Whether you are part of a student exchange program or studying full-time at an American academic or vocational school, you will need to obtain a visa before you are allowed to enter the United States. Either way, the application process for the type of visa you will need can be complicated and time-consuming, and even small mistakes or omissions could put your entire educational future at risk.

Fortunately, help is available from an experienced attorney who knows how the USCIS processes student visas and what pitfalls to avoid while pursuing one. A Naperville student visa lawyer could provide the necessary guidance and support to ensure you can maintain legal status in the U.S. during your studies.

Selecting the Right Type of Student Visa

There are three categories of U.S. visas for different types of nonimmigrant students originating from another country. F-1 visas are meant for full-time academic students, M-1 visas are for full-time vocational students, and J-1 visas are for nonimmigrants participating in exchange programs such as short-term scholars and university students.

A student applying for any of the aforementioned visas may apply for his or her spouse and/or children to accompany him or her into the United States on F-2, M-2, or J-2 visas. Specialized F-3 and M-3 visas are also available for Canadian and Mexican nationals who are commuter students at academic or vocational institutions. A Naperville attorney could offer further clarification about what type of student visas may be appropriate for a particular applicant and his or her loved ones.

Using SEVIS and Managing an Application

The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) is part of the National Security Investigations Division of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and is responsible for managing F and M visas as well as supervising the schools and individuals who use those visas. J visas and affiliated exchange programs fall within the jurisdiction of the Department of State. Both entities use the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System to track student records, screen visa applicants, and process applications.

The specific steps required to apply for an F, M, or J visa will vary depending on the circumstances, as well as on the particular U.S. Embassy or Consulate through which the applicant files his or her petition. In general, though, applicants must fill out Form DS-160, Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application, submit it along with a current photograph of themselves, and participate in a visa interview at their local U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

Applicants must bring numerous documents to their interview, including a valid passport, a copy of their Form DS-160 confirmation page, $160 USD for application fees or a receipt showing prior payment, and Form DS-2019, Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status. This last form is auto-generated by SEVIS once an applicant’s sponsor enters his or her information into that system and should be provided to the applicant by that sponsor. A student visa lawyer in Naperville could provide crucial assistance collecting these forms of documentation and ensuring the interview process goes smoothly, as well as with renewing F or M visas as needed.

Contact an Experienced  Naperville Student Visa Attorney for Assistance

While foreign nationals from certain countries do not need a visa to visit the United States temporarily for business or tourism, everyone who intends to study here for any period of time will need a student visa. Since your opportunity to further your education may depend on your ability to get this kind of visa, you should seek help from a skilled legal professional if you have any questions or concerns about the criteria.

A seasoned Naperville student visa lawyer could help you achieve a positive outcome in your case effectively. Get in touch today to learn more.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Receive updates on immigration law changes that can affect you