The F-1 is a non-immigrant visa that allows a foreign national to study reside in the US legally while they are enrolled in a course of study
What Are The Privileges Of An F-1 Visa?
An F-1 visa holder can remain in the US for as long as they are complying with the terms of their visa and course of study. Their spouses and children can also reside in the US under F-2 visa holders as derivatives. F visa holders can also engage in some employment subject to certain requirements explained in greater detail below.
What Are The Limitations Entailed In An F-1 Visa??
The main limitations are that an F-1 visa holder has limited employment options while in the US on the F-1, the F-1 does not lead to permanent residence and the F-1 must have non-immigrant intent (that is the intent to only remain in the US to complete their course of study). The F-1 visa holder must also maintain their academic course load or risk losing their immigration status.
How Long Can I Stay In The U.S. On F-1 Visa?
There is no time limit and an F-1 could be extended as long as you maintain your studies. It is important to note however that US Citizenship and Immigration Services will take into account certain aspects of your academic program in determining your F-1 visa extensions. For example, if you are initially given an 18 month F-1 visa to study basic English at an approved USCIS academic institution, the visa will not be able to be renewed indefinitely for that same “basic” English program if you seek to renew it every 18 months for 10 years as one would expect a student to progress beyond the basic level in that time frame
Can I Extend My Stay In The U.S. On F-1 Visa If I Am Unable To Complete My Studies In The Assigned Time?
An F-1 can be extended or switched from one program to another as long as the visa holder has complied with the terms of their visa and their course load or if they haven’t, if their status has been reinstated by USCIS
Can I Change Status While On F-1 Visa?
Yes. As long as you are complying and maintaining your F status, you can change to any other non-immigrant visa you wish but keep in mind that certain visas like the H-1B visa come with time specific restrictions and it is important to consult with an attorney to make sure there is no gap in status between your visas.
Are There Any Travel Restrictions On F-1 Visa?
No. It is important to note however that if a change of status to F-1 status is approved by US Citizenship and Immigration Services while inside the US and that the person wishes to travel outside the US, they will need to go through the US embassy abroad and be issued a visa by the Department of State before being able to return to the US. Visa issuance is not guaranteed and the US Embassies sometimes take a more restrictive stand on proving non-immigrant intent than USCIS.
What Are The Main Conditions To Be Approved For An F1 Visa?
In order to qualify for an F-1 visa, you must not be subject to any grounds of inadmissibility, you must normally show you can afford the costs of studying and residing in the US during your studies without engaging in employment (most schools will require as part of the application process that you provide either proof of savings or a financial sponsor willing to provide economic support during your studies) and that you have a foreign residence you have no intention to abandon.
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