a validity date at least six months beyond your intended period of stay in the United States. If more than one person is included in the passport, each person desiring a visa must make an application.
5. One photograph 1 and 1/2 inches square (37x37mm) for each applicant, showing full face, without head covering, against a light background
6. For the “F” applicant, a Form I-20A-B. For the “M” applicant, a Form I-20M-N. This form shows that you have been admitted into a US college, university or other institution.
7. You will need to show that you have enough money to support yourself.
When applying for a student visa, you will have to prove to the consular officer that you have strong ties to a residence in a foreign country, which will likely will be your home country, that you have every intention of returning to your home country, and that you will leave the United States when you have completed your studies.
You should take as much evidence as possible to show that you have ties to your home county. Such evidence can include, but is not limited to:
Ownership of property, proof of immediate family that is still based in your home country such as your parents, brothers, sisters, evidence of a mortgage payment, letter from a future employer stating that you have a job offer when returning home, assets, a car or anything else that can show that your intention is to return to your home country.
Fees and Responsibilities
As the agent for the university we are required to charge a fee for each student that wishes to apply and attend school with our education client. Below is a list of the requirements and responsibilities. All fees are in U.S. dollars:
Application Fee: $100 (*fully refundable if you are not accepted by the school)
Processing Fee: $1000 (*due upon acceptance by school)
1st Semester’s Tuition: $6,000 (Undergraduate Program); $8,000 (Graduate Program); $3,000 (Intensive English Program) (*due prior to starting class)
*Payment can be made with a wire or certified bank check.
You will be responsible for making your travel arrangements to the university. Our staff as well as the university staff can assist you with finding discounted travel options. We can arrange for pick-up and transportation from the airport to your accommodations. Additionally- temporary accommodations can be arranged as well as travel to and from the school until more permanent accommodations can be arranged.
F-1Visas.com can assist you with locating permanent housing. This can range from Home-stay programs (where available), shared housing or apartments. The prices for these can range from $500 – $1000 per month.
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