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How can study in the US with an F-1 Visa?

Giselle Ayala Mateus, Esq.

The F-1 student visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows foreigners international students to enter the US to study in certain qualified educational institutions certified by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP).

SEVP is a part of the National Security Investigations Division and acts as a bridge for government organizations that have an interest in information on nonimmigrants whose primary reason for coming to the United States is to be students. SEVP manages schools, nonimmigrant students in the F and M visa classifications and their dependents, visitor programs, and nonimmigrant exchange visitors in the J visa .

The F-1 visa is one of the most popular types of student visa for students seeking to study at a US university or college. Thus, international students planning to pursue degrees in full-time academic programs for Bachelor’s, Master’s or doctoral programs must obtain a student visa.  

It is crucial to understand that a student visa is a non-immigrant visa. It is a temporary visa and applicants must be aware of this when thinking about the F-1 visa as a path to a longer visa or immigration status. As a F-1 student, the duration of the applicant stay will vary based on the duration of the educational program.

The basic F-1 Visa requirements

Hay varias reglas de visado F-1 que hay que tener en cuenta, el solicitante debe cumplir estos requisitos para ser aceptado:

– Institution certification. El colegio o la universidad donde el solicitante planea estudiar necesita ser aprobado por el Servicio de Inmigración y Aduanas del SEVP.

Inscripción a tiempo completo. El solicitante debe estar matriculado como estudiante a tiempo completo en la institución durante el período académico.

– English language proficiency. The applicant must meet the required English language proficiency score of the institution or be enrolled in courses that will help improve English proficiency.

Financiación suficiente. El solicitante debe demostrar que dispone de fondos suficientes para financiar los estudios y los gastos de manutención durante su estancia en Estados Unidos.

Pasaporte válido. El pasaporte debe ser válido para viajar a Estados Unidos durante al menos seis meses después de la finalización del programa educativo.

Residencia en el país de origen. The applicant is required to have a residence outside the US in its home country to return to following the completion of the degree.

The involvement of the school, college or university in the process

Once the applicant is enrolled, a representative of the educational institution, usual someone in charge of the international students program, will be in charged of providing the I-20 form. The I-20 form provided by the institution will list the expiration date of the program. This is very important because the applicant is required to earn the corresponding degree before the expiration date on the I-20. This date will also impact the duration of the visa and the allowed time for the student in the US.

La formación práctica opcional (OPT)

The optional practical training program is one type of work permission available for eligible F-1 students. It allows students to get real-world work experience related to their field of study. Although a Designated School Official (DSO) may recommend OPT in SEVIS (the platform for international students), it is the student who must apply for the work permit with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). If the OPT is approved, USCIS will issue an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). The applicant cannot begin working before the start date on the EAD.

Under OPT an international student may work for up to 12 months in the US. For STEM (STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics and refers to any subjects that fall under these four disciplines.) graduates, applicants may request two additional years of work in a related field.

Once the OPT terms is finished, if the student has no extensions or additional training available, the student will need to return to her home country within 60 days after.

Spouses and unmarried children of F-1 students

If an international student has a spouse or unmarried minor (under age 21) children who will accompany the student during the program in the US, the student will receive additional Forms I-20. Family members that are eligible and receive these dependent forms will have to apply for an F-2 visa.

Be Prepared: Know Your Program and Why You Want to Come to the United States

El proceso de entrevista puede resultar abrumador para algunos solicitantes. Para garantizar una buena experiencia, el solicitante debe estar preparado para lo que puede esperar. Algunas de las preguntas con las que se puede encontrar el solicitante son las siguientes:

¿Por qué quiere estudiar en Estados Unidos?
¿Por qué vas a cursar este programa de estudios?
¿Por qué eligió esta institución?
¿Puede seguir sus estudios en su país de origen?
¿Por qué necesita realizar sus estudios en Estados Unidos?
¿Para qué carrera te prepararán tus estudios en tu país?
¿Dónde se alojará en Estados Unidos?
¿Tiene familia en Estados Unidos?
¿Piensa volver?
¿Le han denegado el visado anteriormente?

If you have any questions about the visa application process or if your visa is delayed or denied, speak with our office as soon as possible. You may contact G.A.M. Law Office by calling +1646 397 2396 or emailing the office at ayala@gisellea.sg-host.com

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