An F1 visa is a nonimmigrant visa for those who wish to study in the U.S. at a university or college, a high school, a private elementary school, a seminary or a conservatory. Other academic institutions and language teaching programs are also valid. Once you have been accepted into a certified school in the United States, you can apply for this student visa. However, you have to prove that:

  • You have been accepted into the school or educational institution.
  • You have the necessary means to fund your studies.
  • You are prepared to do the course that you chose.
  • You intend to leave the United States once your studies are finished.
  • You are proficient in English, and language is not an impediment for you to study. This condition does not apply if the reason for the trip is to participate exclusively in a program to study English.

What Documents Are Required?

  • Valid passport.
  • The DS-160 form confirmation sheet.
  • A picture (for the DS-160 Form).
  • I-20 form, Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status.
  • Receipt of a single payment for the visa, which covers the cost of the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System’s (SEVIS) administration.

What Is the Validity of this Visa?

This visa is granted for a maximum of five years, depending on the duration of the course taken.

Can the Visa Be Extended to the Family?

Yes. The spouse and children under 21 years of age may apply for and receive the F-2 or M-2 visas to accompany or join the main applicant in the United States. Dependents receive the same visa validity as the main applicant.

Does this Visa Allow You to Work?

Students on an F visa can work while they are studying under certain conditions and on a permit issued by the Department of Homeland Security. Students on F or M visas can work after completing their studies under three different practical training programs (curricular, optional or STEM – science, technology, engineering and mathematics).

Finally, remember that students on an F1 visa must study in the academic institution specified in the visa application. However, in some situations, students are allowed to transfer to another institution if they complete or leave their current program and have confirmed plans to study in a different institution in the United States the next academic semester.