If you are an international student studying in the US on an F1 visa, it is important to know how long you can stay in the US after your visa expires. This article guides you through the basics of F1 visa and how long you can stay in the US following the expiration of your visa.
What Is an F1 Visa?
An F1 visa is a student visa that allows you to study in the US at an accredited school or university. The visa is granted to students who intend to pursue a full-time course of study in the US. Your F1 visa status is determined by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and must be maintained throughout your stay in the US.
How Long Can You Stay in the US After Your F1 Visa Expires?
Once your F1 visa expires, you are typically allowed to stay in the US for an additional 60 days. During this grace period, you are not allowed to work or study, but you may prepare to leave the US or apply to change your visa status. You must depart the US by the end of this grace period.
If you remain in the US after the expiration of your F1 visa, you risk being barred from re-entering the US, and you may face immigration consequences, including detention and deportation. Therefore, it is important to explore options available for extending your stay in the US before your F1 visa expires.
Options for Extending Your Stay in the US
There are several options available for extending your stay in the US after your F1 visa expires:
Change of Visa Status
You may apply to change your visa status to another nonimmigrant or immigrant category. To do so, you must meet the eligibility requirements for the desired visa category and file an application with USCIS before your grace period expires. You may also have to attend an interview with USCIS.
Optional Practical Training (OPT)
If you graduate from a US university and your F1 visa has not yet expired, you may be eligible for Optional Practical Training (OPT), which allows you to work for an employer in your field of study for up to 12 months. You must apply for OPT before your F1 visa expires.
Academic Training allows F1 students to work in their field of study for up to 18 months after graduation. To be eligible, you must have completed a degree program in the US and be in good academic standing. You must also apply for Academic Training before your F1 visa expires.
Extension of Stay
You may also apply for an extension of stay if the delay in completing your studies was due to reasons beyond your control, such as a medical condition or a natural disaster. To be granted an extension of stay, you must submit documentation supporting your request before your F1 visa expires.
Consequences of Overstaying Your Visa
Overstaying your visa can lead to severe immigration consequences, including detention and deportation. If you overstay your F1 visa, you become ineligible for future visas to the US, and your US immigration records may show that you overstayed your visa.
- Once your F1 visa expires, you are allowed to stay in the US for an additional grace period of 60 days.
- During this grace period, you may not work or study but can prepare to leave the US or apply for a visa status change.
- Overstaying your visa can lead to severe immigration consequences, including detention, deportation, and ineligibility for future US visas.
- You may apply for an extension of stay, change of visa status, optional practical training or academic training before your visa expires.
It is important to know the expiration date of your F1 visa and plan accordingly to avoid overstaying your visa. By exploring the options available to you before your F1 visa expires, you can avoid immigration consequences and ensure a smooth transition should you choose to return to the US in the future.
Can I work while on a grace period after my F1 visa expires?
No, you are not allowed to work or study during your grace period.
Can I leave the US and return during the grace period after my F1 visa expires?
Yes, you can leave the US and return during your grace period. However, if you stay beyond the grace period, you risk being barred from re-entering the US.