F1-visa is a non-immigrant visa given to international students who wish to study in the USA. Any non-resident of America can apply for it to pursue some kind of study in the USA. You must file an F1 visa application if you plan on entering the US to attend a university or college, high school, private elementary school, seminary, conservatory, language training program, or other academic institution. Let’s discuss F1-visa requirements.
You may enter in the F-1 or M-1 visa category provided you meet the following criteria:
- You must be enrolled in 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
- You must be enrolled as a full-time student at the institution
- You must be proficient in English or be enrolled in courses leading to English proficiency
- You must have sufficient funds available for self-support during the entire proposed course of study
- You must maintain a residence abroad which you have no intention of giving up.
The F1-visa can only be granted by the US embassies and consulates. So to apply for the Visa, appear in the institutes which can grant the visa.
Benefits of the F1-visa are the legal employment opportunities (OPT/CPT) which is 20 hours a week or less on-campus work. To work, students need authorization from USCIS (united states citizenship and immigration services).
Work permission for CPT is permitted by Designated School Official. Work permission for OPT is given by USCIS. The international students on the F1 Visa are not eligible for paying tax.
The process of getting an F1 visa is simple but it is time-consuming. Before applying to the institute, it is most to verify if the institute supports the international student program. In the entire process to choose the school which equips the international student facility is the most crucial step. The university has to be legally approved by SEVP. The process of application submission to the university is lengthy and requires patience to wait for a long time.
After receiving the I-20 form and the approval from the university that you have applied to, you would be required to pay the fee for the official enrollment.
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Not every university you apply approves your application. The majority of the time rejection has to be faced if you fail to match the standard of their eligibility criteria. The process for the interview of the F1 is also vast and time-consuming. There is no assurance that the applicant will get the visa. While appearing for the F1-visa, the candidate has to be ready with the documents mentioned below:
# Documents required for F1-visa:
- A valid passport
- The Non-immigrant Visa Application, Form DS-160
- The application fee payment receipt
- A passport photo
- A Certificate of Eligibility for Non-immigrant (F-1) Student Status (Form 1-20)
# Official Residency in a Foreign Country and Intentions to Return Home
Upon graduation it’s imperative that the international student plans on returning back to their home country. The Visa application has high chances of being rejected if the embassy interviewer doubts you for the PR upon the interrogation. The basic intention for the F1 visa is to allow students to acquire international knowledge and use that for their own country.
# Admission to an Approved School
It is important to prove in front of the invigilators that your admission has been confirmed by US Institute, which is the Student Exchange Visitor Program(SEVP) approved.
# Sufficient Financial Support
To convince the visa approval person that you are equipped enough to survive on your expenses is mandatory. US government provides the earning opportunities but the legal duration of work is limited.
# Ties to Your Home Country
Another important part of an F1 visa interview is proving strong ties to your home country, including family, job offers, bank accounts or other assets.
The students on the F1 are permitted to work off-campus for the duration of 12 months. The special benefit is given by the government under the program called Optional Practical Training (OPT).
F1 visa should not be mixed with the work visa, but it permits students to work and gain practical work experience in their major. F1 visa students can work for a certain period of time after starting their F1 opt job. OPT job requirements should be fulfilled by the candidate so as to apply for the OPT jobs.
Illegal working on the F1 visa is a serious crime and may lead to legal issues. Violation of the US government rule can cancel your F1 visa.
Different ways OPT can be used:
- Part-time work during the F1 student’s studies
- Full-time work in the vacation period between the semesters
- After graduation in a field related to the program of study
F1 visa is granted on the basis of the application filed and received from the institution that you have applied to. If a situation arises where you have to change the institution, then with some legal procedure and minor documentation, it is possible.
After the time limit for the F1 visa is over, international students can stay in the USA for another 60 days. If the person wants to stay for a longer duration, then it is recommended to change the visa status. For that, the possibility is to re-enroll in some other higher graduation program or transfer to another school by getting entirely new and fresh documents.
The other visa called F2 visa is given to the dependent of F1. E.g. the person who is taking the F1 visa is a married family person then his family can get the F2 visa and they are prohibited from any kind of legal employment.
F3 visa granters are those who reside in their own country taking the schooling from the USA. These people are eligible for the OPT and the CPT jobs only after their graduation is over.
On-campus work is neither allowed nor the permission is granted. The opportunities for F1-visa candidates are high so that they can expose new technologies and educate themselves and also experience work employment for a certain period by applying for opt jobs in the USA.