Boca Raton Immigration Attorney
Offering experienced legal guidance to international students seeking F-1 visas
In 2014-2015, roughly 975,000 international students came to the United States to pursue education. Many have taken advantage of the F-1 visa program, which allows international students live in the United States while attending primary school, high school, or, more commonly, a college or university. While the F-1 visa is an excellent option for those looking to study at an American school, there is a lengthy process involved to obtain the visa. At the Law Offices of Grant Kaplan, our immigration attorneys are well versed in F-1 visa procedure and have helped many international students successfully navigate the process. Principal attorney Grant Kaplan is a seasoned immigration attorney, and applies his skill and methodical approach to each individual client’s application.
What are the requirements for a successful F-1 visa application?
The first step to studying in the U.S. is to be accepted into an American school. To qualify for the F-1 visa, your school must be SEVP-certified, which stands for Student and Exchange Visitor Program. Most major universities are SEVP-certified, including Florida Atlantic University (FAU), Palm Beach State College, and Lynn University. Once you’ve been accepted, the F-1 visa process begins. To be successful in your visa application, you will need to show:
- Foreign Residence – You must show that you have a foreign residence and plan to return there when you complete your program
- Financial Support – You must show that you have sufficient financial assets to support yourself during the entire course of your program
- Ties to Home Country – You must show that you have strong ties to your home country, supporting your desire to return after completing your studies
- English Language Proficiency – You will be expected to speak, read, and write English well enough to participate in your academic program, or have a plan to be instructed in your native language while learning English during your course of study
The application process itself is daunting, and includes multiple forms that must be prepared in English and even an interview with U.S. officials. This can be intimidating, especially for a young person or student. Having a knowledgeable immigration attorney who has worked extensively with F-1 visa applicants can help put your mind at ease. We have more than 29 years of experience helping international students successfully navigate the visa application process and prepare for the interview. We take pride in assisting aspiring students so they can pursue their academic dreams in the United States.
Can a student work on an F-1 visa?
While you must demonstrate your financial self-sufficiency in your visa application, students on an F-1 visa are able to work under certain conditions. During their first academic year, students can work on-campus, again, subject to certain restrictions. After the first academic year, F-1 visa holders are eligible for three types of off-campus employment:
- Curricular Practical Training (CPT) – The work must be integral to your major and part of your program of study.
- Optional Practical Training (OPT) – The work must relate to your course of study and you may only apply for 12 months of employment authorization at each education level.
- Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Optional Practical Training Extension (STEM OPT) – STEM OPT allows for an additional 17 months of OPT if the degree you are seeking qualifies as a STEM program.
As with the F-1 visa application, the qualifications for work authorization for international students is complex and requires the student have all of their supporting documentation in order. We walk you through each step of the visa process, and explain what the F-1 visa does and does not entitle you to when you arrive in the United States.
Helping aspiring students meet their immigration goals
Whether you’d like to attend a South Florida university like FAU, Palm Beach State College, or Lynn University, or are hoping to study at another university in the United States, we can help. Our principal immigration attorney Grant Kaplan has assisted international students around the world in obtaining their F-1 visas. We’re here to take the guesswork out of your immigration experience. Call our office at 561-347-8440 or contact us online for a free consultation. Our office is on-call 24 hours a day for emergency situations.