Staying legal: maintaining your student visa status in the U.S.

Many people consider studying in America as something challenging to achieve. However, we are here to break that stereotype, show you the possibilities, and provide help. How to get an F-1 student visa, what is required, and what rights it grants you? Let's dive into the details.
The F-1 student visa generally has higher approval rates compared to tourist visas. Impressively, more than 87% of our clients get their visa at the first attempt. We work with a variety of cases, help couples and families and even those who travel abroad for the first time.
The primary objective of the visa process is to enroll in an accredited educational institution. With A&K, you have the option to either enroll in an English language program at one of our partner language schools in 15 cities across America or select an affordable certificate program at a university that doesn't require entry exams, only the proof of your English proficiency. Once you've selected the school or program, it typically takes around 3 months to commence your education in the U.S. after submission.

The steps involved in the process are as follows:

  • Consultation with a visa specialist.
We'll guide you through the entire process and address any concerns or questions you may have.

  • Document collection and submission to the educational institution.
We'll assist you in gathering all necessary documents and submitting them to the institution.

  • Fee payment to the educational institution.
With A&K it is already included in the support, so we’ll do it for you.

  • Receipt of form I-20.
Once accepted, you'll receive Form I-20 from the educational institution, which is a crucial document for the visa application.

  • Filling out DS-160.
We'll assist you in completing the DS-160 form, which is required for the visa application.

  • MRV and SEVIS fees payment.
We'll help you navigate the payment of the MRV fee, which is paid to schedule your visa interview appointment, and SEVIS paid to the U.S. government to support the administration and maintenance of the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System database.

  • Interview appointment.

We'll help you schedule an appointment for the visa interview at the U.S. embassy or consulate.

  • Interview preparation.
During your interview, clearly communicate your intent to study and improve your skills. Prior to your interview, we'll provide you with a list of commonly asked questions and conduct a rehearsal interview with a specialist.

  • Visa interview.
Attend the visa interview and answer the interviewer's questions confidently.

  • Visa issuance and travel to the United States.

  • Grab and pack your bags. Remember, you can come to the U.S. not earlier than 30 days prior to the start of your education.

Benefits of the F-1 visa

Coming to America with an F-1 visa, you get many privileges:

● You can comfortably adapt to life in America. The I-20 form provides the same opportunities that Americans have: more favorable conditions for housing and car rental, an opportunity to open a bank account and build a credit history, have discounts, free insurance and other benefits.

● Student status can be extended without restrictions. It’s important that you do not need to leave America to extend a visa. You can take new classes, gradually increasing the level, or take specialized courses, for example, Business English. So you can legally live in the country for several years if you pay for your studies on time.

Employment while studying

Students can get a part-time campus job. They can work as an usher or a student ambassador, a research or a library assistant, or a barista or a waiter in a campus coffee shop.

There are also off-campus internships. These opportunities are available to students and graduates of university certificate programs at A&K.
Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is an educational and practical internship that allows international students with an F-1 visa to gain practical experience in the United States in their specialty before graduation. CPT employment must be a part of the established curriculum.

CPT can be only done while studying.

Pre-Completion Optional Practical Training (OPT) is an additional practical training that allows international students with an F-1 visa to work in the United States in accordance with their specialty. To do this, you need to complete the first academic year and have a work permit from the DHS. It can be either paid or unpaid.

Work permit is sometimes given due to serious economic difficulties a student has.

Students are allowed to work under these conditions:

● the student manages to attend all classes and doesn’t fall behind academically programs

● the student does not contribute to the lack of jobs for US citizens

● work takes up to 20 hours per week.

Visa duration and post-study options

A study visa to the United States is usually issued for a period of 1 to 3 years, or for a full period of study at a particular educational institution. Entry to the United States for training is allowed no earlier than 30 days before the start of training sessions.

After graduation, you can apply for OPT to get a temporary job. The program allows you to work in the United States for up to 12 months. However, a student who has already received a 1 year of full-time (40 working hours per week) of pre-completion OPT employment will not be entitled to any period of post-completion OPT employment.

Students who have earned a degree in science, technology, engineering or maths (STEM) are eligible for a 24-month OPT extension.

It is not prohibited for the student to change their visa status if the circumstances for this decision appeared in the USA. For example if you received an offer or won a green card, or met a partner and wanted to marry them.
Remember, we are here to help you to obtain your visa and quality education in the United States, but we do not provide immigration services; this falls within the domain of lawyers' expertise.

Good luck, and let's make your American dream come true!