Hundreds of thousands of F-1 students study at universities and training programs across the United States.
If you wish to pursue academic studies in the United States, you may be eligible for F-1 student status.
This page explains how you can become an F-1 student, how you can qualify for a work permit under Optional Practical Training (OPT) and how to change your status from F-1 student to H-1B professional employee, and then to permanent residence in the U.S.
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“Don’t do the mistake we did and try to save few bucks going with nonprofessionals and sole practitioners! It will end up not only costing you much more in the long run, but also putting your status in jeopardy which can have a priceless impact. It is one of the most important steps in your life.”
- Sgt. Danny Lightfoot, Los Angeles, California
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F-1 Student Visas is divided into the following subtopics:
- F-1 Students – General Information
- Recent University Graduates
- Employment for University Students
- Guides to Studying in the U.S.
- SEVIS-Student & Exchange Visitor Information System
- California Sanctuary School Guidance
- F-1 Visas: Additional Resources
F-1 STUDENTS – GENERAL INFORMATION
- STEM OPT HUB (DHS)
- Education USA: Your Guide to U.S. Higher Education (State Department)
- Students and Employment (USCIS)
Graduation day is approaching and you’ve finally made it. You are about to receive your diploma and go out into the working world. You and your classmates are competing for the best jobs, but you feel at a disadvantage because you are not a U.S. citizen or even a green card holder. How are you supposed to navigate through the strange new world of immigration laws and procedures?
This is a practical guide for foreign-born students about to graduate from universities in the U.S.:
- Optional Practical Training
- Temporary Working Visas: Who is Eligible?
- Procedure to Obtain H-1B Status
- Numerical Limitation
- Duration of H-1B Status
- Applying for Permanent Residence
- Employment-Based Immigration
- What is PERM?
- Alternatives to Labor Certification
- Getting Your Green Card
- Optional Practical Training (ICE)
- Extension of OPT Program for Qualified Students (USCIS)
- USCIS Interim Memo on Eligibility for 17-Month Extension of STEM OPT (10-6-13)
- Optional Practical Training Update (ICE) – (4-23-10)
- Judge Rejects Student Visa Injunction Sought by H-1B Opponents (8-07-08)
- Optional Practical Training (OPT) Regulations (4-08-08)
- Updates to Post-Completion Optional Practical Training – 30 Pages (4-25-08)
- USCIS to Allow F-1 Students Opportunity to Request Change of Status (4-18-08)
- Questions and Answers: Extension of Optional Practical Training Program for Qualified Students (4-10-08)
- STEM Designated Degree Programs (ICE)
- OPT Regulations FAQ (USCIS) – (4-04-08)
- USCIS Announces Increase from 12 to 29 Months for OPT for “Certain” Students (4-04-08)
- Classification of Instructional Programs: 2000 Edition – National Center for Educational Statistics – U.S. Department of Education (5-24-02)
- Nonimmigrants: Who Can Study?
- Study in the US – STEM OPT Hub
- STEM OPT Extension Overview
- International Education Service
- Institute of International Education
- International Student Organization
- Princeton Review
- U.S. Journal of Academics
- Student and Exchange Visitor Program (ICE)
- NAFSA’s SEVIS Resource Portal (7-26-17)
- SEVP Approved Schools (5-4-09)
- INS’s SEVIS Regulations (12-11-02)
- Sanctuary School Guidance (3-28-18)
- School Guidance Quick Reference (3-28-18)
- Student and Family Checklist (Spanish) (3-28-18)
- Student and Family Checklist (English(3-28-18)
F-1 Visas: Additional Resources
- AAO Non-Precedent Decisions on Petition for Approval of School for Attendance by Nonimmigrant Students
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