• Maria Cordon

Visas F-1/J-1/M-1. #Student, #Exchange, #Vocational.

Updated: Jun 25, 2018

There are two types of visas: immigrant and non-immigrant. Nonimmigrant visas are obtained outside the United States, at a consulate or American embassy. Individuals with a current I-94 can change or extend their status in the United States.

Depending on the academic institution and subject, some people need an F-1, J-1, or M1 visa to study. Students in F-1 or M-1 obtain a DS-I-20 and students in J-1 obtain a DS-2019 form after being admitted. The next step was created after 9/11 when the government of the United States instituted enrolling in the Student and Exchange Identification System (SEVIS). SEVIS is currently managed by Investigations and Customs Enforcement (ICE). In a perfect situation the applicant has an "initial" or "active" SEVIS record.

As of today, May 18, 2018, minor students (K-8) who are not dependent on their parents at any status ( for example F2, H4, L2), can obtain an F-1 visa to study at a private school. A student cannot obtain an F-1 visa to study in a public school (K-8) and Embassies and Consulates do not issue them to prevent people from being punished with section 214 (m). After 8th grade, the consulates can theoretically issue an F-1 visa so that the students can study in a public or adult education school, as long as they reimburse the institution. In practice, I do not know how often this happens.

USCIS has issued a memorandum that will be effective August 9, 2018 that changes how time in unlawful status is calculated after a student is admitted to F, J, or M status and making it much stricter.

Each visa has its function, but all require the person to have present intention when requesting the F, J, or M visa to leave the United States upon completion of their studies. Attorney Maria M. Cordon can help you through the process of obtaining a visa or changing status in the U.S.

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