All About That F1



Updated June 8, 2022

You’re reading an excerpt of Admitted by Soundarya Balasubramani. Written by an Ivy League graduate from India, this is the proven guide for students worldwide looking to pursue undergraduate or graduate study abroad in the U.S., Canada, or Europe. Purchase for instant access to the guide and other exclusive resources—including sample SOPs, sample resumes, scholarship lists, and a private community with other readers.

The F1 student visa is a nonimmigrant visa.

It is offered to foreign nationals who wish to enter the U.S. as students to attend their dream universities. You are eligible to obtain this visa only if you are enrolled in a program or course of study from a U.S. accredited university that ultimately awards a degree, diploma, or a certificate upon successful completion. It is generally provided for up to five years, however it is valid only until 60 days after the end of your academic program (assuming you don’t apply for an OPT, which we’ll come to soon).*

In your first academic year on an F1 visa, you are allowed to work on-campus, but you cannot work off-campus. However, after the first academic year, you may seek three types of off-campus employment opportunities, as laid out below.

Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

CPT is an integral part of your program of study. It adds relevant work experience to your arsenal and gives you course credit. To be eligible for CPT, you need to speak to your Designated School Official (DSO) to understand your school’s policy. Generally, you need to:

  • Have completed one academic year as a full-time student in a SEVIS-approved college

  • Have a letter from your employer for either a full-time or part-time position related to your major

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