How Long Can I Stay in the U.S. on an F-1 Visa?
Usually when you receive an F-1 visa, you will be allowed to stay in the U.S. for the duration of your studies, plus one year of authorized Optional Practical Training (OPT) (training in your area of study) along with an additional 60 days to prepare to leave the U.S. or transfer to another school.
What Happens If My F-1 Visa Expires?
A foreign student can stay in the U.S. and remain in status once you become a full time student, even if your F-1 visa is expired. However, if you leave the U.S. on an expired visa, you will be required to get a new, valid student visa before you will be allowed to re-enter the U.S. to complete your studies. A student visa cannot be re-issued or renewed in the U.S. Instead, you must go to an Embassy or Consulate abroad.
Can I Attend a Public School on an F-1 Visa?
Yes, but if you are attending a public high school, you are only allowed 12 months of study. If you attended a public high school before 1996, that time does not count towards the 12 month limit. F-1 visas will no longer be issued to attend public elementary or middle schools or publicly funded Adult Education Programs. If you violate these restrictions, you will be denied a visa for 5 years.
You may attend a public university or college, but before an F-1 visa will be issued for any school, you must show that the school will be reimbursed for the full un-subsidized cost of your education as calculated by the school.
Can I Travel Outside the U.S. While On An F-1 Visa?
Yes, you may travel outside the U.S. while you are studying on an F-1 visa. You should have your I-20 Form with you every time you enter the U.S. The I-20 Form is issued by your school and states which school you will be attending, your expected graduation date, and how your education will be funded. Remember that a visa does not guarantee that you will be allowed to enter the U.S. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers have the authorization to allow or deny your request to enter the U.S.
Do I Need An Immigration Attorney?
Ensuring that you stay in legal status under any visa can be quite complicated. If you suspect you have violated any immigration rule, an experienced immigration attorney will be able to guide you through the process of getting back into status and minimizing any negative repercussions that can affect your time of study.