I have been receiving many letters from students wishing to study in the US , wanting to know about the processes.
The F-1 visa (student visa) permits foreign students to get to the US and attend school at all academic levels.
A foreign student can reach the US in F-1 classification. Applicants must have completed a course of study normally required for enrollment, should be sufficiently proficient in English, should have been accepted for a full course of study by an approved educational institution and be able to prove that sufficient funds are or will be available to meet living and school expenses.
They should also be able to convince the consular officer that they have binding ties to a residence to their home country which they have no intention of abandoning and that they will return to their home country when they have completed their studies.
Once the applicant has been accepted to a school in the US , they will be issued a Form I-20 (Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status for Academic and Language Students) establishing that they are eligible for the visa.
The applicant must complete Form DS-156, the nonimmigrant visa application. This form asks basic questions like the purpose of the trip and expected length, prior US immigration history, and if there are any family members in the US. It is important to answer this form truthfully.
Males between 16 and 45 will also have to submit Form DS-157, supplement to the non-immigrant visa application. If the forms are not answered truthfully, the consular officer can deny visa and preclude the student from re-applying for another visa. If there is are petitions pending on your behalf such as a Green card application, the consular officer can deem that your intent is immigrant intent and deny your application.
The applicant must also have a valid passport for travel to the United States and with a validity date at least six months beyond the applicant’s intended period of stay in the country, one colour photograph -- showing full face, without head covering, against a light background, original TOEFL scores and SAT, GRE, GMAT scores, as applicable.
Students going to the US to earn a Bachelor’s degree should bring their most recent mark sheets or graduation certificates. Those looking for a PhD degree should bring their original undergraduate degree and mark sheets.
Spouses and minor children accompanying the student to the US should bring marriage certificates, wedding photos, and birth certificates with them to the interview, to prove the relationship between themselves and the principal applicant.
There is a common myth that once you are in the US on a student visa, you can automatically work. This is not the case. A student is permitted On-Campus Employment as long as he works just 20 hours a week while school is in session.
He may be employed full-time during vacations and recess periods as long as he intends to register for the next term. On-campus employment means employment on the premises of the school or at an affiliated off-site location. (ie employment like work in the school library, cafeteria, or in a student store or employment which is part of a student's scholarship, fellowship or assistantship).
(The author practices immigration law in Philadelphia , Pennsylvania . You may send her your comments to hamelvyas@indiatimes. com. This article is not to be construed as legal advice. Any information provided in this article is general in nature. If you have an immigration problem, it is strongly advised that you consult with an immigration attorney before taking action.)