Many foreign nationals come to the U.S. each year to attend school. These students must apply for a special visa to legally reside in the United States during their studies. To be granted a visa, you must be proficient in English, have a valid educational purpose for coming to the United States, and must be able to financially support yourself here without working. You will be given permission to stay in the U.S. for duration of status, i.e. the length of time it takes to complete your educational program plus 60 days.
At the end of your studies, you may request a period of work authorization to gain experience in your field through practical training. If qualified, you may also change your non-immigrant status to a temporary non-immigrant work visa or adjust status to a permanent resident visa.
The appropriate student categories eligible for visas are:
- F-1 (academic)
- M-1 (vocational)
- J-1 (exchange students)
For short periods of recreational study that is not for credit towards an academic degree or certificate, a Visitor (B) visa can be used.
F-1 visas may be acquired by filing an application with a consular officer at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate. If you are currently in the U.S. under lawful status, you may submit an application to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to change your status to that of a student. In either case, before applying for your visa you must be accepted at a U.S. school that accepts foreign students and is authorized by the Student Exchange and Visitor Program (SEVP).
These schools may be universities or colleges, seminaries, conservatories, academic high schools, private elementary schools, or other academic institutions like a language program. Once you are accepted by the school you wish to attend, you will be enrolled in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). Your school will then provide you with the Form I-20 to give to the consular officer at your visa interview. If you plan to bring a spouse and/or children to reside with you, they will also need to fill out a Form I-20.
San Antonio Student Visa Lawyer
When coming to the U.S for schooling, the thought of applying for a visa on top of traveling to a foreign country can be daunting, especially if for some reason your application is denied. Immigration lawyers are a wonderful asset for you and your family during this time. They can determine the best visa category for you and make sure your case runs smoothly.
We can help you assemble the proper documents and prepare for your interview. If you have aspirations to study in the U.S., we want to help make that possible for you. With our help, you can stress less about the visa application process and focus on the wonderful opportunities that lie ahead. To find out more about how Salmón-Haas can help you with your student visa, schedule a complimentary consultation with us today!