F visas are a type of non-immigrant student visa that allows foreigners to pursue education (academic studies and/or language training programs) in the U.S.
The Federal Government requires international F-1 students to complete a full course of study of 12 credits per semester. F-1 visas are only issued in U.S. embassies and consulates outside the U.S. Students are required to earn 14 credits each semester to qualify to receive academic scholarship.
- F-1 visitors may enter the U.S. no earlier than 30 days before the program start date and remain until the end of their program, as specified on form I-20. Once an F-1 student's program ends, he/she may remain in the United States for an additional 60 days, often referred to as a "grace period," in order to prepare for departure from the country. The F-1 may choose to apply for a change of status in the United States within the 60 days period and continue to reside legally if immigration permits.
- On-campus employment does not require a work permit. Off-campus employment requires a work authorization from International Student Services or USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services).
- Optional practical training is a type of work permission available for eligible F-1 students. It allows “temporary work employment for practical training directly related to the major area of study.” 8 CFR 214.2(f)(10)(ii). There are three types – a) 12 months of either part-time or full-time pre-completion training used before the end date or 12 months of full-time post-completion training used after the end date, b) 24 month STEM OPT extension, c) Cap-Gap OPT Extension. (Click HERE to view Optional Practical Training PDF)
- F-2 dependents (spouse, child) are not eligible for work authorization.
- F-2 spouses are not eligible to study full-time in the U.S. but may engage in study that is merely avocational or recreational in nature. F-2 children in primary and secondary schools may be eligible to study part-time or full-time in the US.
- No Two-Year Home Country Physical Presence Requirement.