How to Maintain Your Legal Status When Studying in the United States
Being approved for a visa to study in the U.S is just the first step of the process. Once you are actually in the country studying, you will need to make sure that you follow specific rules and regulations to stay on the right side of the law.
The San José immigration attorneys at law firm Graham Adair say that full-time attendance at school and avoiding non-authorized work are two of the most important ways of doing this. They also say that international students are required to report any changes to their circumstances immediately. But there are other things that students need to be aware of too. The following are a few examples:
Renewing Your Visa
It is crucial to be aware of the date on your student visa. Visas are typically valid for a certain amount of time so if you are continuing to study longer than this date, you will likely need to renew the visa.
If you do need to renew the visa, the process will be similar to when you made your original application. This means that you will need to complete a new form, pay the appropriate fees, and likely attend an interview again.
Leaving the Country
As an international student, you are not required to stay in the U.S. until completing your studies, but there may be rules that need to be adhered to should you wish to leave but then return. For example, if you plan to travel outside the country, you will generally require your school’s international student office to provide you with a valid travel signature.
Working in the United States
In most cases, international students are not permitted to work while studying in the country. Nevertheless, there are exceptions when it comes to practical training and internships, and there may be the opportunity to work on-campus. It is important though that you check all the rules and regulations before accepting any offer of employment.
Some Common Mistakes to Avoid
A student visa is a fantastic way to access the excellent U.S. education system. For many students, the opportunity to live and learn here is great. Unfortunately, some students find that their time in the U.S. is short-lived because of simple mistakes that could have been easily avoided. To that end, here are a few examples of what not to do:
- Not maintaining legal status: It is particularly important to comply with all the rules and regulations associated with your visa category as this will ensure that you avoid legal issues while maintaining your eligibility for future visas.
- Working off-campus: Unauthorized off-campus work can lead to severe legal and financial consequences that may put any future immigration options at risk.
- Not having appropriate documentation or authorization when traveling: If you don’t have a valid visa, passport, or travel signature, then you may be denied return entry or face other problems.
- Overstaying your visa: If you stay past the expiration date of the visa, you might become subject to penalties, fines, or even deportation. Furthermore, it could mean that you are denied a visa in the future.
- Not reporting changes to your information: If you fail to report changes to your personal information or academic program, you could face legal consequences.
To conclude then, navigating immigration law as an international student can be a challenge with many struggling to comprehend what is required of them. Nevertheless, understanding the basics of U.S. immigration law will help to keep you on the right track. If you are struggling to understand or don’t know how to maintain your legal status, it is best to consult with a professional immigration attorney.