F-1 Student Visa

The F-1 Visa (Academic Student) allows you to enter the United States as a full-time student at an accredited college, university, seminary, conservatory, academic high school, elementary school, or other academic institution or in a language training program. You must be enrolled in a program or course of study that culminates in a degree, diploma, or certificate and your school must be authorized by the U.S. government to accept international students.

There are limitations and requirements related to F-1 students attending public secondary/high schools (grades nine through twelve), under U.S. law. Student F-1 visas cannot be issued to persons seeking to enter the United States in order to attend a public primary/elementary school or a publicly funded adult education program. Contact our office for a free consultation with an immigration attorney to see if your program affords you an F-1 visa.

Aside from obtaining a new F-1 visa, Mr. Galstyan, an experienced immigration lawyer will assist you to change your non-immigrant status to F-1 status when you are already in the U.S. in another non-immigrant status (example B-1/B2 or J-1) if you are going to pursue full-time academic studies in a college, university, seminary, conservatory, private academic high school, other academic institution, or language-training program. Due our numerous contacts with language schools we may also be in a position to advise you of an appropriate school based on your budget.

Dependents of F-1

Spouses of F-1 students and their dependent children under 21 can either accompany or later join the F-1 student in the US during the same time period as the principal F-1 on an F-2 visa. Children on F-2 visas can attend public elementary and secondary school.


  • You may come to the U.S. as a full-time academic or language student enrolled in a program leading to a degree or certificate. (Students not requiring student visas include tourists who are taking a class or two for recreational purposes, those who have a spouse or parent in the U.S. with an A, E, G, H, J, L or NATO visa or status, or a worker in H status, as long as it does not interfere with his or her nonimmigrant status.)
  • Visas can be issued quickly.
  • You can transfer from one school to another or switch academic programs by going through a simple procedure to notify the INS of the change.
  • You may work legally in a part-time job on campus. Also, you may get special permission to work off campus if it is economically necessary or if the job provides practical training for your field of study.
  • You may travel in and out of the U.S. or remain there until the completion of your studies.
  • Visas are available for accompanying relatives.


  • You must first be accepted as a student by an approved school in the U.S. before you can apply for an F-1 visa. (Once accepted by the school, you may be able to apply for your student status without leaving the U.S.)
  • You may not work legally off campus without special permission.
  • You are restricted to attending only the specific school for which your visa currently has been approved.
  • Accompanying relatives may stay in the U.S. with you, but they may not work.
  • You may not obtain an F visa to study at a public elementary school or a publicly funded adult education program.
  • You may not obtain an F visa to study at a public secondary school unless you prepay the full cost of such program for a maximum of one year.
  • You may not obtain F visa status to study at a private elementary or secondary school, or private adult education program, and then transfer to or attend publicly funded elementary, secondary or adult education programs.
  • An individual who violates the above regulations regarding study at a public elementary, secondary or publicly funded adult education program or who changes such enrollment from such a private school or program to such a public program (without receiving prior approval and paying the full cost for a period not to exceed one year) will be inadmissible to the U.S. for five years.
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