Articles Posted in Student Visas

Welcome back to the Immigration Lawyer Blog, where we discuss all things immigration. In this video, we will give you our top 10 tips on how to successfully obtain an F-1 student visa or J-1 Trainee visa.

Overview: 

There are generally two ways to apply for a U.S. Visa. If you are residing lawfully in the United States on a nonimmigrant visa classification (such as a tourist visa) you may apply for a change of status by filing Form I-539 Application to Change Nonimmigrant Status with USCIS. If you are residing abroad however you must apply for your visa at a U.S. Consulate near you.

Regardless of your application method, there are several important tips that can help you successfully obtain your F-1 or J-1 visa.

  1. Proof of Strong Ties to your home country

One of the most important aspects of the application is providing documentary evidence that your stay in the United States will only be of a temporary nature and that you will depart the United States at the end of your student visa or trainee program. To show that you intend to remain in the United States only temporarily, you must provide proof that you have obligations/ties to your home country that require your eventual return.

What types of evidence can be provided to fulfill this requirement?

There are a variety of different types of evidence that can be provided to show strong proof of ties home. The most common types of evidence include proof of residence abroad, proof of employment abroad or a future job offer that will require you to return to your home country, enrollment in an academic program to be attended in the future, military obligations abroad, property ownership abroad, business operations or business ownership abroad, evidence of familial obligations, etc.

  1. Financial Ability

All non-immigrant visa applicants must show that they have the financial ability to support their stay during the duration of their student or trainee program. This can be shown by providing your most recent bank account statements to prove that you have sufficient capital to support your stay.

Alternatively, applicants may provide proof of sponsorship. For purposes of sponsorship, the applicant must have a friend or relative who meets the income requirements sign Form I-134 Affidavit of Support. The sponsor must sign a statement that they will be financially responsible for the applicant’s expenses throughout the duration of their stay in the U.S., and the sponsor must also provide supporting financial documentation showing their ability to sponsor the applicant.

  1. Knowledge of the English Language

In order to obtain a F-1 or J-1 visa, you must demonstrate at your consular interview that you have at least a basic command of the English language to be able to effectively participate in your student visa or trainee visa program.

Please note: You will need to be able to speak for yourself at the time of your interview. You will not be allowed to bring a parent, relative, or anyone else to speak for you at your interview.

  1. Explain how your program of study will relate to your future career in your home country

At the time of your interview you must be prepared to explain to the consular officer how your chosen program of study or training relates to your future career in your home country. For example, if you have chosen to study hospitality management in the United States, you may wish to explain to the officer that you plan to work in the hospitality industry in your home country, and your US degree in hospitality management will help you be an attractive candidate for employers in your home country.

This will increase your chances of success at the time of your interview.

  1. Be clear and concise

Remember that you only have a limited amount of time to speak to the consular officer and show that you qualify for the visa. All of your answers to the officer must be clear and concise. Answer exactly what the officer is asking, nothing less nothing more.

  1. Supplementary documents

Do not bring voluminous documents to your interview. Be organized and bring only documents that are necessary for your interview.

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In this live stream, attorneys Jacob Sapochnick and Marie Puertollano discuss recent topics in immigration including the new USCIS policy giving immigration officers ample discretion to deny an application or petition filed with USCIS without first issuing a RFE or NOID, suspension of premium processing, fraudulent H-1B schemes, and more.

Overview:

RFE/NOID Policy

Beginning September 11, if you do not provide sufficient evidence to establish that you are eligible for the immigration benefit you are requesting, USCIS may exercise their discretion and deny your petition without first issuing a request for evidence or RFE. This new policy applies to all applications and petitions filed after September 11th, with the exception of DACA renewal applications.  The decision to deny your application or petition without issuing a RFE or NOID will ultimately be up to the discretion of the officer reviewing your petition. An officer may in his discretion continue to issue a RFE or NOID according to his best judgement.

If you are filing for a change of status or extension of your status, we recommend that you file early, so that you are not out of status in the case that USCIS denies your request for an immigration benefit. This will give you the opportunity to either re-file or to consider changing your status to another visa type. In addition, if you have the ability to apply for premium processing service, you should take advantage of that service.

Suspension of Premium Processing

At the moment premium processing services have been temporary suspended for cap-subject petitions until February 19, 2019, with the exception of cap-exempt petitions filed exclusively at the California Service Center, because the employer is cap-exempt or because the beneficiary will be employed at a qualifying cap exempt institution.

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In this video we cover a new USCIS policy that can have devastating consequences on students who overstay their duration of stay in the United States, or otherwise violate their status. This new policy will change the way F-1, J-1, and M students, accrue unlawful presence in the United States, for visa holders have violated the terms of their visa by not attending school or engaging in unauthorized employment.

Background

In the year 1996 Congress passed legislation that previously governed how an individual on a non-immigrant visa type such as an F-1 visa, could accrue unlawful presence. Pursuant to this legislation, visa holders who overstayed for more than 180 days, could be subject to a 3-year bar, while visa holders who overstayed for more than one year, could be subject to a 10-year bar.

Typically, individuals who travel to the United States on a non-immigrant visa type receive an I-94 arrival/departure record and a stamp in their passport indicating the length of their authorized stay in the United States. Failure to abide by the duration of stay results in an immigration violation of the terms and conditions of a non-immigrant visa type.

F, J, and M students are unique in that these individuals do not receive a definitive length of stay within the United States, and instead are issued an I-20 (for F students) or DS-2019 (for J students) that denotes their authorized stay as “D/S” or “Duration of Stay,” meaning that the individual’s stay within the United States is not confined by any particular date, but instead depends upon the conclusion of that individual’s program of study or authorized employment.

