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What Do I Need to Know About Immigration Law and Student Visas?

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If you or a family member are planning to try to obtain a student visa to study and live in the United States, it is in your best interests to know the ins and outs of immigration law beforehand. As with all aspects of immigration law, many issues can involve complexities that may be challenging to try and understand on your own.

Therefore, it is always advisable for anyone considering applying for a student visa to first speak with an experienced immigration attorney who can answer your questions and explain your legal options.

What Different Types of Student Visa Are Available?

Several different types of student visas are available, and they are based on the individual’s educational needs.

U.S. student visas include:

  •  F-1 visa: This visa is the most commonly obtained by international students who wish to attend high school or college in the United States. An F-1 visa may be utilized by students who wish to obtain a degree in undergraduate and graduate studies and language training programs.
  •  M-1 visa: This visa is the best option for international students who plan to attend a non-academic learning institution such as a trade school.
  •  J-1 visa: This visa is for international students who wish to come to the U.S. to participate in a Student and Exchange Visitor program. Individuals who may qualify include those who only plan to spend one to two semesters in the U.S. to study or participate in an internship program.

How Can an Individual Obtain a Student Visa?

Several steps must be completed to apply for and obtain any student visa offered by the United States. These steps include:

  •  Apply to be admitted to a U.S. university or other learning institution.
  •  Obtain a Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status (Form-1-20) from the college or university that has accepted you.
  •  Submit and pay the fee associated with the I-901 Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS).
  •  Find the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate so that you can begin to prepare for your upcoming visa interview.
  •  Complete the Online Nonimmigrant Visa application form (Form DS-160).
  •  Schedule a visa interview at the embassy or consulate you identified at the beginning of the visa process.
  •  Attend the interview and be sure to bring all the required documentation.
  •  Finally, pay the issuance fee that your country of origin may require to obtain your visa.

How Long Can an Individual Stay in the U.S. With a Student Visa?

The length of time an international student is permitted to stay in the country with a visa varies depending on their visa type. For example, students with an F-1 visa may remain in the country for up to 60 days after finishing their studies. However, f-1 visa holders must complete their studies by the termination date listed on their 1-20 form.

Students with an M-1 visa may remain in the U.S. for one year or the length it takes to complete their vocational program. After completing the program, international students have up to 30 days to remain in the country.

Finally, international students with a J-1 visa are permitted to stay in the U.S. for the entire time it takes to complete their coursework or obtain their degree. Afterward, J-1 visa students are required to return to their homeland and live for two years before they may return to the United States.

When Should I Speak With an Immigration Attorney About a Student Visa?

The process involved with obtaining any student visa can be lengthy and often hard to manage without legal assistance. However, an experienced immigration attorney can advise you throughout the entire process and help you save precious time and money.

Therefore, if you would like to come to the United States to study or receive vocational training, you can significantly benefit from the assistance of a skilled immigration attorney. If you have questions about student visas and would like to learn more, contact our law firm at 773-825-8695 to schedule an appointment with a qualified legal team member who can advise you of your options.

SwagatUSA LLC is passionately committed to helping international students realize their dreams and study in the U.S. and would be honored to assist you.

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