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F-1 Visa - Frequently Asked Questions


Are there any travel restrictions on F-1 visa?

No, there are no travel restrictions on F-1 visa. You may use the vacation between two semesters or other holidays to visit your home or enjoy your vacation. While re-entering the U.S. you must have the following documents:

  • A valid Form I-20A-B with a recent signature of the school advisor
  • A valid passport
  • A valid visa (unless you go to Canada, Mexico, or the Caribbean islands and return within 30 days; or unless you are a Canadian citizen)
  • Proof of your financial support

How long can I stay in the U.S. on F-1 visa?

The Form I-20 indicates the length of time you may stay to finish your course of study. The U.S. government takes a generous position towards students who are enrolled in full time courses in U.S. universities. You are permitted to stay until you finish your studies.

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Can I work on F-1 visa?

Yes, you may work on-campus on F-1 visa. However, you may not work off-campus during the first academic year. You must prove that you have sufficient funds to cover your education and living expenses while applying for the visa. This category of Employment Authorization recognizes that 'unforeseen circumstances beyond the student's control' provide legitimate reasons to request off-campus work permission.


Can I change status while on F-1 visa?

Yes, you may apply for change of status while on F-1 visa. The most preferred change is F-1 to H-1B. You may avail of other options like M-1, H-3.

  • Have been in F-1 status for one academic year
  • Be in good academic standing and be registered as a full-time student
  • Be able to handle effectively your employment and schedule as a full-time student
  • Have made a serious attempt to find on-campus work
  • Be able to demonstrate that your changed circumstances are unexpected, beyond your control, and are causing financial hardship
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