F-1 Student Status

The majority of Luther's international students come to the U.S. on an F-1 student visa. An F-1 student is a "non-immigrant who is pursuing a 'full course of study' towards a specific educational or professional objective, at an academic institution in the United States", approved by the Department of Homeland Security. "Once the educational or professional objectives have been attained, the F-1 student is expected by the U.S. government to return to his or her residence abroad."

A student obtains F-1 status using a Form I-20, issued by Luther's International Admissions Office (a DHS approved school). If you are in your home country you will then take the form I-20 to the nearest embassy or consulate to apply for the F-1 Student visa. If you are in the U.S., and transferring from another DHS approved school, a transfer I-20 will be issued. If you are in the U.S. under another visa status, Luther can help you apply for a change of visa status.

The Department of Homeland Security is the government body regulating all matters related to immigration. Effective March 1, 2003, the functions of the former INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service) were moved into three Bureaus within the Department of Homeland Security.

  • USCIS—The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services is now responsible for most of the applications and petition adjudications that had been done by INS. These would include change of non-immigrant status, authorization for off-campus work programs, reinstatement to status, etc.
  • USICE—The United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement is responsible for immigration investigations, detention, removal, intelligence, and SEVIS.
  • USCBP—The United States Customs and Border Protection is responsible for immigration inspections at U.S. ports of entry, for the Border patrol, and for the Customs Service.

Once in the USA on an F-1 visa, there are specific requirements that are to be met by a student in order to maintain their status.