Monday, February 25, 2008

Study Visas

Every year, hundreds of thousands of people come to study in the United States from all over the world. This provides diversity to the US classroom, and makes a US education so vital in broadening each student’s world view. The Immigration and Nationality Act provides two nonimmigrant visa categories for persons wishing to study in the United States. The "F" visa is reserved for non-immigrants wishing to pursue academic studies and/or language training programs, and the "M" visa is reserved for non-immigrants wishing to pursue nonacademic or vocational studies.

Student Visas

The Immigration and Nationality Act provides two nonimmigrant visa categories for persons wishing to study in the United States. The "F" visa is reserved for non-immigrants wishing to pursue academic studies and/or language training programs, and the "M" visa is reserved for non-immigrants wishing to pursue nonacademic or vocational studies.

F and M Visa Requirements

a. Foreign students seeking to study in the U.S. may enter in the F-1 or M-1 category provided they meet the following criteria:

b. The student must be enrolled in an "academic" educational program, a language-training program, or a vocational program;

c. The school must be approved by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS);

d. The student must be enrolled as a full-time student at the institution;

e. The student must be proficient in English or be enrolled in courses leading to English proficiency;

f. The student must have sufficient funds available for self-support during the entire proposed course of study; and

g. The student must maintain a residence abroad which he/she has no intention of giving up.

F and M Visa Process

Apply for Admission

You first must apply to study at a USCIS-approved school in the United States. When you contact a school that you are interested in attending, you should be told immediately if the school accepts foreign national students. If you are accepted, the school should give you USCIS Form I-20 A-B/ID (Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F-1) Student Status - for Academic and Language Students) or Form I-20 M-N/ID (Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (M-1) Student Status - For Vocational Students).

Visa application and traveling

If you require a visa, then you should take the USCIS Form I-20 to the nearest U.S. consulate to obtain a student visa. Only bring the USCIS Form I-20 from the school you plan on attending for visa processing at the U.S. consulate. You must also prove to the consulate that you have the financial resources required for your education and stay in the United States. When you arrive in the United States; you should receive a Form I-94 (Arrival-Departure Record) that will include your admission number to the United States. An Immigration inspector will write this admission number on your USCIS Form I-20 A-B/ ID. The Immigration Inspector will then send pages one and two of this form, known as I-20 A-B, or I-20 M-N to your school as a record of your legal admission to the United States. You are expected to keep pages three and four, known as the I-20 ID. This document is your proof that you are allowed to study in the United States as an F-1 student or M-1 Student. You should also keep safe your Form I-94, because it proves that you legally entered the United States.

School Transfers

You must be a full time student in good academic standing. You must notify your current school of your intent to transfer. You must ask the school that you plan on attending to give you a new USCIS Form I-20. You must complete your portion of the USCIS Form I-20 and give it to your new designated school official (DSO) within 15 days of transferring. The designated school official (DSO) should give you the last two pages, known as Form I-20 ID, and forward a copy of the first two pages, known as Form I-20 A-B or I-20 M-N to the USCIS and your prior school.

Student’s Spouse and Children

Your spouse and children may come with you to the United States in F-2 or M-2 status. They should go with you to the U.S. embassy or consulate when you apply for your student visa. They should be prepared to prove their relationship to you. If your spouse or children are following to join you at a later date, they should provide the U.S. embassy staff with a copy of your USCIS Form I-20 ID and proof of their relationship to you. The F-2 or M-2 status of your family will be dependent upon your status as the F-1 or M-1 student. This means that if you change your status, your family must change their status. If you lose your status, your family will also lose their status.

Maintaining your Student Status

You are allowed to stay in the United States for as long as you are enrolled as a full-time student in an educational program and making normal progress toward completing your course of study. If approved, you also will be allowed to stay in the country up to twelve additional months beyond the completion of your studies to pursue practical training. At the end of your studies or practical training, you will be given sixty days to prepare to leave the country. You do not need to apply to extend your stay in the United States as long as you are maintaining your student status and making normal progress toward completing your academic course of study. The designated school official (DSO) from your school will write down a completion date on your USCIS Form I-20. Under normal circumstances, you should be able to complete your studies by this date.








Work Authorization

You may be allowed to work on-campus or off-campus (after the completion of your first year of study) under limited circumstances. You may also wish to discuss employment with the designated school official (DSO) at your school. Your accompanying spouse and child may not accept employment.

After completing your studies you may apply for practical training or Optional Practical Training for F-1 Students. For M-1 students, if approved, you will be allowed to have one month of practical training for every four months of study you have completed. You will be limited to six months total practical training time. F-1 students have 12 months of Optional Practical Training.

You must also submit USCIS Form I-765 (Application for Employment Authorization), and your I-20 ID, signed by the designated school official (DSO). You should send your application to USCIS no more than 60 days before your student status expires and no later than 30 days after your studies are completed. You may also wish to discuss practical training with the appropriate officials at your school.

Traveling Outside the United states

Students may leave the United States and be readmitted after absences of five months or less. Upon your return to the United States, you should provide immigration inspectors with:

a. A valid passport.

b. A valid F-1 entry visa stamped in the passport (if necessary).

c. A current USCIS Form I-20 ID Student Status - signed by your appropriate school official (you should have the appropriate school official sign your USCIS Form I-20 each time you wish to temporarily travel outside the United States).

d. A new USCIS Form I-20 if there has been any substantive changes in your course of study or place of study.

e. Proof of your financial support.

When making your travel plans, please remember that you must be a full-time student to keep your student status. You will be considered to be "in status" if you take the annual summer vacation, as long as you are eligible and intend to register for the next school term.

2 comments:

US Waivers Pardon said...

Getting a Visa is like a dream come true nowadays as it is really very difficult task !!! And this information by you will surely provide some ideas to people. Thank You!!!

US Visa Waiver

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