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F-1 VISA information; for students going to US

Education Career and Job Discussions


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Old 24-02-2009
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F-1 VISA information; for students going to US
  

1. What is a form I-20?

When the university admits a student, it sends the student an immigration form called the I-20. This form indicates your field of study (major), the length of your course, and the date when you must report to the university. The form I-20 allows a student to apply for a student visa known as the F-1. In some cases the university may issue a form IAP-66, which results in a J-1 student visa. Because the J-1 is not available to most students, only the F-1 visa is discussed in the following questions.


2. What is the next step?
A. Take the I-20 and your admission and financial support documents to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate to apply for the F-1 visa.

B. Please note that the form I-20 does not guarantee receipt of an F-1 visa. The local Consular official makes the final decision on whether or not to issue a student visa.


F-1 VISA

3. When can I enter the U.S.A.?

The visa will normally allow you to enter the U.S.A. during a period of 90 days before the reporting date shown on the I-20. For example, if the reporting date is January 10, the visa will permit you to enter the United States any time between October 11 and January 10.


4.What happens if I cannot arrive by the reporting date?

You must request a new I-20 from your university. Many universities will admit you for the next available session, but some universities may have restrictions on readmission.


5. If my visa expires, how do I renew it?

The visa is an entry document only. The visa needs to be valid only at the time you enter the U.S.A. It does not need to be renewed if you stay in the U.S.A. However, you may wish to visit Canada, Mexico, or your home country during vacation periods. If y our visa has expired, ask your foreign student advisor to provide complete information about how to renew your visa. You may then apply for a new visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the country you are visiting.


6. What will happen when I enter the U.S.A.?

An airline flight attendant will ask you to complete the I-94 (Arrival/Departure Record) in the airplane before you land at the U.S. port of entry. You will present the I-94 form and your passport to the immigration inspector when you land. The immigration inspector will stamp the I-94 form with "D/S" (duration of status). "D/S" means that you may stay in the U.S.A. until you complete your studies. You should keep the I-94 form and a copy of your valid I-20 or IAP-66 with your passport at all times.


7. What are my obligations as a student on an F-1 visa?

Students on an F-1 visa must follow the regulations of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS). According to these regulations, you must:
- register for classes at the university which issued the I-20
- be enrolled as a full-time student while you are in the U.S.A.
- follow the required procedures before requesting permission to working off-campus.
- request assistance from your foreign student advisor if you wish to transfer from one university to another.


8. Who will help me if I need to contact the INS?

The foreign student advisor at your university will help you take care of all matters relating to immigration regulations. Larger universities have several foreign student advisors to assist students with immigration questions.

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Old 24-02-2009
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Re: F-1 VISA information; for students going to US

LENGTH OF STAY

9. How long can I stay in the U.S.A?

The I-20 indicates the length of time you can stay to finish your course of studies. The U.S. Government takes a generous position toward students who are enrolled full time in a U.S. university. You are permitted to stay until your studies are finished.< p> 10. If I cannot complete my studies in the required time, may I stay longer?

If you need a longer time to complete your studies, a foreign student advisor at your university will help you apply for an extension.


EMPLOYMENT

11. Can I work at the university while I am a student?

Yes. Some universities offer student employment. No special permission from the INS is necessary to apply for an on-campus job. However, jobs may be limited. Also, money earned from either an on-campus or off-campus job will not be enough to cover your tu ition and living expenses. This money should be considered to be only a small supplement to your other financial resources. The INS expects all students admitted to U.S. universities to have sufficient funds for their educational expenses.


12. Can I work off campus?

Yes, but there are some additional requirements that you must fulfill: A. You must be a full-time student in the U.S.A. for at least one academic year (9 months) before requesting permission to work off campus. B. Both you and the employer must complete c ertain forms. These forms may be obtained from your foreign student advisor.


13. How many hours may I work?

While school is in session, you may work up to a maximum of 20 hours per week. During vacation periods, you may work full-time (40 hours per week)


14. How will my work opportunities compare to those of a citizen of the U.S.A.?

International students have an equal opportunity in applying for an on-campus jobs. Off-campus employers are required to make jobs available to U.S. residents first, but when international students are employed, the employer must pay them the same wage th ey pay U.S. residents.
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Old 24-02-2009
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Re: F-1 VISA information; for students going to US

AFTER YOU COMPLETE YOUR STUDIES

15. Must I leave the U.S.A. after I complete my degree program?

You will have up to 60 days after you complete your degree requirements to leave the U.S.A. You may stay longer if: A. You begin another degree program. For example, after you finish a bachelor's degree, you may begin a master's degree program. In this ca se, you will need to apply for an extension for a new program of study. You may ask your foreign student advisor for assistance. B. You apply for "Practical Training". Again, your foreign student advisor will be glad to help.


16. What is Practical Training?

This is an opportunity for you to gain employment experience in your profession for a maximum of one year. The work must be directly related to your major field of study and it must be appropriate for your level of education. The work may be full time or part time and may occur anywhere in the U.S.A. To be eligible, you must: A. Have been a full-time student for at least nine months. B. Submit your application for an "Employment Authorization Document" (EAD) no earlier than 90 days before you complete you r studies and no later than 30 days after you complete your studies. C. You should check with your foreign student advisor for updated information.


17. Is it difficult to get the "Employment Authorization Document" for Practical Training?

Note. All students who apply within the time guidelines are granted permission for practical training. However, the student is responsible for finding a job.
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