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The U.S. Government permits people who are not American citizens or U.S. green card holders to study in the USA. Any person who is not a U.S. resident can apply to study in America. The person has to obtain a student visa before he or she can start a course of study in the U.S.

In general, a student visa permits the foreign nationals to engage in American language schools, high schools, universities, and other institutions of higher education in the U.S. Each year, thousands of students come to the U.S. from around the world to study and advance their skills. To obtain a student visa, the applicant must initially be admitted to a U.S. school or university before commencing the visa procedure. The foreign students can live in the country for as long as they are enrolled in.

The U.S. Government has a number of programs that provide many learning opportunities to overseas students. For further information on US higher education opportunities, visit the Department of State Education USA website.

VISA PROCEDURE

If you are planning to attend a full course of study in the United States For academic studies or language training programs, you will probably require an F-1 foreign student visa

VISA DETAILS

F1 visa is a non-immigrant category that authorizes foreign students? entrance into the United States to study at academic high schools, conservatories, colleges, universities, and institutions with language training programs. Issued by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), F-1 visa is valid generally for the period of study, including grace time.

The dependents of F-1 receive F-2 visa status. The F-2 visa is available for spouse and minor children of the F-1 visa holders. An F2 dependent visa holder can stay in the United States as long as the principal F1 holder remains in legal status.

On F1 student visa, you are able to apply for change of status. The most accepted change is F1 to H1B visa. Other options such as M-1 visas and H-3 visas are also available.

CONDITIONS FOR F-1 VISA

In order to qualify for F-1 visa, the applicants must

  • Be well-versed in English, unless the applicants are entering the United States to join an English language training course. Some schools have special programs to teach them English.

  • Show that they have enough funds to complete their study.

  • Be coming to attend a full course of study by a school accepted by the USCIS to sponsor foreign students.

  • Have Form I-20 issued by their institution.

BEGINNING THE F1 VISA PROCESS :

Choose a college or university that is approved to accept foreign students and submit your application. When the institution approves your application, it enters all details about you into the SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System). The college will then send you the Form I-20 that you will require to receive your visa.

OBTAINING YOUR VISA :

To apply for an F1 visa at your home country, follow the steps outlined below:

  • Submit the signed Form I-20 to the nearest US Consulate. If you are in the US on another nonimmigrant visa, you can apply for 'adjust status' to F-1. In this case, you must submit I-20 Form and a Form I-539 to the USCIS;

  • Submit Completed Form DS-156 (application for a nonimmigrant visa);

  • Show original valid passport (valid for at least six months);

  • Pay the necessary visa fee;

  • Prove evidence of financial support;

  • Show the permission letter from the school/college you plan to study in;

  • Submit a statement that you will leave the United States after the completion of your schoolwork; and

  • Show evidence of permanent residence in your home country, which you do not intend to abandon.

Note: The Form I-20 will never promise receipt of an F-1 student visa. Your local consulate officer makes the final decision on the issue of your visa.

EMPLOYMENT REGULATIONS

An F1 student is legally allowed to work 20 hours per week on campus. F1 status holders suffering from economic hardship can secure off-campus employment. These students must acquire an employment authorization document (a work permit) before beginning any off-campus employment.

 
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