Understanding F-1 Student Visas


An F-1 student visa is a temporary visa, which is available for certain foreign students who wish to study full time in the United States.

Many different types of schools may take students who enter the U.S. on an F-1 student visa. Before enrolling, students should check to make sure their school is approved by the U.S. Customs and Immigration Service (USCIS) and can accept international students on F-1 visas. Schools that may take F-1 visa students include not only colleges and universities, but seminaries, conservatories, academic high schools and elementary schools, and certain language training programs. These are called SEVP schools.

In order to apply for an F-1 student visa, a student must demonstrate to the USCIS that:

  • the student is enrolled full time in an academic educational program, vocational program, or language program,
  • the student is seeking a degree, diploma, or certificate to be awarded upon completion of his or her coursework at the school,
  • the student is either proficient in English or is taking classes to gain proficiency,
  • the student has enough funding to support him- or herself during the entire course of study, and
  • the student has a residence abroad to which he or she plans to return when study is finished.

Students who do not qualify for an F-1 student visa may nevertheless qualify for a J-1 exchange student visa. Exchange participants take part in educational exchange programs approved by the Department of State. They may be professors or teachers, research assistants, students, trainees, specialists, nannies, or camp counselors.

At Peek and Toland, L.L.P., you’ll work with an experienced Austin immigration attorney whom you can trust in your search for a stable F-1 student visa. For a free and confidential case evaluation, call us today (512) 359-3362.

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