F1 Visa

Frequently Asked Questions & Answers

11. What are 'unforeseen circumstances' for the purpose of off-campus employment?

Unforeseen circumstances exist:

  1. If the university reduces or eliminates your financial aid through no fault of yours; that is, if budgets change, or a professor leaves and takes the research grant that paid you. This category could include the elimination of your on-campus job. It does not include the lose of your on-campus employment through poor performance
  2. If the university drastically raises its costs or if living expenses suddenly increase. The regulations do not define the size of the increase, but the bigger the increase, the better your claim
  3. In case there are unexpected and necessary expenses. The regulations discuss ‘other substantial or unexpected expenses’ without defining them. These would need to be necessary expenses, such as medical bills or some type of emergency
  4. When there is an unexpected change in your financial source, which could be family, home government, or sponsor. Your father could lose his job, your government could devalue its currency, or a sponsor could decline further support

12. How long does it take to obtain an Employment Authorization Document for off-campus employment?

You may have to wait for about three months before you receive a response from the USCIS. If your request is approved, you will receive an EAD card valid for up to one year. You may then begin working off-campus. You may not legally work off-campus before receiving your EAD. This authorization can be renewed by USCIS by going through the same process.

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13. How do I apply for F-1 visa?

To apply for F-1 visa, you must submit:

  1. Completed Form DS-160, Nonimmigrant Visa Application. Each applicant should submit a separate application
  2. A passport valid for travel to the U.S and with a validity date at least six months beyond your intended period of stay
  3. Two photographs (37 x 37mm), showing full face, without head covering, against a light background
  4. The letter of admission from the school you plan to study in
  5. The signed Form I-20A-B
  6. A statement that you will leave the U.S. after the completion of your study
  7. Proof of permanent residence in your home country, which you do not intend to abandon

Note: The Form I-20 does not guarantee receipt of an F-1 visa. The local Consular official makes the final decision on the issue of a student visa.


14. Where do I file my F-1 visa application?

  1. You have to apply at the U.S. consulate near the place of your residence
  2. If you are already in the U.S. on another nonimmigrant status, you may apply for change of status to F-1. You should apply to study at a USCIS approved school in the U.S. If you are admitted, the school will issue you Form I-20A-B. You should submit this Form and a Form I-539 to the USCIS. If the USCIS approves the application, a new Form I-94 will be issued to you.

15. What is the processing time for F-1 visa?

The processing time for F-1 visa is generally one business day at most posts. It is often issued on the same day the application is made. This does not account for background check that may be required.