An F-1 student is a nonimmigrant who is in pursuit of a “full course of study” to attain a specific educational objective at an academic institution in the United States that has been designated and certified by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Once the objective has been attained, the F-1 student is expected by the U.S. government to return to his or her home country.
Who can obtain an F-1 visa?
A non-immigrant may obtain F-1 student status using Form I-20 issued by a DHS approved academic institution. There are two ways for non-immigrant to obtain F-1;
- If outside of the U.S., by entering the country with the I-20 and F-1 visa issued and obtained at a U.S. embassy or consulate (Canadian citizens are exempt from the visa requirement).
- If the student is already in the U.S. and does not wish to travel abroad and re-enter with a new status, the student may apply for a change of nonimmigrant status with USCIS.
- Note: Students requesting a change of nonimmigrant status from B-1 to F-1 will not be allowed to attend classes until the change of status has been approved by USCIS.