Jewish Journal

F visa for students

by Cedric M. Shen

March 15, 2011 | 11:35 pm

There are a few things you should consider when coming to the U.S. to study. If you are coming to the U.S. to look for a school, but have not yet enrolled, you will be admitted on a B-2 (tourist) visa. It is imperative that you state your intention to the customs officer that you are a prospective student here to look for a school to enroll in when entering the U.S. Once you are admitted to a school, you will have to change your status by filing a form I-539, to go from a B-2 visa to an F-1 or M-1 visa. If you didn’t express your intent to look for a school while on a B-2 visa, you may be denied an F-1 visa. Moreover, you cannot enroll in classes before you are issued an F-1 visa. Otherwise, you will be in violation of your visa status and would be required to leave the United States.

Whether enrolling in college, university, post-graduate school or any other educational institute, Maximilian Law Inc. will prepare your student visa application, as well as your Optional Practical Training (OPT)/Curricular Practical Training (CPT) application.  OPT and CPT will be discussed in depth in a future post.  In light of the recent events in Egypt, Libya and Japan, it is worth noting that students on F visas may be able to get temporary work authorization because of extreme hardship.  Situations such as a drastic change in the exchange rate of the home country or inability to access funds may be grounds for such relief.  However, the student needs to have been enrolled in school full-time for at least one year before qualifying.  As always, feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

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Cedric M. Shen is a Los Angeles-based immigration attorney experienced in helping foreign nationals enter the United States. His law practice focuses on employment-based green...

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