F1 VISA FOR ACADEMIC STUDENTS
The F1 visa classification for Academic Students is appropriate for foreign nationals qualified to attend a full course of study at colleges, universities, conservatories, or academic high schools in the U.S. The applicant must be enrolled in a program or course of study that culminates in a degree, diploma, or certificate and your school must be authorized by the U.S. government to accept international students. This visa was designed for international students looking to study at an American, educational institution.
Our fee structure is unique to us as we strive to tailor our services for each client individually. We adapt price standards that are capable of fluctuating for each client depending on their unique needs. Clients may retain us for one or all of the above steps/services.
Our typical fee for a standard F-1 case is $2,500, not including, a governmental fee and third-party extensions. We are happy to customize a proposal for you during a consultation and walk through what a standard F-1 case looks like. Please see below for more information.
CASE PROCESSING OVERVIEW
Step 1: Strategy Session for F1 Visa
This is the most crucial step for your entire F1 Visa. We will review all of the supporting documents to create a strategy, a customized checklist, and a timeline to serve as the guiding foundation for the entire case preparation.
Step 2: Prepare and Submit F-1 Application to USCIS and Answer Potential Request for Evidence (RFE) or Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID)
Our attorneys will craft your F-1 arguments and complete all forms, organize supporting documents and assemble the crafted arguments into the proper application formats.
Step 3: Prepare Client for Interview in the US or at the Consulate
It all comes down to this. We help guide the client in his/her preparation for the interview with USCIS by simulating the interview and ensuring the client is well-versed in the application material. Our services include a comprehensive strategy for answering inquiries posed, practice questions, thorough feedback, and other tools to help clients succeed during the interviews.
Step 4: Arrival is Only The Beginning
Our services do not end when you receive your F-1 Approval, and that this step is just the beginning. To help accommodate this reality, we provide guidance over:
- CBP – Airport Arrival
- Dependent Visas/Work Permits
- Reentry Permits
- Change of Status
- and more!
Checklist of Required Evidence
Gather and prepare the following required documents before your visa interview:
- Passport valid for travel to the United States – Your passport must be valid for at least six months beyond your period of stay in the United States (unless exempt by country-specific agreements). Each individual who needs a visa must submit a separate application, including any family members listed in your passport.
- Nonimmigrant Visa Application, Form DS-160 confirmation page.
- Application fee payment receipt, if you are required to pay before your interview.
- Photo – You will upload your photo while completing the online Form DS-160. If the photo upload fails, you must bring one printed photo in the format explained in the Photograph Requirements.
- Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F-1) Student Status-For Academic and Language Students, Form I-20 or Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (M-1) Student Status for Vocational Students, Form I-20 – Your school will send you a Form I-20 once they have entered your information in the SEVIS database. You and your school official must sign the Form I-20. All students must be registered in the Student and Exchange Visitor System (SEVIS). Your spouse and/or minor children, if they intend live in the United States with you, will each receive an individual Form I-20.
Additional Documentation May Be Required
A consular officer will interview you to determine your qualifications for a student visa, and may request additional documents, such as evidence of:
- Your academic preparation, such as:
- Transcripts, diplomas, degrees, or certificates from schools you attended; and
- Standardized test scores required by your U.S. school;
- Your intent to depart the United States upon completion of the course of study; and
- How you will pay all educational, living and travel costs.
Review the instructions for how to apply for a visa on the website of the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you will apply.
The updated filing fee for F-1 Visa can be found here.
Eligibility for F-1 Visa
According to USCIS, individuals eligible for an F-1 visa (as well as an M-1 visa) must 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 in said “academic” program;
- 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 reisdence abroad which you have no intention of giving up.
If approved for an F-1 visa, there are limitations to where an F-1 student can work:
- An F-1 student may not work off-campus during their first academic year, but may accept on-campus employment with certain conditions and restrictions;
- After the first academic year, F-1 students are allowed to work in the following three types of off-campus employment;
- Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
- Optional Practical Training (OPT (pre-completion or post completion)
- Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Optional Practical Training Extension (OPT)
SAMPLE & TEMPLATES
Attorney Brief: [coming soon] We will provide an attorney brief sample for the F-1 petition.
Cover Letter: [coming soon] We will also provide a cover letter sample for the F-1 petition.
Sample Request for Evidence: [coming soon] Requests for evidence can be used to strengthen the case.
Sample Checklist: [coming soon] We look at the client’s unique situation and create customized checklists to strengthen their cases.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is the maximum total amount of time permitted in F-1 status?
Foreign students in the United States with F-1 visas must depart the United States within 60 days after the program end date listed on Form I-20, including any authorized practical training.
Can I extend my stay under F1 Visa?
Foreign students may request an extension through U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website (see the USCIS Extend Your Stay page). Additional information to maintain student status is on the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement SEVP website under Maintaining Your Immigration Status While a Student or Exchange Visitor.
Failure to depart the United States on time will result in being out of status. Under U.S. law, visas of individuals who are out of status are automatically voided (Section 222(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act). Any multiple entry visa that was voided due to being out of status will not be valid for future entries into the United States.
Failure to depart the United States on time may also result in you being ineligible for visas in the future. Review Visa Denials and Ineligibilities and Waivers: Laws to learn more.
Can I change my status while in the U.S.?
If your plans change while in the United States (for example, you marry a U.S. citizen or receive an offer of employment), you may be able to request a change in your nonimmigrant status to another category through U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). See Change My Nonimmigrant Status on the USCIS website to learn more.
While you are in the United States, receiving a change of status from USCIS does not require you to apply for a new visa. However, once you depart the United States you must apply for a new visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the appropriate category for your travel.
Can I enter the U.S. more than 30 days in advance?
Students on F or M visas are not permitted to enter the United States earlier than 30 days before the start date of their program. If you wish to enter earlier than 30 days before your start date, you must separately apply and qualify for a visitor (B) visa.
After you are admitted to the United States by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials in visitor (B) visa status, you must separately apply to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for a change of status to student (For M) status prior to the start of your program. You may not begin your course of study until the change of status is approved, and you may encounter lengthy processing times. You may also depart the United States and re-enter on your student (F or M) visa.
SCHEDULE A SESSION
Call or email us to set up your 1-hour consultation. Easily pay the $250 consultation fee over the phone or through our email link. If you would like to have a quick chat with our team before setting up the consultation, feel free to use the calendar on the right to book your 10 minute call.