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  • Writer's pictureThamys Gaertner

Residence Abroad Requirement for F-1 Students

If you are in the United States in a valid nonimmigrant status, such as B-1/B-2 tourist, you may be able to change your status to F-1 (international student) from inside the United States. However, to file for the change of status, you will need to demonstrate you have a residence abroad and that you plan to return to your country after you finish your studies in the United States.

Let’s discuss how you can prove this:

International Student, F-1 Visa or Status Requirements

An international student applying for a student visa or status must meet the following requirements to qualify:

  • Acceptance at a school as evidenced by a Form I-20;

  • Intent to enter the United States solely to pursue a full course of study at an approved institution;

  • Present intent to leave the United States at conclusion of approved activities;

  • Possession of sufficient funds to meet the individual's financial needs; and

  • Preparation for course of study.

If you fail to meet one or more of the above criteria, your application for the F-1 visa or status may be denied.

Residence Abroad or Ties to Home Country

Immigration laws and regulations require that an F-1 applicant possess a residence in a foreign country which they have no intention of abandoning. In other words, you must demonstrate that you intend to depart the United States upon completion of your studies. Examples of how to prove or demonstrate your ties to your country and intent to return after your studies include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Proof of property in your home country (apartment, house, mortgage, lease agreement);

  • Proof of employment in your home country (past employment, current, or future job offer letter)

  • Proof of studies or current enrollment in your home country

  • Proof of accounts and/or bills in your name in your home country

  • Proof of bank accounts or investment accounts in your country

  • Identification or driver’s license in your country

  • Any other documents that show ties to your home country


If you would like to see if you qualify for the F-1 international student visa or status you should carefully consider your ties to your home country. It is advisable to consult with an immigration attorney to identify the best option for you.

To schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys and discuss your questions about the residence abroad requirement or any other requirements for an F-1 visa or change of status, please click HERE.

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