Real Life Example
Because the laws and procedures in obtaining Student status are so complex, I think it may be very helpful to you if I illustrate the process by way of a real-life example. This example illustrates when a foreign national is already in the US under a different valid nonimmigrant status who wishes to change status to student status. If you are not in the US or otherwise would rather like to apply for a visa outside of the US rather than a change of status in the US, click here.
Disclaimer. The following is intended only to give you a general idea of the topic. It is NOT intended to be legal advice. Everyone’s goals and situations are unique. Please consult an attorney to determine which method is best for your specific goals.
Lilian is a systems hospital administrator in Manila, Philippines. She and her family own a house in Quezon City. One of her relatives in the United States is getting married so Lilian and her family decide to go on a vacation to attend the wedding and visit the sites of the US.
While passing through Customs at the airport, she and her family are admitted for a maximum period of six months to tour the United States for pleasure and visiting relatives.
After a few months of attending family engagements and site-seeing, one of their relatives takes them to see the college he is attending. While at the school, Lilian learns that the school offers a computer program that teaches skills she has always wanted to learn. The school claims that they teach the latest technological advances in the field. Lilian feels that the course being offered at this school would be very beneficial in advancing her career back home in the Philippines.
Later that day, Lilian contacts her employer in the Philippines and convinces her employer that the knowledge and skills she would learn from attending this program would greatly benefit the hospital. Her employer agrees to give her a leave of absence for the duration of the school program if she is approved to attend school by USCIS.
Attorney Avelino informs her that it was very important that she waited a few months after entering as a tourist before deciding to apply to change her status from a tourist to a student. Otherwise, USCIS would likely presume she had a preconceived intent to enter as a student all along rather than as a tourist. Such misrepresentation could lead to denial of a change of status and revocation of her tourist visa.
However, given these unique circumstances, it would be possible for her to apply for a change of status from tourist to student. He informs her that she would have to prove with documentary evidence that she has no intention of abandoning her residence in the Philippines, that she will return home upon completion of the program and that she has sufficient assets/funds to attend school on a full-time basis and support her family in the United States WITHOUT any of them having to work. She must also prove that she has only engaged in tourist activities during her stay in tourist status. Attorney Avelino also warns her that she cannot attend school until her application is approved by USCIS.
With the help of Attorney Avelino, Lilian prepares all of the necessary supporting documents and files her and her family’s application to change status with USCIS. A few months later the applications are approved and Lilian and her family can remain in the United States up until her completion of the school program. Her children are also allowed to attend school without having to file separate applications for change of status.
If you wish to pursue full-time academic or vocational studies in the United States, you may be eligible for one of two nonimmigrant (temporary) student categories. The “F” category is for academic students and the “M” is for vocational students.
Qualifications for a Student Visa
The immigration laws are very specific with regard to the requirements which must be met by applicants to qualify for the student visa. The adjudicating officer will determine whether you qualify for the visa. Additionally, applicants must demonstrate that they properly meet student visa requirements including:
- Have a residence abroad, with no immediate intention of abandoning that residence;
- Intend to depart from the United States upon completion of the course of study; and
- Possess sufficient funds to pursue the proposed course of study.