F-1 Student Visa

If you are looking to study abroad in the United States, you will need a student visa. Under the law, a foreign national student is permitted to study in America when he or she has successfully obtained a legal student visa, known as an F-1 visa.

These visas are granted to nonimmigrants coming to the US to participate in a full time course of study. As with all nonimmigrant classifications, the most important requirement to obtain an F-1 visa is the demonstration of nonimmigrant intent. The student must maintain a home abroad that they have no intention of abandoning. The student must be coming to the US to pursue a full course of academic study, and must demonstrate that they possess the financial resources to allow them to study without the need to engage in unauthorized employment. Most students are able to get approved for a stay equal to the duration of their studies in the US and can study in any pre-approved institution. In light of the bars on admission created in 1996, it is very important for the student to maintain their status while in the US.

There are eight important things that must be done to maintain status:
  • Keep a valid passport at all times, unless otherwise exempt from the passport requirement
  • Attend the school authorized
  • Participate in a full course of study
  • Leave the US by the completion date shown on the I-20, or request a program extension from the school's designated student officer
  • If the student wants to change from one educational level to another (for example a bachelor's program to a master's) they must apply to the designated student officer
  • In most cases, work no more than 20 hours per week while school is in session
  • Not work off campus without INS authorization
  • Report any change in residence to the INS within 10 days

Applying for an F-1 Visa

If you believe you will be able to pay for your education in America by working when you arrive, you are in for a surprise. The law places strict limits on foreigners entering the U.S. on a student visa. A student cannot be employed off-campus during the first year of studies in America. The two exceptions to this rule include if the off-campus employment is educationally affiliated or educationally related. Once your first year of study is over, the United States Citizens & Immigration Services (USCIS) may grant a student permission to work off-campus upon the school’s recommendation. Whether a student on an F-1 visa works on or off-campus, he or she cannot work more than 20 hours per week. Simply put, make sure you have the financial means necessary to pay for school and living expenses if you are interested in obtaining an F-1 visa.

Most students need to apply for an F1 visa if they are wanting to study at:

  • Private elementary school;
  • High school;
  • University or college;
  • Conservatory;
  • Seminary; or
  • Another academic institution.

If you are planning on attending a non-academic institution or a vocation school, you have to obtain a different type of student visa. 

Loss of an F-1 Visa

There are many reasons why a foreign national student loses an F1 visa. Examples include:

  • Failing to attend school;
  • Failing to keep a full-time school schedule;
  • Failing to attend the school listed on his or her I-20 form;
  • Failing to timely notify the International Division of a change of address;
  • Letting your I-20 form expire.

If you have lost your F1 visa status, be sure to contact an experienced Dallas student visa lawyer right away. 

Reinstatement of an F-1 Visa

It is fundamental to understand that in order to apply for reinstatement of an F1 visa, there are strict deadlines that must be met. These include:

  • Applying for reinstatement within five months of losing visa status;
  • Not obtaining unlawful employment;
  • No other grounds for deportation are present;
  • Keeping a clean record without repeated violations of immigration laws;
  • Pursuing, or intending to pursue in the near future, a full course of study at the school listed on the I-20 form;

As part of reinstatement, you must prove to the USCIS that the loss in status happened due to circumstances beyond your control or your course load was reduced but an authorized agent would have likely approved upon proof of extreme hardship. Obtaining reinstatement of an F-1 visa is not simple. Hiring an experienced F-1 visa attorney in Dallas to help you through the process is critical to success. 

Dallas Student Visa Lawyer

Pollak PLLC can help guide you through the student visa application process so that you can obtain an F-1 visa and succeed in your academic pursuits. You want the experience of our F-1 visa lawyer on your side. Do not try to navigate this process on your own. Call (214) 307-5510 today to schedule a consultation to discuss your options under applicable immigration laws.

Our firm provides full-service professional legal advice and representation to help you find an immigration solution to your visa needs.

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