F-1 Visa Can You Work In The U.S. With A Student Visa

F-1 Visa: Can You Work In The U.S. With A Student Visa

The United States is one of the leading countries that provides quality education, especially in English language teaching. Hence, many international students wish to do their English language improvement classes there. However, studying in the U.S. involves a substantial investment, like tuition, housing, and food. Besides, the diversity of culture in the United States is an invitation to expand your academic horizons.

Is the last day of your English class term fast approaching and you don’t know what to do or where to go? Would you like to be productive, improve your curriculum with customer service, and to receive a salary? Would you like to improve your level of English by developing an English-speaking culture? Several university students arrive on their vacations wondering this and, like you, they are ready to change their routine and do something profitable with their free time.

More about F-1 Visa

It can be a bit complicated for students to get a job in the United States, but not impossible. International students must apply for the F-1 Visa or the J-1 Visa. Acquiring, any of these visas will depend on you. You should meet all the requirement, and you should have the resources to finance your studies without having to work. Aside from other distinct prerequisites of obtaining your F-1 visa, there are other things that you need to remember. Take into consideration the period to stay in the country and the option to study while working. This post will focus more on the latter.

Generally, immigration authorities prohibit international students with an F-1 Visa from working while they are studying. On the other hand, there are some ways that they can work and study at the same time, without violating immigration regulations. F-1 visa holders cannot work outside the campus any time in the first year of their studies. Under some situations, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) may permit an international student to look for a job after one year of study.

The applicant for a student visa in the United States must come to the country to pursue an academic program, at an institution recognized by the United States government. A student/applicant must have a valid educational objective to come to the United States and be a full-time student. Typically, the F-1 student visa is issued at the consulate or the U.S. embassy in the student’s country of origin.

Travel with an F-1 student visa

International students may enter the United States several times if they have a valid F-1 student visa. Students with an F-1 visa must have have all the necessary documents and signed authorizations. This is to avoid problems entering in the U.S. People with an F-1 Visa can also travel freely within the United States.

Work with an F-1 student visa

Students can work on campus, but they should be enrolled in the school. Students can apply for a Curricular Practical Training (CPT) to gain experience in their field of study while they are full-time students. They can take the opportunity to do an Optional Practical Training (OPT) once they have completed their degree.

In summary, although U.S. immigration laws can prohibit students from working and studying at the same time, there are some ways to get it done legally. You have to explore the possibilities. If you have more questions about the student visa process, an academic adviser at your school can be a great resource or contact an immigration lawyer. In terms of making sure you have the right program or if you wish to study and enhance your English Language proficiency in the United States, visit POLY’s program or contact us to assist you better.

F-1 Visa

How Do I Apply For A Student Visa In The United States?

Every year, thousands of young people and university students want to apply for a student visa to study in the United States. The first thing you should know is the two categories of student visa. These visas are commonly known as F-1 and M-1 visas. However, there are specific criteria that a student must meet to apply for a student visa, as detailed on the United States Immigration and Naturalization Services (USCIS) page.

First, you must be enrolled in an academic program, a language training program, or a vocational program. Your school must have the approval of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Service (ICE) Student and Visitor Exchange Program. Essentially, you must be enrolled as a full-time student of the institution. You must have English language proficiency or be enrolled in courses to gain English proficiency. Lastly, you must have sufficient funds available to cover your expenses throughout the course of study. 

Differences of student visas:

F-1 Student Visa

The F-1 Visa category allows you to enter the United States as a full-time student of an institute, university, conference, conservatory, high school, or other institution or language training program. Also, you must be enrolled in a program that culminates in obtaining a diploma or certificate. The school must be authorized by the US government to accept international students.

M-1 Student Visa

The M-1 Visa category includes those students who are in vocational or non-academic programs, other than language training. Students with an M-1 visa are not permitted to work during their studies. The M-1 student visa applicants must have proof that there is a sufficient fund available to pay all tuition fee and living expenses for the whole period of stay.

J-1 Visa

A J-1 visa is a non-immigrant visa given to research scholars, professors and exchange visitors participating in programs that enhance cultural exchange, primarily to obtain medical or business training in the USA.

Sometimes, students want to work or need to work during their stay in the United States. Students with the F-1 visa can only work inside the university or its campus during the first one under certain conditions and restrictions. Any employment outside the university premises must be related to their area of ​​study and must be authorized by the Designated School Officer before they start to work.

Student Visa

What are the requirements in securing a student visa?

When obtaining your student visa, you must meet a series of requirements and submit documents to study in the United States:

  • Be admitted to an institute, university or school recognized by the United States government 
  • Be a full-time student in the USA
  • You should have a passport with a validity of at least six months longer than the time you will stay in the United States
  • You should have completed the Form I-20 for F-1 and M-1 visas or Form DS-2019 for the J-1 visa

What is the I-20 form?

