'Must Maintain Residence Abroad...', US Consulate To Students On F-1 Visas

'Must Maintain Residence Abroad...', US Consulate To Students On F-1 Visas

The key change is that international students must maintain a foreign residence, be a recipient of an immigrant visa petition, or have a pending permanent labour certification application.

Krisha V BhattUpdated: Monday, January 01, 2024, 06:14 PM IST
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F1 Visa: US Emphasises That Students Meet The Criteria | Representational Image

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced a groundbreaking policy specifically tailored for international students on F-1 Visas on Dec 20. This transformative update allows students to personally apply for a visa in the employment-based classification, a first-of-its-kind opportunity.

According to the USCIS, the policy provides detailed information on qualifications, transferring schools, practical training, and on- and off-campus employment. The key change is that international students must maintain a foreign residence, be a recipient of an immigrant visa petition, or have a pending permanent labour certification application. 

Additionally, they must demonstrate their intention to depart the U.S. after their temporary stay.

USCIS guidance for aspirants

Furthermore, the USCIS guidance outlines criteria for F students pursuing optional practical training (OPT) related to STEM studies. Startup employers must meet specific requirements to hire F student visa holders.

Offering insights on the development, Greg Pardo, Spokesperson of the U.S. Consulate General in Mumbai, emphasised that students must be enrolled in an approved academic, language-training, or vocational programme. Full-time enrollment, English proficiency, sufficient funds for self-support, and maintaining a residence abroad are also mandatory.

Addressing aspiring students, particularly from India, Pardo advised, "For official information on travel to the United States, I recommend checking U.S. government sources, including travel.state.gov and uscis.gov."

Earlier in 2023, on June 3, USCIS had announced the expansion of premium processing for certain F-1 students seeking OPT and STEM OPT extensions. USCIS Director Ur M Jaddou had emphasised that the simplified process, along with online submission, is intended to improve the immigration process for global students.

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