Student Visas Attorney in Florida
The U.S. education system doesn’t only benefit Americans. At universities throughout the U.S., students from other countries broaden their education and learn valuable skills. But not all foreign individuals can study in the U.S. Before coming into the country, a student must apply for a visa.
Student visas give foreign nationals the chance to reap the benefits of the American higher education system. This type of visa is a non-immigrant visa. As such, it only allows for a temporary stay. Here at the Florida Immigration Law Counsel, we can help you understand the complexities of the visa. We can also help you achieve a successful application.
What is the Visa?
This type of visa is only for students who plan on studying in the U.S. In fact, students must enroll at a qualified institution before they apply for the visa.
If the government grants the application, the student can only stay in the country for a short period. The period expires when the student finishes the study program or assignment.
There are different types of student visas. Typically, the type you choose depends on your studies and the type of educational institution you will attend. The following are three of the most common examples of visas for students:
1. F-1 Visa
This visa is for academic researchers. Students or researchers who want to study or research at the following places can apply for this visa:
- Accredited U.S. college or university
- High school
- Private elementary school
- English language school (if it’s approved)
- Some other approved academic institutions
To have a successful visa, you must be accepted to the school prior to your application. Your school can give you an I-20 form to submit with your application. If you are in the U.S., you need to leave to apply for this visa. You can only apply from an embassy or consulate out of the U.S. Another requirement is to show you have financial support for the duration of your stay in the U.S.
With this visa, you are given a certain amount of time to complete your studies. However, it typically only allows you to stay in the country as long as you maintain your enrollment status. Although you may be able to work part-time on your campus, you cannot work full-time or work any off-campus job. The only exception is for course-required training.
2. J-1 Visa
Also known as the Academic Studies as an Exchange Visitor visa, the J-1 visa has some unique requirements. It’s only for individuals who will do a work and study program for cultural exchange. Usually, it is for medical or business training.
To receive this visa, you need to be proficient in English. You also need to have the minimum required medical insurance. Much like the F-1 visa, you need proof that you have financial support for the time of your stay. You also must show that you intend to return to your home country after the program.
If you plan on applying for this visa, you need to get a DS-2019 form from the sponsoring organization or a government agency.
3. M-1 Visa
For vocational or other non-academic studies, you can seek an M-1 visa. This allows you to study at a vocational school or another institution that is not academic.
Applicants must already be accepted by the vocational institution. Additionally, that institution needs to be approved by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. You need to be fluent in English, have enough money to live comfortably, retain permanent residence in your country of origin, and have plans to leave the U.S.
With this visa, you can only stay for the length of your training, which includes optional training and a 30-day grace period. But you cannot stay for longer than one year in the U.S. If you have a medical issue or extenuating circumstances, you may be able to apply for an extension. While in the U.S. on the visa, you cannot work on or off your campus.
When you apply, you need to include an I-20 form with a signature from a school official. This needs to be done in the U.S. consulate or embassy of your home country.
How to Apply for Student Visas
There are several steps in the application process. First, you need to submit the proper application. As mentioned earlier, you can only do so after you gain admission to your program and receive the appropriate paperwork.
The second step is to pay the fee. In most cases, you need to pay U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement at least three days before you submit your application. The fees vary depending on your type of visa. After you make the payment, print out a copy of your receipt. This payment is for the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System, not the actual student visa.
Then, you need to fill out your visa application. The form is quite detailed and requires some supporting documentation, such as a digital photo. After you sign and submit it, print out the confirmation page.
Once you submit your application, you must pay your visa application fees. You will then be able to make an appointment for an interview. Before the interview, you need to make an appointment for fingerprinting. You must do so several days prior to the interview.
At the interview, you need to answer questions about your life and your plans for education. For instance, you must answer questions about your English skills, your educational experience, and your plans for furthering your education. You should bring all of the required documentation with you.
Getting Help with Your Visa
If you plan on applying for a student visa, you could encounter some difficulties. The process is not as simple as you might imagine. One wrong answer or missed document could jeopardize your education.
Here at the Florida Immigration Law Counsel, we can help you navigate the process. We can advise you on what to expect. More importantly, we can handle all of the hard work. With our help, your student visa could become a reality. Contact us for assistance today.