The United States has some of the best colleges and universities in the world. The University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), Stanford University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and the Ivy League institutions on the East Coast all draw students and academics from around the world with their ample educational and research opportunities.
But for an individual from outside the United States to study at one of these institutions or any other college or university in the United States, he or she must obtain the proper student or academic visa to do so. Visas are the documents that permit individuals to enter and remain in countries where they are not citizens. Having the wrong visa or allowing your visa to expire can cause you to be deported from the United States. Work with an experienced immigration lawyer to obtain the correct visa for your circumstance and to handle any legal issues related to your visa that you face during your time in the United States.
An F-1 visa is a visa for students who come to the United States to study at the secondary or post-secondary level. This type of visa remains valid for as long as it takes the student to complete his or her diploma or degree.
To qualify for an F-1 visa, the student must be enrolled in his or her course of study full-time and the school he or she attends must be approved by United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement in compliance with the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS).
Students who are interested in completing in non-academic education programs such as language programs, mechanical or technical studies, and culinary programs can come to the United States using an M-1 visa. This type of visa is valid for one year. However, students can extend this type of visa for up to three years if they need this amount of time to complete their coursework.
Professors, research scholars, and primary and secondary school teachers may come to the United States using a J-1 visa. This type of visa exists to promote the exchange of ideas, promote collaboration between academics, and share findings across national borders. This type of visa is also known as a Temporary Exchange Visitor Visa.
Individuals who are in the United States on a J-1 visa to teach or conduct research may remain in the United States for up to five years and 30 days.
International medical graduate students may also enter the United States using J-1 visas. Individuals in this group are permitted to remain in the country for up to seven years, with an additional 30 days to prepare to leave the United States at the end of this term. Individuals who cannot complete their medical training programs in seven years may receive visa extensions under certain circumstances.
Individuals who intern at American companies based in the United States may also use a J-1 visa to enter and remain in the country. For an intern, a J-1 visa is valid for up to one year. An intern must be enrolled in a university-level degree program in his or her home country during the internship or complete the internship within one year of his or her graduation.
B-1 and B-2 Visas
This final category of visa is meant for individuals who come to the United States for very short periods. Although this is not usually the type of visa sought by a prospective student or scholar, it can sometimes be the right choice. This type of visa is often sought by individuals who come to the United States to participate in a short, non-academic course such as a conversational language class or those who come to the country to attend an academic conference or convention. A B-1 or B-2 visa is not meant for individuals who plan to earn college credit while in the United States.
Work with a Los Angeles Immigration Attorney
There are many opportunities for students and academics in the United States. Take advantage of these opportunities by studying or researching at one of our esteemed institutions. But to do this, you will need the correct type of visa for your purposes here. Work with Los Angeles student visa lawyer Joshua L. Goldstein to obtain the correct visa and avoid facing legal troubles that can result in you being deported during your time here. Contact our firm today to schedule your initial legal consultation.