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Student Visa Lawyer

Studying in the States? A Student Visa Attorney Can Help

If you are an international student wishing to study in the United States, you will need to obtain a student visa. If you are already studying in the U.S., you may be wondering how you can extend your stay while maintaining your legal status. With the complex rules and various visa options, it can be confusing to know where to start.

A student visa lawyer uses their in-depth knowledge of immigration law to help clients through the process of acquiring and maintaining a student visa. These lawyers handle everything from application preparation to visa extensions, helping you reach your educational goals.

At JQK Law, we can help streamline your student visa process. Contact us today for a consultation.

TIP: file the request as soon as the 90-day pre-graduation window opens up. If denied for certain reasons, it leaves you time to timely refile the case.

Types of Student Visas

A visa is mandatory for non-citizens studying in the U.S., even for only a few months. The U.S. Department of State offers three categories of student visas: F, M and J. The type of visa you will need depends on your program type, for instance, whether you are participating in a vocational program or an exchange visitor program.

F Visa

An F visa is required for international students enrolled in an academic program at a recognized U.S. university. It is also required for individuals studying English at a university or English language institute. There are three types of F visas:

  • F-1 visa: This visa is for full-time international students looking to study in the U.S.
  • F-2 visa: This visa is for dependents of F-1 visa holders, like their spouses or unmarried children under 21 years old.
  • F-3 visa: This is for students in the border countries of Mexico or Canada that commute to the U.S. for school. These students stay in their home country, but attend school full-time or part-time in the U.S.

M Visa

M visas are for students seeking to engage in U.S. non-academic or vocational studies. There are three types of M visas:

  • M-1 visa: This visa is for foreign students enrolled in a vocational institution in the U.S.
  • M-2 visa: This visa is required for family members of M-1 visa holders, particularly spouses and unmarried children below 21.
  • M-3 visa: This visa is for commuting border residents accepted into U.S. non-academic and vocational institutions.

J Visa

J visas are for foreign students participating in exchange educational programs in the U.S. J visa holders can only stay in the country for a short time, usually no more than two semesters. There are two types of J visas:

  • J-1 visas: This visa is for international students enrolled in a relevant exchange educational program.
  • J-2 visas: This visa is for dependent spouse or unmarried child of J-1 visa holders.

Understanding the rules and limitations of the different visa types can be confusing. The team at JQK is here to help. Contact our student visa lawyers today to learn more about the most suitable visa for your situation.

Student Visa Application Process

The visa application process can be summarized in 10 simple steps.

Step 1: Acceptance By an Accredited Educational Institution

Before applying for a student visa, you must first be accepted by a recognized university, vocational or other educational program.

Step 2: Choose a Suitable Visa Category

After receiving your acceptance letter, you will need to determine the appropriate visa from the F, M and J categories according to your program.

Step 3: Gather the Necessary Documents

Several documents are required to accompany your visa application, including:

  • Passport-sized photographs.
  • Acceptance letter from an accredited institution or program.
  • Academic transcripts and certificates.
  • Language proficiency test results.
  • Proof of sufficient funds to support your study and stay.
  • Proof of accommodations.
  • Proof of health insurance coverage.

Step 4: Complete Visa Application Form

The next step is to fill out the DS-160 form for nonimmigrants found on the U.S. Department of State website. A student visa attorney can help you fill this form out completely and accurately the first time to avoid delays with processing your application.

Step 5: Pay Visa Fees and Submit Your Application

After completing your application form, you will have to pay a $185 non-refundable fee to submit your application.

Step 6: Biometric Data Collection

Biometric data collection is required to enter the U.S. Applicants must visit the nearest visa application center and get their fingerprints and photographs taken.

Step 7: Attend Your Visa Interview

Visa interviews are also required. These interviews generally take place in person at the closest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. The interview will involve questions about your study plans, educational background and financial situation. Your student visa lawyer can help you prepare for typical interview questions.

Step 8: Wait for the Decision

The visa application center will review your application and decide whether to approve or reject your student visa. The waiting period varies from country to country but typically takes two to three weeks.

Step 9: Receive Visa and Make Travel Plans

If your application is approved, you will receive your visa, allowing you to travel into and study in the United States. Your visa will outline when you can arrive in the U.S. and the duration of your stay.

Step 10: Extending Your Stay or Change of Status

If you need more time to finish your program of study, you will need to file for an extension on your visa. If you wish to wish to stay in the U.S. for other reasons, you will need to request a change of status. An experienced immigration attorney can help you determine the right strategy for maintaining legal status.

How long does the student visa application process typically take in U.S.?

The student visa application process in the U.S., particularly for the F1 visa, typically takes several weeks to months. It begins with applying to an SEVP-approved school, then paying the SEVIS fee. Following this, foreign nationals must apply for the visa with the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in their country.

This involves submitting the DS-160 form online, providing financial documents like bank statements to prove ability to cover living expenses, and attending an interview with a consular officer. Immigration services, including some law firms and immigration attorneys, often suggest consulting with the best student visa lawyers, especially if complex issues arise.

These lawyers, potentially members of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, are well-versed in U.S. immigration laws and can assist with optional practical training (OPT) and curricular practical training (CPT) applications, which are critical aspects of the student visa experience.

The entire process can be expedited by using online services, but it’s important to start well ahead of the intended start date of your study or exchange program. Always keep in mind that regulations from U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement can affect timelines.

The Services You Can Expect From Us

Obtaining and maintaining student status can be complicated. The immigration lawyers at JQK Law can help you navigate the visa process.

Visa Eligibility Requirements

At JQK, our team conducts comprehensive student visa eligibility assessments. We thoroughly review your academic credentials, financial documentation and other relevant background information, analyzing your circumstances in light of the student visa requirements.

Visa Denials

We also offer professional assistance for students facing visa denials, providing a strategic approach to reapplication. Our attorneys will leverage their legal knowledge to analyze the denial reasons, address the issues and craft a new application.

Visa Extensions and Change of Status

The JQK team facilitates smooth visa extensions and status changes for foreign students in the U.S. We will help you navigate U.S. immigration laws to determine the appropriate strategy for extending your stay in the U.S. or path to citizenship.

Resolving Legal Issues

It is not uncommon for legal issues to arise during the student visa application process or after obtaining a student visa. Our lawyers draw from their experience to resolve common issues like document discrepancies or procedural complexities leading to unlawful presence

Whether you are applying to a U.S. university or wanting to extend your stay, our global immigration lawyers can assist you through the process.

Let JQK Law Help You on Your Education Journey

A student visa may be the only thing standing between you and your education. Juggling required documents, forms, and visa interviews can be overwhelming. An immigration lawyer can help ease the burden and make the process more efficient.

At JQK, our attorneys pride themselves on a client-centric approach to each case. We strive to communicate openly and honestly to foster a successful lawyer-client relationship and achieve the best possible outcome.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

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