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How Long Can I Stay in USA on F-1 Student Visa?

Hi! I have a question. I just got my F1 visa aproved for 5 years. I’ll do a MBA at Arkansas and the program lasts 2 years. Does this mean that if I leave the US after my masters, I have still 3 more years to enter the US? Even if I’m not a student anymore?

How long in F-1 student visa?

When you enter the United States on a student visa, you will usually be admitted for the duration of your student status. That means you may stay as long as you are a full time student, even if the F-1 visa in your passport expires while you are in the United States. For a student who has completed the course of studies shown on the I-20, and any authorized practical training, the student is allowed the following additional time in the U.S. before departure:

  • F-1 student – An additional 60 days, to prepare for departure from the U.S. or to transfer to another school.
  • M-1 student – An additional 30 days to depart the U.S. (Fixed time period, in total not to exceed one year). The 30 days to prepare for departure is permitted as long as the student maintained a full course of study and maintained status. An M student may receive extensions up to three years for the total program.

As an example regarding duration of status, if you have a visa that is valid for five years that will expire on January 1, 2009, and you are admitted into the U.S. for the duration of your studies (often abbreviated in your passport or on your I-94 card as “D/S“), you may stay in the U.S. as long as you are a full time student.

Even if January 1, 2009 passes and your visa expires while in the U.S., you will still be in legal student status. However, if you depart the United States with an expired visa, you will need to obtain a new one, applying at an Embassy abroad, before being able to return to the U.S. and resume your studies.

Read More at Student Visas.

 After Graduation

After you graduate, you will be apply for OPT. I believe you can apply for OPT 60 days before your graduation date.

You will receive OPT Card (Employment Authorization Document) with updated I-20 – (sample I-20)


  1. Elodie on October 20, 2016 at 3:32 PM

    Hi ! I have a 5 years student visa I’m in San Francisco since October 22 2015. I graduated from a makeup artist school in may. I haven’t took any courses yet, but i want to take other courses now to perfect my english. Would i have to get out of the country before, or i can unroll right away ?

  2. bevek joshi on December 15, 2011 at 11:58 PM

    i just completed my bachelor(BBS), Its a 3 years program and I’ve also taken a toefl test of which score is to come next week. Moreover, i am planing to take a GMAT test too. But i am confused about either i am eligible to apply as my bachelor program is three years one. So, hope you to help me out with this.

  3. Jk prez on December 11, 2011 at 1:13 PM

    Any similar information or article or link for J-1 exchange student visa

  4. preet on December 11, 2011 at 9:40 AM

    Can a person who is on H1B visa status eligible to take a loan for the study of the spouse???
    or a green card is necessary to fund ur spouse???

  5. Kalhan on December 9, 2011 at 12:04 PM

    One misconception which you might want to get cleared is that you can re-enter US for three years after your 2 yr MBA is over!!
    This is not true. If you finish your MBA, you have to either leave the country in 60 days, as HSB mentioned, or work somewhere on OPT or find a job who sponsors your H-1..

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