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US Student Visa
US Student Visa

The U.S. attracts many foreign nationals to its diverse and strong institutions of learning. The F-1 Visa (Academic Student) allows one to enter the U.S. as a full-time student at an accredited (U.S. government- approved) college or university. The student must be enrolled in a program or course of study that culminates in a degree, diploma, or certificate. The M-1 Visa (Vocational Student) is issued to students who want to pursue non-academic programs (health care technician, machinist, dental hygienist, etc) in an established institution. The J-1 Visa (Exchange Student) is for students pursuing graduate / post-graduate studies, visiting scholars, medical doctors undergoing training, etc.

What We Can Do For You : At DIR, we can consult with you to discuss your case in detail and guide you on the paperwork we suggest you file in order to obtain the F-1 visa for the principal student and dependent family members. We can advise the International Student Advisor of your college or school regarding all viable options and paperwork requirements of the different student statuses. If appropriate, we can help with submitting the forms, etc, for the visa at the consulate or with the USCIS for change of status or extension of stay.

Note : Below are overviews and articles relevant to this section. For current
U.S. immigration news items, click NewsBrief and other links on the right.

Effect of Overstay for Visa Issuance
Since October 1, 1996, any person who has "overstayed" (remained in the U.S. past the expiration date on his/her latest I-94 card), is ineligible to apply for the nonimmigrant (temporary) visa from a country other than her/his home country. The law automatically voids the visa stamp in the passport as soon as one remains illegally in the U.S. or falls out of status.

Overview : Common F-1 Student Issues
The F-1 student visa status is for the primary purpose of full-time study at a school or college in the U.S. Full-time study, in most cases, is defined to be at least 12 credit hours per semester. Under 1996 law, there are limits on study by F-1 students in public elementary and secondary schools, requiring the F-1 student or her/his family to reimburse the government for the cost of the education.

1 Year of Practical Training - What Next?
Most F-1 students can get up to one year of practical training work authorization after completion of their studies. This OPT or Optional Practical Training either can be during the program or after completion. OPT provide foreign students with valuable opportunities and enables the student to work for any employer, as long as the work is related to the subject studied.

Issues of When and Where F-1s Can Work
F-1 students generally are aware that they have restrictions on working. There are some circumstances under which an F-1 can be employed, however. Information on all these options can be obtained from the Foreign Student Advisor in most universities or colleges. In most cases, that official must also authorize or recommend the employment of the foreign student.

Reinstatement of Student Status
An F-1 student may fall out of status, usually unintentionally. It may be necessary under certain circumstances for a student to reduce his or her course load due to a serious illness, for example. A lighter course load may sometimes be authorized, with the assistance of the DSO. If a student has fallen out of status but wishes to resume studies, s/he may be able to apply for reinstatement.

About Visa and Status
The word "visa" in immigration law refers to the visa stamp issued by the U.S. consulate in the foreign country which enables one to board a flight to the U.S. "Status" is given by the USCIS officer at the port of entry to allow the person to enter the U.S. Laypersons generally confuses the concept of the visa and status, but under immigration law, the two are distinct.

Overview : F-1 Visas (Part 1)
This is the first in our 3-part series on the F-1 visa for the academic student to be able to come to the United States and complete an academic program. This part explains the basic requirements for qualification for the F-1 visa.

Overview : F-1 Visas (Part 2)
In this second in our 3-part series on the topic of the F-1 visa for students, we discuss employment issues, both on-campus and off-campus, including OPT and CPT programs. This article also covers the subject of dependent visas for family members of the F-1 student.

Overview : F-1 Visas (Part 3)
In this third and final segment of our 3-part series on the F-1 visa for students, we complete our overview and address maintenance of status, reinstatement after falling out of status, and the issues and consequences of overstays.

Overview : J-1 Visas (Part I)
In Part I of this Overview, we discuss the general definition and procedural aspects of the J-1 Visa process. This is the first of a 4-part series on a complicated issue.

Overview : J-1 Visas (Part 2)
This article goes more into depth on the two-year home residency requirement (HRR). This analysis includes information on who is subject to the requirement and what the requirement means. We also briefly touch on the issue of obtaining a waiver of the requirement.

Overview : J-1 Visa Waivers (Part 3)
Here we explain waivers for the two-year home residency requirement to MurthyDotCom readers. We include general information on waivers based on "No Objection" from the home country government, based on hardship, or on a fear of persecution. Included also is information on Interested Government Agency waivers for medical doctors.

Overview : J-1 Visa IGAs for Physicians (Part 4)
This article explains waivers of the two-year home return requirement (HRR) imposed upon some persons in J-1 status.

Tips on International Travel
In this post-9/11 age of high security, it is important to remember that failure to attend to small details may cause big problems. When making travel plans, we caution MurthyDotCom readers to be mindful of some important matters.

"Last Name First" : No Joking Matter
The result of using unofficial adaptations of one's name for official government documents can cause big problems in the immigration process. We provide some helpful recommendations to our internet surfers where laws and regulations provide little guidance as to the proper use of names in documents filed before the USCIS.

Vitally Critical Notes: US does welcome top students to stay if they can find a job in the fields US needs. If not, US makes sure they will be going back home. Canada thus becomes a warm place for these students being kicked out.
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