F-1 Visa (Students)

Being An American Student

F-1 Visa (Students)

The United States has some of the top universities and colleges in the world and students from all over come to the US to study. Our services start from helping prepare future students and their parents to attend the first student visa (F-1 visa) interview at the consulate, all the way up to the student graduating and obtaining visas and green card to work and live in the US.

There are many visa options for graduating students. You can file for work visas through employers, or if you qualify, file yourself as investors, entrepreneurs and researchers.

Learn more about how we help below, and please don't hesitate to contact us with any questions.

About F-1 Visas

Eligibility Criteria

To obtain a visa as an international student, you must

  • Be accepted by a university or college into a degree or vocational program
  • The university must be approved by the SEVIS program
  • You must understand English
  • Have sufficient funds to pay the tuition and support yourself while studying
  • And have a home outside of the US that you intend to return to after graduating
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Common Problems Students Face

Applying from your home country.

If you are overseas, to get a student visa, you will need to go to the US Consulate closest to you for a visa interview. At that time the officer will talk to you to decide whether you should get the student visa. Student visas are discretionary, which means that the consular officer can reject your application without giving you any reason. If you are denied once, the chances of getting approved a second time are greatly reduced.

Though there can be a lot of reasons, Visa Officers usually deny student visas if you cannot show that you have sufficient funds, or when the officer is not convinced that you will return to your home after graduating.

Changing from another visa in the US.

If you are in the US, you apply for a change of status from your current visa to a student visa. The process can take anything from 3 months up to 2 years. After filing, you must stay in status on your current visa at all times till the student visa is approved. Many times, clients enter on a visitor visa and decide to study. Their visitor visa is only valid for 6 months, which can create a problem when trying to change to a student visa.

While in Student Status.

Even after you start studying, you must make sure that you continue to stay eligible for the student visa. Enroll full time, don’t take semester long breaks, keep up your grades and pay your tuition on time are the four rules we tell our clients. Despite knowing all these rules, students who are leaving their families for the first time get lonely, or forget to meet a timeline because they are so busy, or may just fall sick or be unable to pay their tuition on time. For these and several other reasons, students sometimes fall out of status, sometimes, even without being aware that they have violated their stay.

Graduating Students.

Sometimes, when close to graduating and you are busy studying hard for your finals, you do file for your Post Graduation work permit (OPT), but may not aware that the I-20 issuance and the work permit application have a strict timeline. You wait months without a job while all your fellow students race to work because you still don’t have a work permit. And then you get a notice from the USCIS rejecting your request for work permit or asking for documents that you cannot provide.

It could be that you did get the work permit, but lost the job, or after working for a year, your employer filed for the H1B visa but it did not get picked up in the lottery.

It could be something else entirely that makes you reach out to an attorney.

As immigration attorneys, we are very well acquainted with all the various issues that foreign students face. And as some of us are first generation immigrants, we have team members, and family who have personally gone through this process. In the past 2 decades, we have worked with many students to help them solve their visa problems.

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How We Can Help

We help students to

  • Prepare for the first F-1 student visa interview at the US consulate, including helping to prepare all the financial and personal documents needed
  • Help file for reinstatement of the visa if a student falls out of status
  • Help file for student work permits, both initial OPTs and STEMs OPTs
  • In case of need, help file the student for CPT, Curriculum practical training
  • File for a “change of status” request to another visa if the student gets married or there is another life event that qualifies them for another visa as well
  • Discuss and plan status extensions and changes to other visas if an already graduated student does not get through the H1B lottery and needs to stay in the US
  • Respond to the US CIS’s Request for Evidence when the student files for work permits, STEMs OPTs, CPTs, or change of status to another visa.

To talk with one of our attorneys, please contact us today.

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