Defining the two visas available to non-immigrants that wish to study in the U.S.
Studying in the United States can be a once in a lifetime opportunity for foreigners.
However, since 9/11, student visas have undergone policy and procedure changes in hopes of tightening U.S. security. In order for the application to run smoothly, it is important to understand process. In the U.S., there are two different non-immigrant visas available. Non-immigrants who wish to pursue academic studies or language courses should apply for the “F” visa. Non-immigrants that wish to pursue vocational studies, such as at trade schools, should apply for the “M” visa. Although there are two different visa categories, both applicants must meet the same criteria.
Student Visa Criteria
- A student must be accepted and enrolled in an approved academic establishment prior to starting the visa process. The university or school must be approved by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
- Students must also be enrolled in school full-time.
- Also required is either a proficiency in English or enrollment in English classes leading to proficiency.
- Non-immigrants must also be able to prove that they have the necessary funds available to support themselves during their time abroad.
- Residency abroad must also be maintained with no intention of immigrating to the U.S.
Additional Changes Since 9/11
- A student is prohibited from attending any school or university prior to changing their immigration status. If a foreigner happens to be visiting the U.S. on a tourist visa and enrolls in a trade school or university full-time, they cannot attend the institution until their immigration status has changed from a tourist visa to a student visa. This allows for the students to be implemented into the Student Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), which is part of all approved USCIS schools. The system reports to USCIS about all foreign students and their families as a security measure.
- Prior to entering the U.S. to attend school, all necessary immigration paperwork must be filed. Non-immigrant paperwork can be just as confusing and stressful and immigration paperwork. If it is not done accurately and in a timely manner, delays can (and most likely will) occur causing the student to be delayed in their start of school.
Student Visa Assistance
Many immigration attorneys handle student visas and can help students navigate the immigration process. This can be extremely helpful in ensuring a timely start to the school year and relieve much of the stress imposed on moving abroad. An experienced immigration attorney will acquire all the necessary paperwork for you and ensure that it is completed accurately and on time allowing students to focus on their studies. For more information, please visit USCIS.gov.
We are experienced immigration lawyers and experts in the application process for the Student visa. It is important to understand your rights and your obligations under US immigration law. If you are ready to begin the application process or have questions then contact us today to schedule a call or a meeting. We are more than happy to call you wherever you are in the world at no cost to you.