An F-1 visa is a temporary student visa that allows international students to study full-time at an accredited high school, college, university, or other academic institution. International students wishing to participate in an English language course in the U.S. may also be eligible for an F-1 visa.
F-1 Visa Entitlements
An F-1 visa entitles the holder to study in the U.S. at an accredited educational institution. An F-1 visa is usually granted for the duration of the course and F-1 visa holders are entitled to remain in the U.S. as long as they continue to meet their visa requirements. An F-1 visa also entitles the holder to engage in limited authorized employment while in the US subject to certain restrictions.
Spouses and unmarried children under 21 years of age may apply for the applicable derivative visa (F-2 visa) to join their spouse or parent in the U.S. An accompanying spouse cannot accept employment or engage in study without obtaining an appropriate work or student visa, but accompanying children are entitled to attend primary and secondary school in the U.S.
F-1 Visa Requirements
To qualify for an F-1 visa, the applicant must be enrolled full-time in an academic or language education program at an approved school or academic institution in the U.S. Full-time study is defined as a minimum of 18 hours of study per week. Applicants are required to demonstrate they have sufficient funds to support themselves for the duration of their course and that they intend to return to their home country upon completion of their studies.
F-1 visa applicants may also be required to meet certain health and character requirements.