While students on an F-1 visa type could violate their status by failing to go to school, they could not accrue unlawful presence within the United States because of the D/S designation. This class of individuals could only accrue unlawful status at the time of being apprehension by an immigration official or by court judgment.

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In this video, we touch on a very common question: what are the possibilities of changing your status after a visa overstay?

If a person comes to the United States on a visa, whether it is a tourist visa or a student visa, there is a duration of stay that is attached to the visa. To determine the amount of time you are allowed to remain in the United States you must obtain your I-94 arrival/departure record from the CBP website.

If you entered the United States on a tourist visa you can typically stay for up to six months, and you can extend your stay for another six months. During your initial authorized stay, you may change your status to another category such as a student or investor visa. Once you have overstayed and essentially lost your legal status, it is very difficult to change to another legal status.

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Live outside our office building with a few fun facts you should know….

Posted by San Diego Immigration Lawyer, Jacob J. Sapochnick on Sunday, August 23, 2015

In this video Attorney Jacob J. Sapochnick takes you on a tour of our law office located at 1502 Sixth Avenue in sunny San Diego, California on the corner of Beech Street and Sixth Avenue. Come and visit us today. We offer free first time consultations to meet your immigration needs.

For more information on the services we provide please click here.

To read our client testimonials please click here.

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It is our pleasure to introduce you to our in-house attorney Marie Puertollano. From preparing clients for their citizenship and marriage interviews to successfully filing I-601A waivers and I-360 applications, Marie Puertollano Esq. is an attorney that wears many hats.

Marie Puertollano specializes in processing various types of applications with USCIS including the successful processing of H1-B’s, I-751 waivers, religious worker visas, asylum, I-601A waivers, F-1 reinstatement, B-2 tourist visitors, B-1 business visitors, H-3 trainees, I-360 abused spouses, etc.

Bio: Marie Puertollano was born and raised in France. She earned two Master Degrees in Law at California Western School of Law; one in France in Public Law and one in the United States in Comparative Law (LL.M). Marie Puertollano is fluent in French, English and Spanish. Marie has been with the law offices of Jacob Sapochnick since March 2012.

Marie developed a passion for the protection of immigrants’ rights, while being a social worker in Gainesville, GA. Marie worked with an organization helping battered women to obtain their visa and for an organization helping detained and non-detained people seeking cancellation of removal proceedings.

In her spare time she enjoys spending time with her family, swimming, biking, and dancing. She regularly serves food to the homeless and is a motivational speaker.

To schedule a first time consultation please contact our office. Remember to follow us on FacebookYoutubeTwitter, and Instagram 

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In this video, attorney Jacob J. Sapochnick discusses job search tips for foreign workers. This video will teach you how to find a job in the United States as a foreign national, how to present yourself to employers as a foreign national, and what to do and what not to do as a foreign national seeking employment opportunities in the United States.

Overview:

This is an issue that many of our clients and foreign job seekers are facing. Many people come to me asking for my help to get them a visa but the problem is that they have not secured a job in the United States. Many people realize that this is kind of like a Catch 22. If you are a foreign worker without a work visa you are not able to get a job. So if you don’t have a work visa how are you able to find a job?

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In this video, attorney Jacob J. Sapochnick Esq., explains the F-1 student visa application process by examining a successful student visa case. For more information about the F-1 student visa please click here. For a free first consultation please contact our office.

Overview:

A student visa is a good option for foreign nationals who wish to enroll in a short course of study that is more than 18 hours per week. The F-1 visa is a temporary visa that allows a foreign national to pursue their academic studies and/or enroll in a language training program. First time student visa applicants must attend an in-person interview at a U.S. consulate abroad if they are living outside of the United States. Please note that each U.S. embassy and consulate has its own interview procedures for student visas. Please visit the website of the U.S. embassy or consulate near you for more information.

Requirements for a student visa

To qualify, an alien must meet the following requirements:

  • The student must be enrolled in an academic education program, not a vocational-type program;
  • Educational institution must be approved by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS);
  • The student must be enrolled as a full-time student at the institution;
  • The student must be proficient in English or be enrolled in courses leading to English proficiency;
  • The student must have sufficient funds available for self-support during the entire proposed course of study; and
  • The student must maintain a residence abroad which he/she has no intention of giving up
  • The student must demonstrate that they have legitimate obligations to return to their home country by providing sufficient proof of ties home such as a letter of future employment, proof of assets, proof of insurance payments, etc.

For more information about this program, please contact our office. 

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In this segment, attorney Jacob J. Sapochnick discusses the H-1B visa and gives you insider tips on how to file the perfect H-1B visa package. To learn more about the H-1B visa click here. To read our H-1B visa guide please click here.

Overview: 

  • The H-1B nonimmigrant visa petition may be filed starting April 1, 2016;
  • The Labor Condition Application (LCA) can be submitted to the Department of Labor no earlier than six months. Due to this you must include a starting date on the LCA that comes before October 1st, 2016;
  • Regarding US degrees, one must submit proof by way of an official of the school: dean, registrar, etc.;
  • There are regulations that extend the authorized stay of all F-1 students under the Cap Gap exemption;
  • Be very clear with the attorney working on your case as to the kind of position that you will be applying for.

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In this segment, attorney Jacob J. Sapochnick discusses new changes applying to OPT STEM extensions.

The new changes include:

– The new STEM OPT proposal will provide for an extension of OPT optional practical training replacing the 2008 proposal.

– The proposal will increase OPT STEM extensions from 17 months to 24 months.

– This will require employers to implement formal mentoring and training programs.

– In addition, the proposal aims to safeguard the rights of US workers in related fields.

– Students must report to DHS for any changes in their name, address, and employers.

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