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Los Angeles Student Visa Lawyer

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Many foreign nationals come to the United States (U.S.) to further their education through a university or exchange program. After they receive an acceptance letter, the next step involves making an application for a student visa.

To acquire a student visa, they must obtain government authorization from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). However, the immigration process can be pretty challenging when deciding the type of visa you need for your academic program.

At the Law Offices of Christopher Chaney, our student visa lawyers provide proper preparation and comprehensive assistance to enable individuals to secure a student visa.

Individuals who applied for a student visa but had their application denied do not have to panic. Our immigration lawyers thoroughly understand U.S. immigration laws and can navigate the complexities of student visa applications.

Working with an experienced immigration lawyer will make the visa application process more effortless for you, and we can help you in the following ways:

  • Advise you about the eligibility requirements for the different student visas
  • Help you correctly fill out your visa application forms
  • Visit the embassy or consulate on your behalf
  • Assist you in assembling the documents required with Form I-20
  • Inform you of current immigration laws to avoid immigration issues
  • Assist you in understanding the legal languages in your visa application
  • Prepare you for your visa interview
  • Help you submit a waiver request if your initial visa application is rejected
  • Help you secure an additional visitor visa if necessary

Which Student Visas Are Available to Foreign Nationals?

The type of school the individual plans to attend and their course of study will determine the type of visa they need.

F-1 and M-1 visas are available to individuals coming to study full-time at an academic or non-academic institution, enter language training programs, or enter vocational school. The place of study must be a school approved by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP).

Individuals may also apply for a J-1 visa to come to the U.S. for a study exchange program. Foreign nationals should begin the student visa process early to avoid unforeseen delays that may adversely affect their study plans.

The USCIS will issue a student visa 120 days or less before the school registration date. Further, individuals with a student visa may only enter the U.S. thirty days before their course of study begins. If they intend to arrive in the U.S. earlier, they must apply for a separate visitor visa with the USCIS.

Requirements for a Student Visa Application

International students applying for a student visa have to meet the following requirements:

  • The selected program must be an accredited academic educational program, a language-training program, or a vocational program.
  • The school must be certified by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) as well as the USCIS.
  • They must be enrolled as a full-time student at the institution.
  • They must be able to demonstrate proficiency in the English language or be enrolled in a program to reach that proficiency.
  • They must show they have the necessary funds to support themselves during their studies.
  • They must maintain their residence abroad during the duration of their study.

Students must obtain Form I-20 (Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status) from the approved educational institution. Form I-20 serves as evidence to the USCIS that the student has been admitted to a full-time study program and has sufficient financial resources to support their stay in the U.S.

Steps in Applying for a Student Visa

  • Decide on where you want to go to school.
  • Check that the school is approved by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) using the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) online.
  • Get an acceptance letter from the SEVP-certified school or university.
  • Register for SEVIS and pay the SEVIS fee.
  • Fill out Form DS-160 (Nonimmigrant Visa Application) and attach all required documents.
  • Pay the visa application fee.
  • Print the application form confirmation page and bring it to your student visa interview.
  • Upload your photograph online according to the USCIS photograph requirements.
  • Schedule an interview at the nearest embassy or consulate in your home country.
  • Submit the student visa application.
  • Receive a decision on your application at the interview.

What Documents Are Required When Applying for a Student Visa?

Student visa applicants will need to obtain the following supporting documentation before their student visa interview:

  • A valid passport (valid for at least six months after you arrive in the U.S.)
  • Two recent photographs of yourself (according to the USCIS requirements)
  • Form DS-160 confirmation page
  • The student visa application receipt
  • SEVIS fee receipt
  • Certificate of Eligibility for nonimmigrant students (Form I-20)
  • Evidence of sufficient financial resources to support your educational, living, and travel expenses
  • Proof of your intention to depart the U.S. after completing your study
  • Transcripts or certificates from schools you attended (if required)

How Much Does a Student Visa Cost?

The required fees for filing a student visa application include the following:

  • Application fee – $160
  • SEVIS fee – $350 (for nonimmigrant students with Form I-20)
  • SEVIS fee – $220 (for exchange visitors with Form DS-2019)

Applicants participating in a U.S. Government-sponsored program do not have to pay the SEVIS fee.

The Student Visa Interview

The student visa interview will occur at a U.S. embassy or consulate near you. An immigration officer will question you on various topics depending on your chosen program.

After the interview, the immigration officer will decide on your application. However, your application may undergo further administrative processing outside the standard visa processing times.

Experienced Immigration Lawyer in Los Angeles

Knowledge is power in immigration law, and it is easy to violate your immigration status without knowing. For example, International students who have stopped attending school because they were charged with a crime and placed in removal proceedings will need an immigration attorney. Further, if you have found a U.S. employer willing to sponsor your employment after completing your study, a qualified immigration lawyer can help change your status from a student visa to an employment immigration visa.

If you’re a student planning to study in Los Angeles, obtaining a student visa can be a complicated and time-consuming process. To ensure that you have the best chance of success, it’s essential that you hire an experienced immigration lawyer in LA.

A skilled attorney can guide you through the process, help you prepare your application, and provide valuable advice on how to address any issues or obstacles that may arise. Don’t risk your academic future by going it alone – consult with an immigration lawyer today to ensure your success.

Immigration attorneys from the Law Offices of Christopher Chaney are dedicated to helping our clients avoid common mistakes that could affect their student visas or stay. Contact us today.

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Regardless of your circumstance, you are not alone in your fight. We are ready to stand by your side and fight for your rights, freedom, and reputation. Contact us today to schedule a free remote or in-person consultation, and let us assist you in finding a solution to your problem.