F-1 Visa & Status

The F-visa is for academic students, who intend to be a student temporarily in the United States. One differs between the F-1 and the F-2 status. You can also study with a M-visa or a J-1 visa.

Criteria–Statutes/Regulations for the F-visa/ status:

  1. Applicant has foreign residence with no intention of abandoning it.
  2. Applicant is a bona fide student qualified to pursue a full course of study.
  3. Applicant seeks to enter the U.S. as a student “temporarily and solely for the purpose of pursuing such a course of study at an established institution of learning or other recognized place of study in the United States.”
  4. Applicant will study only at an institution particularly designated by him and approved by ICE in compliance with the SEVIS program.
  5. Will not attend a public elementary school or publicly funded adult education program and will not attend a public secondary school unless s/he attends the secondary school for a period not in excess of 12 months and demonstrates s/he has reimbursed the school board the full, unsubsidized per capita cost of the education.
  6. Family members, on F-2s, may not attend school without c/s to F-1, however, a child may attend elementary through 12th grade. 8F-2s may not attend school while the c/s is pending.

No employment in the 1st academic year (i.e., 9 months) except for on-campus work, which can begin as soon as the student is admitted in F-1 status.
Students who transfer after being given work authorization need new authorization to work.
After 1st year a student in good standing may obtain employment off campus as determined by the DSO.

Social Security Card

The SSA has established procedures for students to apply for SSN or replacement card. The student must submit evidence of age and identify, the I-20, the current I-94, and evidence of authorization to work and of full-time attendance at school, which may include an original letter from the DSO providing that the student is authorized to work on campus and currently enrolled in a full course of study.


The family may follow to join F-1 if the F-1 student is or will be within 30 days enrolled in a full course of study or is engaged in approved practical training. Each family member must be separately issued a SEVIS I-20. The change of address requirement under INA §265 is satisfied by SEVIS notification within 10 days even though the school is not required to update SEVIS data until 21 days after the change. Any student who has gone through special registration and moves, must file a change of address on form AR 11.