VIDEO: What visas are available for international students who want to attend university in the US?

What visas is available for students who want to come to the United States and study?  Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, I’m an immigration attorney here in St. Louis, Missouri.

We get contacted from time to time by international students who want to come to the US and continue their education at an institution of higher learning like a university or college.  A lot of times, they have questions about the process and it’s relatively straightforward so we’d thought we’d make this short video, which will explain it to you.

First thing you need to know as an international student is you have to have the academic credentials that would warrant your admission into the university or college.  You can’t just pick a school and say, “That’s where I’m going” and then go get your student visa.

The school’s involved in the whole process and there’s steps along the way where you need their assistance.  You have to make sure they’re aware that you’re an international student and that you do everything possible to get your paperwork squared away.

While you’re here in student status, you’re not going to be able to work full-time.  You might be able to work part-time at an approved part of the university or off-site campus approved facility.  You can work up to 20 hours.  You’ll be given a visa that’s in effect for the duration of your status, that is as long as you maintain your academic credentials, keep your grades up, take the right number of hours, you’re going to be able to stay in valid student status.

That’s really important because if you fall out of status than you start accruing unlawful presence and that can cause you problems later on down the line if you try to adjust your status or get an employment visa or something like that.

At each university, there’s someone called a designated school official or a DSO and you’re going to work with the DSO to maintain your I20, which are the forms that show that the university has accepted you, that you’re properly enrolled and you maintain those I20 throughout your stay in student status.

If you have a spouse or children, they can come too on your student visa.  They can not work at all and you need to keep that in mind because one of the things you’re going to have to show in order to get the visa is that you have the financial wherewithal to pay for yourself and to pay for education while you’re here.

Those are a lot of things that you need to know about the student visa.  If you have any questions about transferring from some other visa status into student status or transferring out of student status into an employment status, we’d be happy to help you out.  Give us a call, 314-961-8200 or you can always shoot me an email, jim@hackinglawpractice.com.  Thanks.