School Based Immigration Processes – F-1

What is the School-Based Immigration Process in San Antonio, Texas?

If you intend on coming to the United States for any other reason other than employment, you are eligible for an F-1 student visa or a B-1 Visit Visa. The F-1 visa is used for studying at an academic institution in the United States. Any international student who decides to study in the United States will require an F-1 visa for this dream to be accomplished.

The applicant will first have to get accepted into a U.S school that is approved by the SEVP. Once this exciting step is completed, they will then pay the required fees and complete their visa application form. Once the form is submitted, they will attend an F1 visa interview that will determine whether they are approved or denied a Student Visa. During the interview process, the immigration officer will request the following documentation:

  • A valid passport
  • A passport photo
  • A Certificate of Eligibility
  • The receipt for fee payment
  • The visa application form

More documents may be requested depending on your specific situation. You should carefully read through any correspondence you receive from the immigration office to see if they have requested any additional information or documents from your side.

The interview is one of the most important steps as it is the deciding factor before your F-1 Student Visa is issued. You should contact an immigration lawyer before going in for your interview to make sure you have all the necessary paperwork and to get advice on what the immigration officer will be evaluating when asking you questions.

Can I work while on a Student Visa?

If you are a foreign national, you can work in the United States while on the Student Visa through either Curricular Practical Training or through Optional Practical Training as well. Curricular Practical Training is like an internship program that associates itself with the U.S school you intend to study in. Optional Practical Training is when students apply to work part-time during school or when their courses are completed. It will take anywhere from 1-3 months for the USCIS to get back to you with the authorization to work legally while on a Student Visa.

While studying in the United States on an F-1 Student Visa you need to remain vigilant regarding the expiration date of your visa. To make sure there are no complications, you should apply for a change of status to H-1B at least 180 days before your F-1 status expires.

If you are working, then it is your job as an international employee to make sure you file an income tax return for each year you have earned any form of wages. If you are an international employee and you did not earn any income, you are still expected to fill out the Statement for Exempt Individuals and Individuals with a Medical Condition. You should speak with a legal representative to make sure you are correctly filing your taxes, so you remain on the good side of the law and you do not run into any legal trouble.

A legal representative can also help you figure out if you are entitled to exemption from Social Security Tax. If you work on-campus or off-campus with the USCIS, or if you are undergoing approved F-1 practical training, then there are chances you could be exempt.

Traveling abroad while on an F-1 visa

It is vital that while you are on F-1 Student Visa status and you are working, that you avoid traveling as it can be difficult to regain entry into the United States again without going through a lengthy evaluation process. If you try to regain entry and the travel officer believes your stay in the United States is intended to be permanent, then you can be refused entry into the United States.

If you needed to travel while on a Student Visa and you are attempting to enter the United States again you should speak with an immigration attorney to make sure you have all the required documentation so the process is not slowed down. You will generally require A I-20 form that is properly filled out, your F-1 Student Visa, a Valid EAD, and an unexpired passport that is valid for six months at the very least.

Get in touch with an immigration lawyer today at the Law Office of J. Joseph Cohen to get more details on the school-based immigration process.


You can reach us at:


San Antonio, TX

310 South St. Mary’s Street, Suite 2100

San Antonio, TX 78205

The 21st Floor of the Tower Life Building

Call Today: (210) 503-2800