F-1 Visas for Students
F-1 visas are temporary visas for students enrolled in undergraduate four-year programs or graduate programs in the United States. An F-1 visa is unique in that the duration is not fixed for all students given the variety of programs and duration of programs that exist. As such, a person in F-1 status is in “duration of status” stamped as “D/S” on an I-94 card. The visa status is as long as the validity of the program.
The F-1 student is required to show proof of financial ability to pay for school, intent to return home and to comply with the terms of the visa, such as attending classes full time, working only when authorized, and complying with SEVIS rules as set forth by Immigration Customs Enforcement as implemented through each school.
For specific information about obtaining an F-1 visa, you should first consult with the International Student Officers (ISOs) at the schools where you will be applying to ensure the school is designated to accept F-1 students and to get initial details on the process.
Change of Status/Extension of Status: F-1 students are eligible to change status or extend their stay so long as they are complying with the current terms of their visa.
Reinstatement: F-1 students who have fallen out of status may request reinstatement to student status again, a special procedure that is unique to the F-1 category. This can occur whether you are in deportation proceedings or not.
Optional Practical Training (OPT): OPT refers to an F-1 student’s ability to obtain a work authorization document prior to graduation to allow one year of employment following the student’s coursework and earned degree. Although a student may be finished with coursework and working, they are still considered in F-1 status during this period of time. There are specific limits on how OPT is obtained, how long it lasts, and how to comply with OPT rules, so consultation with an experienced immigration attorney is recommended to ensure F-1 status is maintained during this period.
If you wish to study in Colorado or elsewhere in the United States and have questions about the F-1 student visas , contact Denver immigration lawyer Catherine Brown to schedule a consultation. Contact us online or call us at 303-322-2117.
J-1 Visas for Visitor Exchange Students
University students can also enter on J-1 visitor exchange temporary visas. This provides foreign students the opportunity to participate in a designated exchange visitor program while studying at a degree-granting, post-secondary, accredited academic institution or participating in a student internship program that fulfills the student’s academic study. A student sponsored in this category may participate in a degree, non-degree, or student internship program. Such an exchange is intended to promote mutual understanding by fostering the exchange of ideas between foreign students and their American counterparts.
Similar to an F-1, a J-1 student is in “duration of status” stamped as “D/S” on an I-94 card. Their status is as long as the program. J-1 students, however, may be subject to the two-year home residence requirement that is unique to the J-1 visa.