This is a document that your institute, school or university will send you once you have been admitted. This document is essential to apply for your F-1 and M-1 student visa in the USA.

What is the DS-2019 form?

This is the form that is used for the exchange visitor program.

When can you apply?

You can apply for your American student visa when you meet all the requirements mentioned above and can get it in advance depending on the type of visa you have applied:

  • F-1 and M-1 Visa: up to 120 days in advance of the start date of your study program that appears on the I-20 form
  • J-1 Visa: at any time before the date on the DS-2019 form

How much does it cost?

Obtaining your American student visa is not free and involves paying two things. The first is $200 for your I-901 SEVIS Fee. The second is an additional charge of $160 for visa applications at the United States Embassy or Consulate in your country.

How to apply and secure a student visa?

After all the previous necessary steps, you are now in the process to get your student visa. The procedure to obtain the visa includes the following five steps:

Submission of the I-20 form

First, once you have been accepted, your institute or university will send you the I-20 form for the F-1 visa or the DS-2019 form for a J-1 visa to confirm that you have been admitted by an institution authorized by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to enroll non immigrant students. You must read and sign this form.

Payment of SEVIS fee

Second, you will have to pay a tax of  $200 for the SEVIS fee. Be sure to print a copy of the payment receipt. You must pay the SEVIS fee at least three days before the date of your visa interview. 

Fill in the Form DS-160

Thirdly, you must fill out a new non-immigrant visa application form. This is the DS-160 form that must be completed online. In this form, you must upload a photograph of yourself. Once this form is completed, you must print the “confirmation sheet” with the bar-code to present it at your embassy appointment.

Make the appointment

Fourth, you must make an appointment with the US embassy of your country. You can also do this online. To find the website of the US embassy in your country, enter your country on the following page: https://www.usembassy.gov/

Preparation of the appointment at the embassy

Fifth and last, once you have the appointment, prepare for your interview to obtain the American student visa. You should take the following things with you to the interview:

  • A printed copy of the appointment
  • Your passport is valid for at least six months longer than the time you are going to stay in the US and your previously issued passports
  • The confirmation sheet of the DS-160 form with the barcode that you filled in step number 3
  • Receipts for payment of the student visa application
  • Form I20 for the F-1 and M-1 Visa or form DS-2019 for the J-1 Visa
  • SEVIS fee receipt
  • Multiple photos

In addition, it is also advisable to carry:  

  • Financial documents that provide evidence that you have sufficient funds available to pay all your expenses for the first year of studies in the United States
  • Academic documents that demonstrate your preparation. These may include your institute’s grade certificates and your results on the SAT and TOEFL exams
  • If you have obtained a scholarship, it is also advisable to present all the documentation of it
American Student Visa

What happens next after applying for a student visa?

There are three situations that may occur:

  • It is approved
  • Goes into the administrative process
  • It is rejected

If you are approved for a student visa, you could legally enter the United States, although there are two things you should always keep in mind: 

  • You cannot enter the country within 30 days of the program you are going to begin. 
  • When travelling to the United States, you must present your passport with your student visa and your I-20 or DS-2019 form at the immigration post.

How long is the student visa valid?

The validity of a student Visa varies depending on the type of Visa: 

  • F-1 Visa: the validity is equal to the estimated time the study program will take
  • M-1 Visa: the validity is a maximum of one year
  • J-1 Visa: the validity varies between 4 months and 36 months depending on the program

POLY does not offer legal advice. Please click this page for more info about student visas. It is imperative that each student should consult an immigration lawyer where they reside, since laws or procedures may vary in each state.

Student Visa

How To Pass Your Student Visa Interview

One of the best milestones that a university or a high school student could reach is the opportunity to study in the U.S. To realize this, you must have been accepted at an institute certified by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) and have paid the SEVIS I-901 fee. When completed, you can start to process your application in getting your F-1 Visa, J-1 Visa, or M-1 Visa, as appropriate, in an embassy or consulate of the United States. The application process is not easy. The thought of your F-1 Visa interview might be a bit stressful as you will not just prepare yourself to be accepted in your desired university in the United States, you need to convince the U.S. Government during your interview for them to grant you a student visa.

The interviewer will be a consular officer or a state representative. They will ask questions and make sure to prepare. It can be very intimidating, especially if English is not your native language, but preparation is the key. Knowing some possible questions and preparing their answers are some of the keys to ace the student visa interview. With this, it is essential to have ample time to do your research and list down those questions and their answers. The internet offers you a list of tips about student visa interview. Compile, then study and practice these tips beforehand. The winning formula is similar to any important interview: prepare, be positive, and be yourself!

