Applying for the F-1 Visa
What is the F-1 Visa? Am I eligible to apply for it? When do I start? Can I work in the US under the F-1 Visa?
What is the F-1 Visa?
If you are an international student and plan to study in the US, you will most likely need a student visa, also known as an F-1 Visa. The F-1 Visa is a “non-immigrant visa” issued by the US Embassy in your home country and enables you to enter the US as a student in the US. The F-1 Visa should not be confused with the Form I-20 (I-20) that is issued to you by your university.
Validity of the F-1 Visa
If you hold an Indian passport and plan to study in the US, the US Embassy will issue a 5-year F-1 Visa that remains valid throughout your student journey in the US. Students who need to extend their program of study beyond 5 years must renew their F-1 Visa and re-enter the country to complete their program.
Companies hiring students on a F-1 Visa majoring in Humanities & Arts
Find out which US companies are willing to hire international students majoring in Psychology, Environmental Science, Industrial Product and Design, and Architecture.
Am I eligible to apply for the F-1 Visa?
The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) maintains a list of SEVP-approved colleges and universities that meet the requirements to accept and host international students in the US. To be eligible for an F-1 Visa, you must be accepted by an SEVP-approved college and enroll as a full-time student.
When can I start applying for the F-1 Visa?
Once you are admitted and confirm your admission with a SEVP-approved institution, your school’s international student office will issue you Form I-20; this document outlines your program’s start and end dates, and your financial support sources. You are eligible to apply for a F-1 Visa beginning 120 days before the printed program start date on your I-20. F-1 Visa applications received by the US Embassy prior to 120 days before your program’s start date will be rejected.
Employment on the F-1 Visa
In general, students on a F-1 Visa are not allowed to seek employment (on-campus or off-campus) before completing one full year of full-time study in the US. After your first year, you are eligible to work in the US and must apply for work authorization to begin doing so. In addition, international students studying on a F-1 Visa are allowed to gain work experience in the US after graduation for a period of up to 12 months. This 12-month period is called “Optional Practical Training” (OPT). Click here to read more additional benefits for international students graduating with STEM degrees.