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Lancaster County Student Visa Lawyers

Are you a foreign student at a U.S. university with questions about your status and your options for remaining in the country in the future? Do you need to renew your F-1 Visa or apply for a work permit? If so, contact our skilled Lancaster County student visa lawyers for a free consultation, and let us address your questions and concerns so you can get on with your studies without anxiety about your status.

Student Visa Lawyers | Here for International Students in the U.S.

If you’re seeking an education here in the United States, you can turn to our dedicated Lancaster immigration lawyers to help you through the process of obtaining or renewing your student visa, as well as getting a work permit during your stay.

Types of Student Visas

The United States offers several types of student visas to accommodate the varied educational needs of international students. They are as follows:

  • F-1 Visa: This is the most common type of student visa. If you’re planning to engage in academic studies in the United States at an accredited college, university, private secondary school, or approved English language program, you will need an F-1 visa. You must be enrolled as a full-time student, and your course of study must culminate in a degree, diploma, or certificate. Your school must also be authorized by the U.S. government to accept international students.
  • J-1 Visa: The J-1 Visa is for students who need to obtain practical training that is not available in their home country to complete their academic program. This visa is typically used by students participating in exchange programs, including high school and university study.
  • M-1 Visa: If your studies are vocational or technical, you’ll need an M-1 visa. M-1 visa holders are not permitted to work during their studies and are expected to leave the U.S. within 30 days after completing their vocational program, unless they apply for and are granted a change of status.

Obtaining a Student Visa

The process of obtaining a student visa is relatively involved, but a brief outline is as follows:

  1. Be Accepted by a SEVP-Certified School: Before you can apply for a student visa, you must be accepted by a school approved by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP).
  2. Pay the SEVIS Fee: After acceptance, you’ll need to pay the SEVIS I-901 fee to enroll in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS).
  3. Complete a Visa Application: Fill out the Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application (Form DS-160) and print the application form confirmation page to bring to your interview.
  4. Schedule and Prepare for Your Interview: Schedule your visa interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your country. Prepare by gathering required documentation, including your passport, Nonimmigrant Visa Application confirmation page, application fee payment receipt, photo, Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status (Form I-20), and any additional documents that might support your application.
  5. Attend Your Visa Interview: During your interview, a consular officer will determine whether you are qualified to receive a visa to study in the United States.
  6. Pay the Visa Issuance Fee (if applicable): If your visa is approved, you may need to pay a visa issuance fee if it is applicable to your nationality.

Renewing Your Student Visa

If you’re looking to renew your student visa, you’ll need to do the following:

  1. Check Your Visa Expiry Date and Program End Date: Plan to renew your visa well in advance of its expiration if you intend to continue your studies in the U.S.
  2. Follow the Same Application Process: The process for renewing your student visa is similar to the initial application process. Complete the Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application (Form DS-160), schedule an interview (if required), and attend the interview with all necessary documentation.
  3. Show Evidence of Student Status: Bring your current I-20 form and any new I-20 forms issued since your visa was granted, evidence of financial support, and academic transcripts to prove that you are maintaining your student status.
  4. Pay Necessary Fees: Be prepared to pay the SEVIS fee again if you are applying for a new visa and any applicable visa application fees.

Applying for a Work Permit With a Student Visa

To apply for a work permit while residing in the United States on a student visa, you’ll need to take the following steps:

  1. Understand Your Work Eligibility: F-1 students are generally allowed to work on-campus without the need for a work permit. However, off-campus employment requires authorization through Optional Practical Training (OPT) or Curricular Practical Training (CPT).
  2. Apply for OPT or CPT through Your School: To apply for either program, you must request authorization from your school’s International Student Office. They will endorse your request and provide you with a new I-20 form.
  3. Submit Form I-765 for OPT: If applying for OPT, you must also submit Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and pay the required fee. Approval can take several months, so plan accordingly.
  4. Maintain Your Student Status: While working under OPT or CPT, you must continue to maintain your full-time student status and make progress toward your degree.

Contact Our Lancaster County Immigration Attorneys Today

Overall, the process of obtaining a student visa is document-heavy, and, sometimes, complicated, which is why it’s always best to proceed with a competent team of immigration lawyers in your corner. If you have questions about your eligibility for a student visa or need legal assistance in any capacity, please don’t hesitate to contact Lupton Law LLC today.

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