F Visa & Status

The F nonimmigrant category allows qualifying academic students to study in the U.S. in approved academic institutions. To obtain student status, a person must show that he or she:


1) has been accepted by an approved academic school in the U.S;


2) has the financial resources to complete the planned course of study without working in the U.S.; and


3) plans to return abroad when he or she completes the program. 

Husbands, wives and unmarried children under 21 of F nonimmigrant students can be granted F2 dependent status to accompany the student. 

What is the general process? 

There is basically a 5-step process – 

1. Your first step should be to contact the school you are interested in attending. 

• Prospective students can review a list of approved schools at www.ice.gov


2. If an approved school accepts you, they will issue you a form I-20. 

3. Once you receive the I-20, you must pay a student fee to the U.S. Government.


4. If you are outside the U.S. with your I-20, you can apply for a visa; if you are already in the U.S., you may be eligible to change status to become a nonimmigrant student. 

5. After you are admitted to the U.S., – 

• For proof of your status while you are here, you can access your I-94 arrival-departure record at www.cbp.gov/I94.