The F-1 visa is the most common type of student visa in the United States. The Immigration and Nationality Act provides two non-immigrant visa categories for persons wishing to study in the United States. The “F” visa is reserved for non-immigrants wishing to pursue academic studies and/or language training programs. F-1 visa is given only through “academic” institutions. Vocational education is not included in F-1 visa. For vocational education, an M visa should be obtained.
F-1 Visa: Employment
F-1 students are not authorized for employment except for on-campus work of less than 20 hours per week (full-time permitted during school recess periods). Where economic hardship is present, off-campus employment authorization of less than 20 hours per week may be obtained after the first year.
Optional Practical Training (OPT)
Otherwise, F-1 students can obtain practical training employment authorization “Optional Practical Training (OPT)” for a period of one year, usually after completing their degree program. OPT employment is not limited to a specific employer, but must be related to the student’s field of study. Additionally, students who have completed nine (9) months of an undergraduate degree program, or students pursuing a graduate degree program, may obtain authorization to participate in an internship or cooperative training program that is part of their curriculum (“Curricular Practical Training”).
Spouses and Children of F-1 students
Spouses and children of a F-1 student may be issued F-2 visas so they may accompany the student. Spouses cannot engage in full-time studies at any level. Children may attend primary and secondary school, but cannot pursue post-secondary education, unless they too obtain an F-1 visa. Neither spouses nor children can be employed while in F-2 status.
Immigration attorneys at The Dworsky Law Firm have been processing numerous applications for F-1 Student visa and will be happy to assist you. Call The Dworsky Law Firm in Chicago at (841) 441-4188, or use the consultation form to describe your case.