Helping International Students Succeed
At the Law Offices of Paul Herzog, we understand how important your education is. You and your family have worked hard for your opportunity to study in the U.S. The process is by no means easy and having an experienced legal guide can help. Our attorneys have over 35 years of combined experience helping students and their families.
F-1 Student Visas
International students may enroll in a full course load to attend a U.S. university or college. Undergraduates must enroll in 12 units to maintain their F-1 student status and graduate students may enroll in whatever the school determines to be a full course load.
Please be aware that international students may not enroll in F-1 student status to attend kindergarten through eighth grade at a public school. For grades nine through 12, attendance at a public high school is possible only if the student pays tuition for his or her enrollment. The student may attend for only one year at a public high school. These rules do not apply to those attending private schools.
Students enrolled at a college or university may be eligible to work on campus during school and off-campus during periods of optional practical training (OPT) or curricular practical training (CPT) with permission of the institution. It is essential to consult with your international student adviser before accepting any type of employment or requesting a reduction in course load. If a student works without proper authorization of either the school or U.S. immigration, the person can be deported.
Violations And Reinstatement To Student Status
If you have violated the student status regulations, you may apply for reinstatement to student status. However, this is very hard to do, and you must consult your international student adviser if required.
If the violation was considered “minor” or “merely technical,” it might be possible to obtain reinstatement to student status from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The regulations do not permit a reinstatement to student status if the reason for the problem is that the person worked without authorization.
The application for reinstatement on forms I-539 and I-539A costs $445 plus the fee for form I-901, which, at the present time, is $200. We suggest that the application be accompanied by a letter from the student’s academic adviser and/or the international student adviser explaining what occurred and why the student should be reinstated. You must also submit the new I-20 as well as I-94 forms.
We often provide a statement from the student explaining the circumstances that led to his or her becoming out of status. We also find it helpful to show current bank statements and other evidence that the student can afford the tuition and living costs as established on the I-20.
Change Of Status From B-2 Tourist To F-1 Student
You may apply for a change of visa status from B-2 tourist to F-1 student on form I-539 while you are still in the U.S. However, the regulations prevent a tourist from enrolling in school until the application is approved. If you enroll prior to the approval, the application will be denied. Normally, it can take approximately four to nine months to have the application decided. Please consult the international student adviser before you attempt this type of application.
To make this type of application even more challenging, the potential student must continue to maintain his or her status during the process. This means that the B-2 authorized period of stay must be maintained to a period within 30 days of the start of the I-20 issued by the school.
The alternative to the change of status application from B-2 to F-1 is to apply for the F-1 student visa at a U.S. consulate. In that case, the decision of whether to issue the student visa is made quickly.