Q1: What is an F1 visa?
A1: An F1 visa is a non-immigrant visa for individuals who wish to study in the United States.
It’s intended for students attending an academic program or English Language Program at a
US college or university.
Q2: How can I apply for an F1 visa?
A2: Firstly, you must be accepted at a SEVP (Student and Exchange Visitor Program)
approved school in the United States. Then you should receive an I-20 form from the
institution. After that, you can apply for the visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate in your
home country. You must pay the SEVIS fee and complete the DS-160 visa application form,
schedule and attend an interview.
Q3: How long can I stay in the U.S. on an F1 visa?
A3: The F1 visa itself is issued for a period of up to five years. However, your length of stay is
not limited by the visa but by the duration of your course plus 60 days of grace period. You
may also extend your stay through optional practical training (OPT) or by transferring to
another SEVP approved school or changing academic programs.
Q4: Can I work while on an F1 visa?
A4: Yes, but there are restrictions. You may work on-campus up to 20 hours per week during
regular full-time quarters or semesters. You may also work off-campus if it’s related to your
area of study and you receive authorization from the International Student Office and the
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This is typically called Curricular Practical
Training (CPT) or Optional Practical Training (OPT).
Q5: Can I bring my family with me on an F1 visa?
A5: Yes, your spouse and unmarried children under 21 can accompany you to the U.S. on an
F-2 visa. However, they are not permitted to work. F-2 visa holders may not engage in full-
time study either, though children may attend K-12 schools.
Q6: What happens if I need to drop out of my studies?
A6: If you drop out of your studies, your F1 visa status will be terminated. You will need to
leave the U.S. immediately unless you have a valid reason to change your status or if you
qualify for the 60-day grace period.
Q7: Can I travel outside the U.S. and return while on an F1 visa?
A7: Yes, you may travel outside the U.S. and return while you are a valid F1 status student.
You should always consult with your university’s international student services office before
traveling internationally to ensure your documents are up to date and to confirm that you
have everything needed for re-entry to the U.S.
Q8: What is SEVIS?
A8: SEVIS stands for Student and Exchange Visitor Information System. It’s an Internet-
based system that maintains accurate and current information on non-immigrant students
(F and M visa), exchange visitors (J visa), and their dependents (F-2, M-2, and J-2).
Q9: Can I change my visa status while in the U.S.?
A9: Yes, you can apply to change your nonimmigrant status while in the U.S. However, you
must meet certain conditions, such as being admitted to the U.S. on a valid nonimmigrant
visa and not having committed any actions that would make you ineligible.
Q10: Can I renew my F1 visa?
A10: Yes, you can apply for a renewal of your F1 visa. You typically do this through the U.S.
embassy or consulate in your home country. Renewal is not guaranteed and is subject to
approval by the embassy or consulate.
Q11: Can I transfer schools while on an F1 visa?
A11: Yes, you can transfer to a different school. However, you need to inform your current
school and follow a specific procedure that includes getting a new I-20 form from the new
school and possibly updating the SEVIS system.
Q12: What if my F1 visa expires while I’m in the U.S.?
A12: The visa expiration date doesn’t impact your status in the U.S. What matters is the
“Duration of Status” or “D/S” on your I-94 or admission stamp which should match your I-
20’s end date.
Q13: What should I do if my visa is denied?
A13: If your visa application is denied, you will typically be given a reason based on the
section of law which applies to your ineligibility. Review this information and consult with a
legal expert or the international students office at your prospective school.
Q14: What are the financial requirements for an F1 visa?
A14: Applicants need to demonstrate they have sufficient funds to cover their tuition and
living expenses for at least the first year of their studies.
Q15: What is the purpose of the I-20 form?
A15: The Form I-20 is a certificate of eligibility for non immigrant student status. It’s
required to apply for an F1 visa, to enter the U.S., and to maintain legal F1 status when in
Q16: Can I stay in the U.S. after completing my studies?
A16: Yes, under certain conditions. Students are given a 60-day grace period after the
completion of their program. During this time, students can prepare for departure, transfer
to a new school, or start Optional Practical Training (OPT) work.
Q17: Can I change my degree level while on an F1 visa?
A17: Yes, it is possible to change your degree level (for example, from bachelor’s to
master’s) while on an F1 visa. You’ll need to work with your school’s international students
office to update your SEVIS record and get a new I-20 form.
Q18: Can F1 students open a bank account in the U.S.?
A18: Yes, F1 students can open a bank account in the U.S. You’ll typically need your
passport, I-94 record, and your I-20 form.
Q19: Can F1 students apply for a driver’s license?
A19: Yes, F1 students can apply for a driver’s license. You’ll need to provide proof of legal
presence in the U.S., which can include your I-20 and I-94 form.
Q20: Can I attend part-time on an F1 visa?
A20: No, F1 students must maintain full-time status. This is typically at least 12 credit hours
for undergraduate students