F-1 visa latest news in 2024 

Students from all over the world choose to pursue their education in the United States for its renowned universities, diverse academic programs and opportunities for personal and professional growth. A crucial aspect of their decision-making process is understanding the visa requirements they need for studying in the US. Navigating through various visa options becomes imperative as students plan and prepare for their educational journey in the country. By familiarising themselves with the visa application process, prospective students can ensure a smooth transition into the American academic system. In this article, we’ll discuss the F-1 visa latest news (2024), what students ought to be informed of and how this can benefit their study goals. 

What is the F-1 student visa?

The F-1 student visa is one of the two nonimmigrant visa categories for persons wishing to study in the US. According to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), an F-1 visa (Academic Student) allows the holder to enter the United States as a full-time student at an accredited college, university, seminary, conservatory, academic high school, elementary school or other academic institution or in a language training program. They must enrol in a program or course of study that culminates in a degree, diploma or certificate. Their school must also be authorised by the US government to accept international students. 

US F-1 visa latest news 2024

Immigration bodies regularly refresh their rules to protect the goals and interests of its stakeholders. Because of this, students must always stay up to date with the latest announcements that may concern their status and affect their goals. In a landmark policy update released just last December 2023, the USCIS has announced significant changes affecting international students on F visas. Here are some the latest updates: 

F-1 visa students must maintain their foreign residence

The USCIS states that “F and M students must have a foreign residence that they do not intend to abandon.” But they are now allowed to apply for permanent residency. 

F-1 visa students are now eligible for immigrant visas

For the first time, F-1 visa students can now directly apply for immigrant visas under the Employment-Based (EB) category. According to the statement, “such students may be the beneficiary of a permanent labor certification application or immigrant visa petition and may still be able to demonstrate their intention to depart after a temporary period of stay.” 

F-1 visa students can work for startups

The USCIS states that “F students seeking an extension of optional practical training (OPT) based on their degree in a science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) field may be employed by startup companies, as long as the employer adheres to the training plan requirements, remains in good standing with E-Verify and provides compensation commensurate to that provided to similarly situated [US] workers, among other requirements.” 

What do these new F-1 student visa rules mean?

These updates represent positive developments for international students pursuing education in the US. Firstly, it allows F-1 visa holders to directly apply for immigrant visas under the EB category. This offers a pathway to long-term residency and even potential citizenship. Plus, it provides more opportunities for career advancement and offering greater stability. 

Moreover, permitting F-1 visa students with STEM degrees to work for startups during their OPT extensions fortifies their professional horizons. This allows them to gain valuable experience and contribute towards innovative industries. It not only enhances their skillset but also enriches the US workforce with diverse talents and perspectives. 

These changes signify a recognition of the contributions and potential of international students to the US economy and society. Furthermore, it helps foster a welcoming environment for global talent. Overall, these latest updates on the F-1 student visa empower aspiring international students to pursue their academic and professional goals in the US. 

To stay updated on the latest visa news and gain more tips on supporting international students, contact our business development experts today!

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