Minnesota F1 Visa Academic Students Attorney


An F1 visa is a type of student visa that allows students from foreign nations to engage in English language studies or academic studies at an accredited academic institution within the United States.  Depending upon the circumstances, an F1 student may be permitted to work while enrolled in academic studies.  Duration of the visa may vary, but usually the student may stay as long as they remain in legal full time student status even if the F1 visa were to expire during that time frame unless the student traveled outside of the United States with an expired visa in which the student will need to obtain a new F1 student visa from the Embassy or consulate located abroad before they can resume their coursework.  Before or once graduation approaches, an F1 student may participate in authorized practical training for no more than one year (12 months).  F1 students who complete practical training or any course studies as shown on the I-20 form are allowed an additional 60 days to transfer to another academic institution or to depart.

First time F1 visa applicants are usually required to appear in-person for an interview.  Keep in mind that each consulate and embassy sets its own policies and procedures pertaining to the application and interview processes and it is best to contact your local consulate or the American Embassy to obtain more information on their process and requirements of applicants.

Shortly after the events on September 11, 2001, adjustments were put in place making the application and review process even more extensive to comply with national security concerns.  Plan to apply for the F1 Visa well in advance of your date of departure and provide every relevant document that will help to establish your relationship with the community with you.  This will help avoid making frequent trips to the Embassy.  June, July, and August are extremely busy for consular sections which will make scheduling appointments for an interview complicated during this time period.  An experienced immigration attorney can help guide you through this lengthy and complex process.  The attorneys at Tarshish Cody are ready to help you prepare and get through this process smoothly.  To schedule a free consult, contact us at 952-361-5556.


It is important that F1 students who intend to enroll in public school within the United States are fully informed of the specific restrictions that apply to them.  Restrictions include:

  • Students who attend public high schools in the US are limited to 12 months of study. Public school attendance in the US prior to November 30, 1996 does not count toward this limit.
  • F1 visas can no longer be issued to attend public elementary or middle schools (Kindergarten to 8th grade) or publicly-funded adult education programs.
  • Before an F1 visa for a public school can be issued, the student must show that the public school in the US has been reimbursed for the full, unsubsidized per capita cost of the education as calculated by the school. Reimbursement may be indicated on the I-20. Consular officers may request copies of canceled checks and/or receipts confirming the payment as needed.

These restrictions are applicable only to F1 Visa holders attending public schools and exclude F1 students who are attending private schools and students who are currently attending public academic institutions on derivative visas such as F2, J2, and H4.  Any person who violates these restrictions may not be permitted to obtain another visa for a duration of five (5) years.

Required Documentation

All applicants are required to provide the following:

  • A Form I-20 obtained from a U.S. college, school or university. Be sure to provide all four pages of the I-20 form. The form must also be signed by the applicant and by a school official in the appropriate places
  • Form DS156, Nonimmigrant Visa Application together with a Form DS158, Contact Information and Work History for Nonimmigrant Visa Applicant. Both forms must be completed and signed. A separate application form is needed for children, even if they are included in a parent’s passport
  • All male nonimmigrant visa applicants between the ages of 16 and 45, regardless of nationality and regardless of where they apply, must complete and submit a Form DS157, Supplement Visa Application in addition to the DS156 and DS158. Some American embassies and consulates also require female and other male applicants to complete the DS157. Applicants from state sponsors of terrorism age 16 and over, irrespective of gender, without exception are required to complete the DS157. Seven countries are now designated as state sponsors of terrorism, including North Korea, Cuba, Syria, Sudan, Iran, Iraq, and Libya.
  • A passport valid for travel to the United States and with a validity date at least six months beyond the applicant’s intended period of stay in the United States
  • One photograph 2 inches square (50x50mm) for each applicant, showing full face, without head covering, against a light background
  • A receipt for visa processing fee
  • A receipt showing payment of the visa application fee for each applicant, including each child listed in a parent’s passport who is also applying for a U.S. visa

If the applicant has dependents, they are also required to provide:

  • Proof of the student’s relationship to his or her spouse and/or children (e.g., marriage and birth certificates.)
  • It is preferred that families apply for F1 and F2 visas at the same time, but if the spouse and children must apply separately at a later time, they should bring a copy of the student visa holder’s passport and visa, along with all other required documents.

Additional Documentation

Applicants of the F1 student Visa are not required, but must be prepared to provide:

  • Transcripts and/or diplomas from previous institutions they attended
  • Scores from standardized tests required by the educational institution such as the TOEFL, SAT, GRE, and GMAT
  • Financial evidence that shows the applicant or applicant’s parents who are sponsoring applicant have sufficient funds to cover the tuition and living expenses during the period of intended study

Schedule an Appointment

Our immigration attorneys offer free initial appointments.  Call us at 952-361-5556 (or fill out the free case evaluation form below) to learn more about your F1 Student Visa matter.

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