F-1: International Students

At the Law Office of Matthew I. Hirsch we take special pride in our work with international students. Over the years, Mr. Hirsch has done presentations for literally hundreds of international students at college and university campuses throughout the region. To view Mr. Hirsch’s informative presentation, “Transitioning from Campus to the Workplace: Emerging Issues for International Students”, click here.

Mr. Hirsch values his relationships with international students and their advisors, and he and his team give students the extra attention they need to understand the challenges and obstacles as they transition from campus to the workplace.

By way of introduction, any foreign national who is pursuing a full-time course of academic studies at an accredited and CIS-approved college, university, seminary, high school, private elementary school, language-training program or other academic institution in the U.S. may qualify for an F-1 visa or for F-1 status.

The requirements for obtaining F-1 status include:

  • the foreign national must be a “non-immigrant”; this means that he/she has a foreign residence and other ties to the home country;
  • the foreign national must be a bona fide student that is qualified to pursue a full course of study;
  • the foreign national must be entering the U.S. as a student temporarily and solely for the purpose of pursuing a course of study at an educational institution that has been authorized to accept international students; this means that the school has an approved CIS Form I-17 and is authorized to issue students CIS Form I-20; the foreign national must comply with the requirements of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) program. For information about the SEVIS system, please click here.
  • the foreign national may not attend a public elementary school or publicly-funded adult education program, and may not attend a public secondary school unless he/she attends for less than 12 months and reimburses the school the full, unsubsidized cost of the education.

Unlike most non-immigrants who are admitted to the U.S. for a specified and limited period of time, a foreign national who obtains F-1 status is allowed to remain in the U.S. for the duration of status, often shown in the passport as D/S. Duration of status is defined as the time during which an F-1 student is pursuing a full course of study at an approved educational institution, or engaging in authorized practical training following completion of studies. This means that, so long as the foreign national is in status, with a valid I-20, either in school or working with authorization, he or she can remain in the U.S.

Holders of F-1 status are permitted certain kinds of authorized employment. This includes on-campus employment, curricular practical training (CPT), optional practical training (OPT) and employment authorized by economic necessity. In general, students must complete one academic year before applying for CPT, OPT or employment for economic necessity. For additional information about employment for international students, including essential information about limitations on CPT, extensions of OPT and applying for employment authorization, click here.

At the Law Office of Matthew I. Hirsch we strive to be accessible and available for international students, offering free and discounted consultations for international students. We understand the special concerns, issues, challenges and problems that international students face as they transition from life on campus to living and working in the U.S. If you are an international student, we look forward to answering your questions on U.S. immigration law. To set up an appointment or to forward a question, contact us.