Disclaimer: Immigration policies change over time. It is important to consult an attorney for the most up-to-date and accurate information on visas.
Purpose: The F-1 visa was created for those who wish to pursue academic studies in the United States. These studies can be at U.S. colleges, universities, seminaries, conservatories, high schools, or other academic institutions.
Eligibility: There are 5 main criteria to meet when attempting to obtain an F-1 visa.
a. You must be accepted into a U.S. institution that has authorization to enroll international students.
b. You must have a residence in your home country that you do not intend to abandon.
c. You must demonstrate sufficient financial stability in order to cover tuition, living, and any costs for dependents.
d. You must demonstrate proficiency in english. This can be shown through standardized tests such as TOEFL or IELTS
e. You must show that you have the intention to return to your home country once your studies have been completed.
Duration: This visa grants the individual the ability to stay in the U.S. for the duration of their academic program. An F-1 is usually renewed on yearly basis with your academic institution. After your studies are completed, you may be eligible for Optional Practical training (OPT). This is a grace period that allows the visa holder to gain work experience in their field in the U.S.
Dependents: Spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 may be eligible to enter the United states under the F-2 visa. The F-2 visa allows immediate family to accompany you to the United States, however, they are usually not permitted to work.