If you are applying for a student visa, have been denied or have other questions about the legal requirements for studying in the United States, contact an experienced immigration attorney at Hanlon Law Group, P.C.
Applying for a Student Visa
There are two types of student visas: F-1 visas for students enrolled full-time in colleges, universities, seminaries, conservatories and other educational institutions and language training programs; and M-1 visas for people pursuing nonacademic or vocational studies. As with other nonimmigrant visa applicants, those seeking a student visa must apply for one with their local U.S. consulate or embassy and schedule an in-person interview.
Given that each student applicant’s situation may be different, the type of documents that will have to be included in the application and presented to the consulate will vary. In general, the student should be prepared to offer proof of:
- Acceptance. A foreign national must show that he or she has been accepted as a full-time student in a U.S. educational, language-training or vocational program. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) also must have approved the school. Upon approval, students are provided a I-20 form from the appropriate educational institution as proof of acceptance.
- Educational preparation. A foreign national must have successfully completed the course of studies or equivalent that normally is required for enrollment in the school or educational program. Unless the purpose for coming to the United States is to participate in an English language training program, each applicant must demonstrate a command of the English language sufficient to handle the course of study. An exception can be made if the educational institution has made special arrangements for the applicant to enroll in English classes or the classes will be taught in the native language of the applicant.
- Financial resources. An applicant must prove that he or she has enough funds or that funds are being made available to cover all school and living expenses during the time period spent in the United States. Funds to cover the first year of study must be available at the time the visa is requested. Foreign students pursuing nonacademic or vocational studies must provide evidence that they currently have sufficient funds to pay all educational and living expenses during their entire stay in the U.S.
- Intent to return home. Students seeking a student visa must convincingly show that they intend to remain in the United States for a temporary period of time. Applicants that fail to prove that there are compelling reasons for them to return to their homeland after their period of study has ended face a high risk of having their student visa application rejected.
Students should apply for their student visas as soon as they have been accepted by a full-time educational program in the U.S. The busiest months for processing visa applications are June, July and August. While consulates cannot issue a student visa more than 120 days before the educational program’s registration date, students can still apply for a visa as soon as they have received the 1-20 form from their institutions.
Speak to an Immigration Lawyer
Millions of international students have enjoyed the opportunity to study in the United States. The process to secure a student visa can be rigorous and time-consuming.
An experienced Los Angeles immigration attorney at Hanlon Law Group can provide you with the assistance you need to prepare for your interview with the consulate officer in your home country.
DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein are intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.