F-1 Academic Study and/or Language Program


The F-1 visa is applicable to foreign nationals looking to study as a full-time student at an accredited academic institution or in a language training program that provides a degree, diploma or certificate upon completion. Under certain circumstances, students in F-1 status may be eligible to work in the United States. Please see our page, Working on a Student Visa, for more information.

Accompanying or following dependents are required to apply for an F-2 Visa and are not eligible for employment in the U.S.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Enrolled as a full-time student in an “academic” educational program or language-training program
  • Program is offered by a SEVP-approved college, university, seminary, conservatory, academic high school, elementary school, or other academic institution
  • Proficiency in English or enrolled in courses leading to English proficiency
  • Sufficient funds available for self-support during the entire proposed course of study
  • Has a residence in a country outside the United States and has no intention of abandoning it

Duration of Status

Foreign nationals must be enrolled in a program to maintain F-1 Status. Upon completion of the program students have 60 days to depart the U.S. Alternatively, an F-1 student on Optional Practical Training (OPT) with a timely-filed H-1B petition may be eligible for an extension of their status (Cap Gap) until their H-1b employment begins.

Future Eligibility

Foreign nationals in the United States in F-1 status are eligible to apply for a Change of Status to another visa classification or Adjustment of Status to Lawful Permanent Resident so long as they meet the requirements.

What We Do

  • Provide assistance in the F-1/F-2 Application and evidence required
  • Review applications to identify potential concerns that may affect the outcome of the application
  • Provide guidance in maintaining the F-1 Status and working while on an F-1 visa
  • Provide assistance to F-1/F-2 holders within the United States that wish to extend their visa, apply for a Change of Status or Adjustment of Status

Accruing Unlawful Presence

On Aug. 9, 2018 USCIS issued a policy memorandum (Accrual of Unlawful Presence and F, J, and M Nonimmigrants) changing how the agency calculates unlawful presence for students and exchange visitors in F, J, and M non-immigrant status, including F-2, J-2, and M-2 dependents, who fail to maintain status in the United States. 

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