F Visa

Students wanting to study full-time courses as defined by the academic educational program are most commonly granted F-1 visas. Another type of visa is the M-1, which is for students wanting to study at a vocational school (e.g. cookery). These studies include elementary school, academic high school, college/university, conservatory or language training. However, to apply for a student visa, the student must first obtain a Form I-20.

F-1 : Student
Issued to Beneficiary of any age to allow him/her to study a full time course in a recognized school. There must be a minimum of 18 hours of classes per week. The duration of the visa depends upon the duration of the course of study.

F-2 : Immediate Family of Student
Issued to the spouse and dependant children of a beneficiary of an F-1 student. The duration of the visa is the same as that for the primary student.

Addition Information

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F Visa

Purpose:
Students wanting to study full-time courses as defined by the academic educational program are most commonly granted F-1 visas. Another type of visa is the M-1, which is for students wanting to study at a vocational school (e.g. cookery). These studies include elementary school, academic high school, college/university, conservatory or language training. However, to apply for a student visa, the student must first obtain a Form I-20.

Requirements:
1) Student must submit to the academic institution, where he or she has chosen to study, a complete application
2) A letter of Financial Certification showing sufficient financial resources to cover expenses while a student and pay the required application and processing fees.

Duration of Visa:
The F visa is issued for the duration of the course of study.

Description:
The F visa allows a student to come to the U.S. temporarily to study. The first step in obtaining a F visa is applying to and being admitted by a school in the U.S. The school must be authorized by the USCIS to enroll foreign students. After being accepted by a school and when applying for your F visa, you have to show that you have adequate financial resources without working to pay for your school tuition, fees, and other living expenses. As long as you attend school full-time and continue to make normal progress toward the completion of your program or degree, you will remain in valid status. Under certain circumstances you may be able to work while a student. Also, you may be eligible for “practical training” either during the course of your studies or after completing them.


F-2 Visa

Purpose:
The F-2 visa is for the spouse or dependent children of an F-1 student.

Requirements:
1) Valid F1 Visa by the principal applicant.
2) A letter of Financial Certification showing sufficient financial resources to cover expenses.

Duration of Visa:
Same as that of the principal F1 applicant.

Description:
F2 visa holders are allowed to stay for the same period of time as the principal F-1 student, but are not authorized to work.


Additional Information:
Employment for Foreign Students
Foreign students may be authorized to be employed under the following circumstances:

1. On-Campus Employment: An F-1 student may be employed on-campus for up to 20 hours per week while the school is in session, and full time during the holidays. This work may be carried out without permission from the INS. However, the student must get a letter from the school’s foreign student advisor or another appropriate official at the school stating that the student is authorized to perform the on-campus work. The student may obtain a valid Social Security Card by presenting this letter, a copy of his/her I-20 ID and a valid passport to the local office of the Social Security Administration.

2. Off-Campus Employment: An F-1 student who has completed one full academic year, and has obtained reasonably good grades, may work off campus up to 20 hours per week while the school is in session, and full time during the holidays, by obtaining written permission from the school’s foreign student advisor or another appropriate official at the school. Employers of F-1 students must follow certain procedures established by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), like filing a Labor Attestation with DOL, etc.

3. Practical Training: This is a legal means by which F-1 students can seek employment and training in fields related to their area of study. (Students who study English as a Second Language are not eligible for such training.)

Under the current regulations, there are two forms of practical training available:

a) Curricular Practical Training (CPT) : Alternate work/study programs, internships, co-operative education programs or any type of required practical which is offered by sponsoring employers through co-operative agreements with a school is considered to be curricular practical training. To qualify for CPT, a student must have been in F-1 status for nine consecutive months except in the case when a student is required to begin practical training immediately in his chosen subject. In any case, the practical training must be related to the student’s major area of study. A designated school official may authorize this type of practical training by endorsing the student’s I-20 ID. Authorization from the INS is not required.

b) Optional Practical Training (OPT) : After graduation, a designated official from the school may recommend to the INS that the student be allowed to participate in a one year period of practical training, provided the student has not engaged in a year or more of curricular practical training. The student must then apply to the INS for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) by submitting a completed I-765 application, his/her I-20 bearing the recommendation of the school official and the I-765 filing fee to an INS District Office. The student must apply for the EAD during a period of 120 days, that is 90 days before completion of his/her studies and up to 30 days after completion.

Recent Changes in the Immigration Laws
The new immigration law has narrowed the scope of student visa classification by withholding such status from aliens who wish to study at public elementary or secondary schools or publicly funded education programs, unless the total period of study is 12 months or less and the school has received the full, unsubsidized cost of the course of study. Foreign students may not switch from privately funded schools to publicly funded schools, unless the student meets the 12 month test and the reimbursement required stated above. Persons who violate these norms cannot enter the U.S. for a period of 5 years after the date of the violation. This rule has been effective since December 1996 and applies to all visa as well as extension applications.

EXCHANGE STUDENTS
A student who participates in a exchange student program which includes studying, observing, doing research or receiving any other training and wishes to come to the United States for the duration of this period is granted a ‘J’ visa. This program must be partly or wholly funded, directly or indirectly, by an agency of the U.S. government or by the government of the student’s nationality or his last country of residence.

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