Ditching School on an F1 Visa

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What’s one way to really make USCIS mad?

Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the United States out of our office here in St. Louis, Missouri. I have come across this scenario more times than I can count. So I thought I’d make a video to explain to you what we’ve been seeing and why it really is a bad idea.

So if you’ve been watching my videos, you know the difference between non-immigrant visas and immigrant visas. So non-immigrant visa is a visa where you tell the Federal Government, the State Department, that you’re going to come to the United States for a fixed period of time and that you’re going to leave at the end of your time here.

And so, for instance, a B-1, B-2 visit visa, you’re promising that you’ll come; and then after six months, you’ll go back home.

If you’re on an F-1, you’re promising that you’re coming to attend a university or institution of higher learning, and that at the end of your studies, you’ll go back home.

Well, what we’ve been seeing lately are situations where people come to the United States on an F-1 non-immigrant visa, and they either go to school for a couple days or they never enroll. They just use the F-1 as a ticket into the United States. And then they hang out for a couple years, and then they marry U.S. Citizen and try to get a Green Card based on that.

So I’ve had conversations with immigration officers about what the indications or the signs of fraud are. And one of the things that’s hot on their radar is when people come on a non-immigrant visa, usually a B-1, B-2 visit visa, and then marry U.S. citizen.

That’s sort of definitely something that they’re going to inquire into because they wonder, well, did the person really intend to leave at the end of the six months?

Did they really intend to come and go home or were they really just coming to try to find a wife or a husband so that they could stay here?

And this is what I wanted to make the video about. In the F-1 context, what we’ve been seeing are people who apply for adjustment of status after coming on an F-1 student visa and not really going to school at all. And, of course, when you apply for an F-1, and you have to show that you have the financial wherewithal, the financial capability, to pay for your education and to support yourself while you’re going to school.

And I have these clients or potential clients who call me and they say, “Jim, once I got here, I didn’t have any money.” And I’m, like, “What? You didn’t have any money? You swore to the Federal Government that you had enough money to support you.”

So this idea of coming to the United States on an F-1 visa, enrolling at a university, getting that I-20 so that you can get admitted into the United States, and then never going, don’t do that. It’s a really bad idea. It really screws up your case. It really makes them look harshly at any marriage-based adjustment cases that you file.

So I’m here to encourage you to not do that.

Don’t apply for an F-1 or a J-1 or an M-1 or any kind of student visa if you don’t have the resources to support yourself.

And, of course, when you’re on an F-1, you can only work 20 hours a week on campus, so you can’t be working. And so I know that people really want to come to America, but you’ve got to do it the right way.

So don’t try this maneuver. It’s a stupid maneuver. It almost always blows up in your face, and I strongly encourage you not to do it.

If you have questions about adjusting status or about coming to the United States, give us a call at 314-961-8200. You can email us at info@hackinglawpractice.com. Be sure to join us in our Facebook group, which is called Immigrant Home. And if you like this video, we ask that you please share it out on social so that you get updates whenever we make videos just like this one. Thanks a lot. Have a great day.

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