F-1 Student Visa & Status


A citizen of a foreign country who wishes to enter the United States must first obtain a student visa F-1 nonimmigrant visa. F-1 visa classification is allocated to academic students entering the United States temporarily for the purpose of pursuing a full course of study at an accredited school or university.

F-1 student must meet the following criteria/F-1 visa Requirements:

  • Full-time Program: A student must be enrolled as a full-time student at an academic institution in an educational program approved through the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)
  • English Proficiency: A student must be proficient in English or be enrolled in courses leading to English proficiency.
  • Financial Support: A student must have sufficient funds available for self-support during the entire proposed course of study.
  • Family Ties: You must maintain a residence abroad and have strong family ties to satisfy the nonimmigrant intent.

Employment F-1 Status:

  1. Curriculum Practical Training/Pre-Completion OPT:

Foreign Students on F-1 visa may be authorized for Curricular Practical Training in a related field of study while the school is in session,a temporary authorization for practical training that could be paid or unpaid. The training includes internship (10-12 weeks), co-operative education (semester based), or formal employment. An international student may work either on part time basis (20 hours/week) while attending the school or full-time basis (40 hours/week) while not attending the school. For example, during summer vacation.

  1. Optional Practical Training/Post completion OPT:

Foreign Students on F-1 visa may be authorized for Optional Practical Training in a related field of study. The student is facilitated with 12 months of practical experience period upon completion of the program. The student must file Form I-765 for Employment Authorization and must be approved by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in order to start the employment.

  1. 24-Month STEM OPT Extension

Foreign Students on F-1 visa may be authorized for STEM Optional Practical Training in a related field of study. The STEM extension grants an additional 24-month practical training to the initial 12-month post completion OPT period after satisfying the requirements as below:

  • A Student is currently engaged in post-completion OPT.
  • A Students pursued a degree in a Science, Technology, Engineering, or Mathematics (STEM) areas of study included in STEM Degree Program Designated List.
  • The student must have a job offer and it must be a paid employment.
  • The student’s employer must be enrolled in and is using E-Verify.
  • We assist students that have Request for Evidence regarding their maintenance of status on F-1 visa

Please contact our law firm for additional discussion of this category and alternative options.