Comment from Harsha.
First of all Thank you so much for this helpful blog.
If possible can please post an article relating to the subject “People are confusing between F1 Visa and F1 Status”.
May be you may also know they both are different.
People don’t know that they can also be in US by maintaining F1 status with an expired F1 visa.
Only problem they are having is if they step out of US they have to go for F1 visa stamping to renter US.
Even if F1 visa expires then apply for OPT right before your graduation and be on OPT and apply for STEM OPT extension if you are eligible and then go and apply for H1B.
Through this whole process, that student is maintaining legal valid F1 status.
Harsha, you are absolutely right. I’m adding additional details below about F1 Visa vs maintaining F1 Status.
Go to F1 Visa page to learn more about Student Visa.
How do I get a visa to enter the United States?
- Receive I-20
- Pay SEVIS Fees
- Apply for F1 Student Visa at American embassy or consulate before you leave for the United States
You must have a student visa to study in the United States. Your course of study and the type of school you plan to attend determine whether you need an F-1 visa or an M-1 visa.
Maintaining F1 Visa Status
As an F or M student, you will often hear the phrase “maintaining status” because it is very important! Maintaining status means that you are doing everything you are supposed to do to keep your records up-to-date in our SEVIS database.
While studying in the United States, it is important to maintain your F or M student status. Your visa says that you are coming to the United States to study. You should not consider any action that detracts from that purpose.
- Enter the United States no more than 30 days before your program of study begins.
- Immediately contact your designated school official (DSO) when you enter the United States. When you arrive at school, you need to contact your DSO again, no later than the program start date listed on your Form I-20, “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Status”
- Attend and pass all your classes. If school is too difficult, speak with your DSO immediately.
- If you believe that you will be unable to complete your program by the end date listed on your Form I-20, talk with your DSO about requesting a possible program extension.
- You must take a full course of study each term; if you cannot study full-time, contact your DSO immediately.
- Do not drop a class without speaking first with your DSO.
Curricular practical training (CPT) at either the undergraduate or the graduate level is only available if this employment is an integral part of an established curriculum and if the position directly relates to your major area of study. Your DSO can give you the school’s policy on this option.
Do not work without authorization. An F or M student may work only when authorized.
If you want to work in the United States, talk with your DSO about your options. Your DSO may authorize certain work; other employment may require your DSO’s recommendation and authorization from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
If you choose to work without authorization, you will be forced to leave the United States immediately. You may not be able to re-enter the United States at a later date.
Upon Program Completion
Take action to maintain legal status after completing your program of study.
Once you complete your program of study and any authorized period of practical training, you may wish to learn about doing one of the following:
- Transfer to another school
- Change your education level (e.g. bachelor’s to master’s)
- Apply to change status to another visa status (e.g. H-1B-temporary worker; O-extraordinary ability in science, art or business; P-athlete)
You have 60 days after completion of your program (the program end date on your Form I-20) to leave the United States.
Talk with your DSO first
Your DSO should be the first person you talk with if you have any questions regarding the legal requirements of your stay in the United States.
Your DSO can assist in answering your questions or help you find someone who can help.
Talk with your DSO if you are planning to do any of the following:
- Change your major, program, or degree level
- Change your education level
- Transfer to a new school or take a leave of absence
- Take a break from school
- Travel outside the United States
- Move to a new address
- Request a program extension
Source/For more information, visit Study in the States.