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Practice Areas

Student Visas

If you want to study in a U.S. college or university for an undergraduate/bachelor’s degree or a graduate Master’s or PhD, the F-1 visa is likely what you need. The M-1 is another student visa. It is not discussed further here, but we do provide that service as well. 


An F-1 visa is a nonimmigrant visa for a foreigner who intends to come to the US to continue to study full-time in an American educational institution or school. You can apply for it at a US consulate abroad. US consular services have the full power to grant or refuse a visa. Foreign students who want a F-1 visa must plan to pursue a full course of study at an approved school, university, seminary, conservatory, high school academies, a private elementary, other academic institutions and/or training programs and language in the US.


F-1 student visa status is a requirement for foreign students pursuing studies in the U.S. A student who is outside the United States must first apply for an F-1 visa at the local US consulate. On the day when the alien admitted to the United States on an approved F-1 vise, you are officially considered a holder of F-1 status.


Can I get an F-1 visa if I am already in the U.S.?


Yes! For those already in the United States on a nonimmigrant B-1 / B-2 visa, a B-2 tourist visa, or other nonimmigrant visa, you can change to an F-1 visa in the US or outside the US. This is called Third Country Visa processing. For J-1 visa holders subject to the two-year foreign residence requirement, Third Country Visa processing is the only way to get an F-1 visa.


Can your spouse and children come with you?


Yes! The spouse and unmarried minor child of F-1 visa holders can come to the United States on an F-2 Visa . To get an F-2 visa, you must show that the F-1 student has been admitted to the school and either is already enrolled or will be enrolled withing 30 days. Holders of F-2 Visas are considered dependents of F-1 students. Further, F-2 visa holders are eligible to remain in the U.S. as long as the F-1 student keeps that status. They can get an individual SEVIS I-20 to establish this right to stay.


What are the requirements for getting an F-1 Visa?

You must have a foreign residence and you must not intend to abandon it;

You must a bona fide student who is qualified to pursue a full course of study in the school that you will attend;

You must be seeking the right to enter and live temporarily as a student in the U.S.

You must be coming to the U.S. only in order to go to school at an establish school or recognized place of study in the United States;

You must study at a qualified institution that has been approved by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in compliance with the SEVIS program; and

You cannot attend a public elementary school, publicly funded adult education program,; and you cannot attend a public secondary school (high school) unless you attend the secondary school for less than 12 months and show that you reimbursed the school for the full cost of education.


What is the application process for an F-1 Student Visa?


First, you must apply to study at an approved school The school will let you know if it accepts foreign students on F-1 visas. If the school is approved by ICE and accepts foreign students, you can apply.


Second, if you school approves your application and permits you to attend the school will provide you with a SEVIS I-20 form, which establishes your admittance at a qualifying school.


Third, you must go to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your country and submit the SEVIS I-20 form and apply for an F-1 student visa. The two primary requirements are that you prove (a) that you have no immigration intent and your travel to the U.S. is only for school; and (b) that you have the financial resources required to afford your education and stay in the United States. (in some cases, proof of English proficiency may also be required.)


The required evidence and documents are:

  • The DS-160 Non-Immigrant Visa Application. This is the online version of the application. The paper version is the DS-156. (For children, a separate DS-160 must be submitted, even if they are included on the parent’s passport.)

  • A valid passport with an expiration date at least six months after your intended period of stay in the United States

  • One passport-sized photo

  • A SEVIS Form I-20;

  • Evidence of sufficient funds and financial resources to attend school in the U.S. without needing to work;

  • A US$100 application fee


Canadian and Mexican Student Commuters


There is a special student visa just for student who want to study in the U.S. but commute from a residence outside the US. The commuter student visa is called an F-3 visa. The F-3 visa is designed for Canadian citizens and Mexican citizens wanting to come to the US to study at community and junior colleges, vocational and professional schools, or any other non-academic institution in the U.S. The U.S. school must be located within 75 miles of the border. An F-3 visa holder must live in their home country of Canada or Mexico. This rule does not apply to a citizen of Canada or Mexico who has an F-1 visa, is living in the U.S., and attending a school in the U.S. full-time.


Contact MIRA Legal at 615-307-6472 or by email at for help with your asylum case today. 


*This webpage is for informational purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice and does not create an Attorney-Client relationship.


Call:  615-307-6472

Text: 615-933-8537

Fax: 615-577-0766

486 Bell Road, Suite B

Nashville, Tennessee 37217


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