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F-1 Status

F-1 (student) visas are nonimmigrant visas where the primary purpose for entry to the U.S. is to study at an academic institution, whether university level, or sometimes primary level education.

F-1 (Student)

F-1 visas are utilized for academic study in the U.S. A foreign national may only work in the U.S. while in F-1 status under three very limited circumstances: (1) less than 20 hours per week on campus employment authorized by the school; (2) through Curricular Practical Training (CPT), (3) or through Optional Practical Training (OPT).

1) Curricular Practical Training:

CPT is an internship-type program offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with a school. To work under CPT, the foreign national must be currently enrolled in school and must obtain the endorsement of his or her I-20 form by the Designated Student Officer at the school. Students who have received one year or more of full-time curricular practical training are ineligible for post-completion optional practical training, described below.

2) Optional Practical Training:

F-1 students may apply for authorization to work temporarily (1) part-time during school, (2) during annual vacation periods, or (3) after completion of all course requirements for the degree. The total maximum period of authorization for OPT of any type is twelve months. You must obtain the endorsement of the Designated Student Officer on the Form I-20, and send it with a completed work authorization application (Form I-765) and filing fee to USCIS. Processing time for the EAD issuance is typically 30 to 90 days, though delays over the last few years have resulted in far longer processing times.  USCIS has recently issued premium processing options.

3) What if I am in F-1 status working with an EAD and I need to travel?

Depending on circumstances, it may not be advisable to travel. However, if you must travel, you should be mindful of the following:

  • Nonimmigrant Intent:Even if you have an unexpired visa, each time you reenter the United States, you are subject to the general requirements of your F-1 nonimmigrant visa including your continuing nonimmigrant (temporary) intent. The USCIS Officer may question you regarding your future plans in order to determine that your stay in the United States is indeed temporary and that your intention is to depart the United States following expiration of your student status. If the USCIS officer believes that your intent is NOT temporary, you will be refused admission to the U.S.
  • If your F-1 student visa stamp has expired:If your student visa has expired, contact Kuck Baxter, LLC prior to making travel plans. It may be difficult to obtain a new F-1 visa stamp during your optional practical training period.
  • If change of status to H-1B has been filed:It is not advisable to travel while a request for change of status is pending, unless you plan to stay abroad until after the petition is approved.

In order to be readmitted as an F-1 student following a visit abroad, you must be in possession of the following documents:

  1. A properly endorsed Form I-20; (your Designated School Official must certify your continued pursuit of a full course of study/work period authorized on the reverse side of this form)
  2. Valid F-1 Student Visa
  3. Valid EAD
  4. Unexpired Passport valid for at least six months

Expiration of F-1 Status: If you are being sponsored by an employer in the U.S., and an H-1B change of status petition is pending on your behalf, you should contact HR and your legal team not later than 180 days before expiration of your current F-1 status and EAD to ensure that sufficient time remains to process a request for change of status to H-1B.

General Information on Income Tax for F-1 Students

All international employees are responsible for compliance with United States income tax regulations and must file an income tax return for each previous year they have received compensation. This income should be reported on one or more of the following forms: W-2, 1042-S or 1099. Most employees will be able to use tax form 1040 NR-EZ or form 1040NR. However, some employees may need to use other tax forms. All international employees, regardless if they earned an income or not, are required to file Form 8843, “Statement for Exempt Individuals and Individuals with a Medical Condition?.

Lawfully employed nonresident F-1 visa holders are not subject to withholding of Social Security (F.I.C.A/Medicare) tax. Therefore, wage received by international employees in F-1 status in the following circumstances are not subject to this withholding:

  1. On-campus employment at the school USCIS authorized them to attend; and/or
  2. Off-campus work with USCIS permission (e.g. economic hardship); and/or
  3. Approved practical (F-1) training.

To claim an exemption from Social Security tax, the international student must provide verification of immigration status and proof of work permission to his/her employer.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

If you would like further information about specific case scenarios or situations, please call our office or email us at to speak to one of experienced immigration attorneys.


This e-mail does not constitute direct legal advice and is for informational purposes only. The information provided should never replace informed counsel when specific immigration-related guidance is needed.
Copyright © 2015 Kuck Immigration Partners LLC. All rights reserved

J-1 Exchange Visitor Status— Questions About the Trainee

  1. Name of Applicant.
  2. Date of Birth.
  3. City and Country of Birth.
  4. Country of Citizenship.
  5. Address and Phone Number.
  6. Email Address.
  7. Do you have any dependants?
    If yes, will they accompany you to the United States?
  8. Have you visited the United States in past?
    If yes, in what status? What was the date of your entry and departure?
    Please send us a copy of your I-94 card and visa?
  9. Have you ever been denied a visa to the United States?
  10. How did you learn of this internship?

Please have the trainee send us a current resume or curriculum vitae, along with a letter of reference and a letter from their school confirming full time enrollment. If the trainee is not in school, they will need to provide two letters of reference.

Questions About the Employer

  1. Complete name of the company, address, and phone number.
  2. Address where the trainee will be working.
  3. Type of Business or Product.
  4. Number of Employees.
  5. Name of the person who will be the trainee’s supervisor.
    Phone Number
    Fax Number
    Email Address
  6. Training Position.
  7. Dates of Training. From: ________ To: ___________
  8. Why was this position chosen?
  9. How was this trainee chosen by the company?
  10. Please provide us with a detailed job description.
  11. Will there be any orientation program?
  12. Salary. (please specify weekly/bi-weekly/monthly).
  13. Work Hours (i.e. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.).
  14. Will the company provide assistance with locating housing?
    How much is the cost of housing (estimated monthly cost)?
    Will the company pay all or a portion of the housing costs?
  15. How will the trainee get to work (i.e. rental car, bus, subway, co-worker, etc.)?
    How much is the cost of transportation (estimated monthly cost)?
    Will the company pay all or a portion of this cost?
  16. Who will pay for travel costs to and from the U.S.?
  17. Other Benefits (i.e. use of an employer owned vehicle, tools, uniform). Please include value of each.
  18. Health/Accident Insurance. We recommend that the Company purchase insurance through AIPT in order to meet the required US Federal Regulations, which are: Medical and Accident – $50,000; Medical Evacuation – $10,000; and Repatriation – $10,000. If the company’s insurance coverage meets or exceeds these levels, please provide us with a copy of the insurance agreement.
  19. What is the nearest airport to the location of employment?

Please forward us a copy of any agreements or contracts between the trainee and the company, if there is one.

If you would like further information or to discuss a potential case, please call our office at 404.816.8611 to set an appointment with one of our experienced immigration attorneys, or you schedule your consultation online here.


This e-mail does not constitute direct legal advice and is for informational purposes only. The information provided should never replace informed counsel when specific immigration-related guidance is needed.
Copyright © 2015 Kuck Immigration Partners LLC. All rights reserved.