F-1 Visa: Academic Student

The F-1 is the most common student visa.  It is for students who plan to study full-time at an approved institution.  As an F-1 student, you are permitted to attend school at any level, but you must show that you have sufficient funds to pay for your education without having to work.  Some students are permitted to work on campus part-time, but work in the U.S. must not be essential or a means of paying for your education.

Students are subject to registration and reporting requirements.  Each approved school has a Designated School Official (DSO) who is responsible for completing the appropriate paperwork for foreign students and monitoring their school and work activity.

F-1 students are generally not permitted to work, except as discussed above, but there are some exceptions.  Students have the option of completing Curricular Practical Training (CPT) during the course of their studies, and Optional Practical Training (OPT) after graduation.  CPT and OPT afford students the opportunity to work in their respective fields for a specific period of time.  Other than OPT, after graduation it is possible for F-1 students who have petitioning employers to change status to another nonimmigrant work visa, such as to the H-1B visa.