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What is a Student Visa?

A student visa, or F-1 visa, is issued to those who are coming to the United States temporarily to pursue their studies at an established elementary school, high school, college, university, seminary, conservatory, or language school. These visas are temporary and grant the student nonimmigrant status. Every year, over 500,000 people come to the United States on F-1 student visas. The number of students who can receive the F-1 student visas to come to the United States is unlimited.

F-1 visas are generally for students seeking to attend universities, colleges, or high schools. Students seeking a visa to attend vocational programs require the students to obtain an M-1 visa instead.

What are the USA Student Visa Requirements?

To be eligible for a student visa, the foreign national must meet several requirements. Applicants must demonstrate that they:

  • The individual is accepted by a U.S. school as a student;
  • The student is expected to come to the U.S. as a full-time student;
  • The institution to be attended is approved by the Attorney General;
  • He has sufficient funds to meet his expenses for the period of expected study without having to resort to employment; and
  • He has a sufficient knowledge of the English language.

To show that the above requirements are met, students may have to offer additional proof, such as academic transcripts, or participate in interviews with immigration authorities. An immigration lawyer can assist the student applicant throughout the process. Students with valid visas can also apply for F-2 Visas for family members.

Are There Any Other USA Student Visa Requirements?

There are certain steps that an alien must take to obtain an F-1 visa:

  • The alien must first apply to a U.S. school that has been approved by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services;
  • If accepted, the school will give the alien an I-20 form which should be brought to a U.S. Consulate to obtain a student visa;
  • Upon arrival in the United States, the immigrant will receive a Form I-94 (Arrival-Departure Record). This form contains a record of the alien's legal admission to the United States;
  • The alien is permitted to stay while enrolled as a full-time student. Upon approval, the alien may also be allowed to stay for a year longer to pursue practical training; and
  • Pay any applicable fees, such as a $140 filing fee and a separate Student and Exchange Visitor Information Services (SEVIS I-901) fee of $200.

What is Student Visa Fraud?

Student visa fraud involves the use of deceit, lying, or fraud in relation to the student visa process. Some examples of student visa fraud include, but is not limited to:

  • Providing false information on the visa immigration application;
  • Lying about one’s age or academic enrollment;
  • Continuing to stay in the U.S. after the visa expires; and/or
  • Falsifying academic documents (such as credit hours taken, etc.).

How is Student Visa Fraud Punished?

Student visa immigration fraud is a serious violation and can result in severe consequences, including removal or deportation. In addition, immigration fraud may also lead to a ban from re-entering the U.S. in the future. Also, lying on immigration papers could lead to academic penalties, such as the loss of an academic sponsorship or expulsion.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with USA Student Visa Requirements?

If you or your loved one plans to study in the United States, you may wish to consult an experienced immigration lawyer. A skilled immigration attorney can assist you with the student visa requirements, and can help make sure that you are following immigration guidelines during your stay. Also, if you are being questioned about a visa violation, it is important to have a lawyer to represent you.

Photo of page author John Kirby

, LegalMatch Legal Writer

Last Modified: 06-25-2018 07:59 PM PDT

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