When you intend to enroll in any kind of academic or vocational program as a foreign national in the United States, you will likely need a specific type of non-immigrant visa in order to be allowed into the country at a port of entry. However, it can be challenging to determine exactly what visa category you should apply for in the first place, let alone to successfully apply for and obtain the necessary documentation for your study plans.
Having help from an Atlanta student visa lawyer can make a huge difference in how efficiently you can get through this process. From initial filing procedures to dealing with visa interviews, a knowledgeable visa attorney could help through every stage of your application and greatly improve your chances of getting a favorable final result.
Student visas are a type of non-immigrant visa, meaning that someone granted one of these visas will only be allowed to stay in the United States for a predetermined period of time—usually, in this case, for the length of the program the prospective visa recipient plans to attend. F-1 visas are meant for people intending to enroll in a language training program or study full-time at an accredited:
M-1 visas, on the other hand, are reserved specifically for prospective students in vocational and other nonacademic programs besides language training programs.
If applicable, spouses and children of F-1 or M-1 visa recipients may be eligible to apply for and enter the U.S. lawfully with F- or M-2 visas. Additionally, students who commute from Canada or Mexico to a U.S.-based academic institution or vocational program may be eligible for F-3 or M-3 visas. Finally, participants in exchange programs may be eligible for J-1 visas, and their spouses and children eligible for J-2 visas, as a seasoned Atlanta student visa attorney can further explain.
Before applying for a student visa, someone who intends to study in the U.S. must first apply to and be accepted into a school or vocational program approved by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) within Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Once the selected program confirms enrollment, that program will register the applicant in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) and issue a Form I-20 to them, provided that applicant pays any required SEVIS I-901 fee.
With this Form I-20, the student may then apply at their nearest U.S. consulate or embassy for the appropriate visa category based on their planned course of study. As part of this process, they must complete an online nonimmigrant visa application (Form DS-160) and submit a current photo of themselves alongside with the completed application.
Visa interviews are required for most F and M visa applicants and are conducted at the nearest U.S. consulate or embassy. An experienced student visa lawyer in Atlanta could provide more information about steps in this process and help an individual prepare for a pending visa interview.
Studying in another country can be a great way to expand your horizons academically, culturally, and socially. However, if you want to study at an institution based in the United States, you need to obtain the appropriate nonimmigrant visa first, which can be a deceptively complicated endeavor.
Guidance from an Atlanta student visa lawyer could ensure your application process goes as smoothly as possible and that your educational plans remain on track. Call today for a consultation.