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F-1 Student Visas

Written by Gardale Hatley on Thursday, 19 September 2013. Posted in Palmore Hatley Blog, Immigration

Let’s talk students and F-Visas. There are three types of visas – F, M, and J – that require institutions to keep computerized records of students, exchange students, visitors, and accompanying family member.

The F-Visa criteria are:

1.  An applicant has a foreign residence and no intention of abandoning it.

  1. Field of study and job market in the applicant’s home country cannot be the basis for denying the visa.
  2. School choice is not a basis for denial either.
  3. The key is the immediate intent of the student.

2.  The applicant must be a bona fide student, qualified to pursue a course of study.
3.  The entry must be temporary and SOLELY for the purpose of pursuing his course work.
4.  The applicant must study at the approved school.

  1. The F Visa has limitations on elementary and secondary school enrollment.
  2. The applicant must present the required documentation from the school he or she wishes to enroll in and pay a fee.

5.  The applicant must have sufficient financial support such that he or she will not have to engage in unauthorized employment.

  1. There are however authorized employment avenues, for example the student may work on campus during his or her first year.
  2. After the first year, students may engage in limited off campus employment that is related to their field of study.

6.  Must be proficient in English or take classes to become proficient.
7.  Finally the applicant must maintain a full course of study.

Those are the basic requirements. Many students, from Mexico or Canada, attend schools in the U.S. as commuter students using F-3 visas.

Students can generally arrive 30 days before classes begin. Students can transfer to a different school so long as they are a bona fide student, pursuing a full course of study, intending to pursue a full course of study, has the financial means to, begins classes within five months of transferring or within 5 months of completing the previous course of study.

A transfer, like an initial enrollment, requires the student to obtain a SEVIS I-20 from the school they hope to attend or transfer to.

Withdrawal from school means that the F-1 holder has 15 days to depart. Missing any deadlines can make the student subject to removal as well.

Our Visa series continues next week.

About the Author

Gardale Hatley

Gardale Hatley

Gardale Hatley was raised in Lampasas, Texas and moved to Montgomery County more than 15 years ago. He focuses his practice primarily in Montgomery and Harris counties.

Palmore Hatley PLLC

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