F-1 Visa

Categories That You Need To Prepare For Your Student Visa Interview

Study plan and university choice

The interviewer will ask you about your plan and goals in studying in the U.S.A. While questions are almost similar to questions being asked in your local university application essays and interviews, you need to prepare your answers. The interviewer wants to know the reason for pursuing your higher education in the U.S. instead of your home country or a different country. Make sure to study the background of the university you have chosen. They may also ask questions about other universities you applied, which schools were you accepted, and which schools you got rejected. These questions will help your interviewer decide your capacity to study and survive in the U.S.

Academic ability and financial statement

Another factor that needs to be reviewed is your academic and financial capacity. Bring with you a copy of your test scores, and last academic accomplishment for evaluation. The interviewer needs to identify that you are a genuine student aspirant that is able not just to succeed in studying in the U.S. but to excel as a student.  On the other hand, your academic qualification is not enough as your financial statement should be evaluated. You should bring proof that you have enough funds to support your stay and study in the U.S. A financial plan is needed, which includes your food, housing, health insurance, tuition, and transportation. Moreover, the interviewer will ask your relationship if you have a sponsor and will request documentation like a bank account and the letter of support. Your F-1 visa will not be granted without proof of your sponsor’s financial statement.

Post-graduation plans

You need to point out the need to return to your country after you finished your studies at university. While you are interested in working in the U.S.A., the student visa does not give you permission to work and live long in the U.S. With this, you should inform the interviewer your intent to go back after graduation, such as showing proof of ties to your country and evidence of your intention to return. The interviewer will verify what is your next plan after your studies and how you intend to use your education, you need to reaffirm your plan to go back to your home country and that you are not permanently staying there. 

Student Visa

Ways To Prepare For The Success Of Your F1-Visa Interview

Gather all documents

It is a must that you gather all documents for evaluation by the consular officer. Preparing all the required documents and organize them in a folder is the most crucial thing you can do to guarantee that your interview will run smoothly. One of which is your acceptance letter as it will serve as proof that you were already admitted by an American institution. Also, submit your financial documents, SEVIS I-901 payment receipt, Form I-20, Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status. Your financial capacity document is a must. The consular officer will ask for proof that you or your parents have the capacity to pay your expenses. Do not forget to let the interviewer know if you are granted a scholarship or financial assistance. Lastly, be sure to bring your academic records such as copies of your standardized exams, report cards, certificates, and leadership programs you have attended.

Prepare your answers

Your full attention should be focused to the consular officer. Make sure to listen and think carefully, and keep your answers short and concise. You can research online the most frequently asked questions during visa interviews and prepare your answers. While it is necessary to prepare your answers to some of the most common visa interview questions, practicing them should also be part of your schedule. It is a great idea to have a time practicing those questions and answers. Go and sit in a quiet room, imagining that you are in an actual interview. Say your answers aloud and repeat this drill 2-4 times until you have mastered all the answers.

Enhance your English communication skills

Enhancing your English is a good option as this will also assist you to have a smooth flow of your study in the U.S. This will also help you communicate well with the consular officer. There are many ways you can practice, such as watching American TV shows, listening to your favorite songs, reading English books, and many more. While the interview questions vary by individual depending on background, it is a good way to prepare when you practice your answers. This will add up to your confidence. Get your guide questions and practice your answers. This will help you organize your thoughts and prepare you for what you may be asked. If English is not your native language, you should practice with a friend or family member.

Stay calm and be positive

Be confident, stay calm, and smile. While projecting a confident image is a must, you should always think positive and remain calm. This is the most important thing to remember during your F-1 visa interview. This ensures a smooth flow of your student visa interview. Moreover, being well prepared is equally important. With this, be sure you have all the required documents and receipts. This ensures that you can focus on answering all the interview questions.

American Student Visa

Sample Questions In An F1- Visa Interview

  • Why do you want to pursue your higher education in the U.S. instead of a local university? 
  • What decides you to choose this school?  
  • What are the results of your exams (TOEFL, IELTS, SAT, etc.), your GPA, and your performance as a student?
  • How can you support your financing in housing, transportation, and other major expenses?
  • What are your plans after graduation? Do you plan to stay or return to your home country?

Here are some final tips on your F-1 visa interview

  • Dress professionally.
  • Answer all questions clearly.
  • Tell the truth.
  • Stay calm and confident.
  • Maintain eye contact with the interviewer.
  • Ensure your body posture conveys confidence: Sit with your back straight, shoulders held back, and head high.
  • No slumping nor fidgeting.

By following the above tips, and providing honest answers to all questions, you are directing yourself to a successful interview. For the steps on how to apply for a visa, you can visit the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs. For other concerns related to studying English in the U.S., don’t hesitate to contact us.