How Valentini Law Offices Can Benefit You: We consult you on the processes and rigid evidentiary requirements of the F-1 visa. By routinely dealing with the policies and recent trends in F-1 visas, we are able to foresee and smooth out any potential snags that may occur in the filing process and thus nearly eliminating any possibility of delay or rejection. We are also very well versed in changing status to that of F-1 and in adjustment of status from F-1 to lawful permanent residency (green card).
The F-1 is visa is tailored to alien students who would like to pursue a degree or a program of study in the US. This is a non-immigrant visa issued to students of various US educational institutions: colleges, universities, academies, conservatories, high schools and language schools. For a US educational institution to enroll alien students, it has to be approved by USCIS. F-1 students can pursue certificate or degree programs at bachelor’s, master’s or the doctorate level.
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An F-1 student’s spouse and unmarried children under 21 can accompany him to the US. The F-1 student, his/her spouse and children can freely travel outside the US and re-enter.
The holders of this visa are authorized to work on-campus for 20 hours per week. Under limited circumstances, F-1 students can apply to USCIS and request Off-Campus Employment Due to Severe Economic Hardship. For this application to be approved, the F-1 student must have a severe and unforeseen change in his/her financial circumstances.
Upon graduation from a program of study at an undergraduate or graduate institution, F1 visa holders are eligible to stay and work in the United States for a period of approximately one year. This is called Optional Practical Training.
It is fairly common for F-1 students to receive an offer of employment while on Optional Practical Training. However, to commence employment, F-1 student had to change his status to another non-immigrant or immigrant status. An example of such change of status is a situation when F-1 student’s future employer applies for H-1b visa on the student’s behalf and the H-1b visa granted.
The J-1 visa is a non-immigrant visa designated for aliens traveling to the US with the purpose of cultural or educational exchange. It is issued to alien students, researchers, professors, teachers, au pairs, camp counselors, physicians, trainees, and international and governmental visitors. An alien on a J-1 visa is allowed to bring his spouse and children with him to live in the US.
If an alien’s cost of participation in the exchange program was covered by the US government or alien’s government, the alien is subject to a two year residency requirement. It is easy to check if an alien is subject to a two year residency requirement – a relevant mark usually appears in the alien’s US visa. This requirement also means that an alien cannot adjust his status to a different immigrant or non-immigrant status immediately after the completion of the exchange program and has to return to his home country for two years.
The two year residency requirement does apply to aliens who married US citizens or aliens who have a sponsoring employer willing to apply for a green card or work visa on their behalf. Five waivers to this requirement are available:
- A "no-objection" statement from an alien’s home country
- A request from an interested US government agency on the alien’s behalf
- A claim of persecution, which is essentially an application for asylum
- A claim of extreme hardship that alien’s US citizen spouse or US citizen children would suffer if alien is to return to his home country
- Conrad Program: this type if waiver applies only to foreign medical graduates who came to the US for graduate medical training or education.