Chicago Student Visas Lawyer

Working to Help Our Clients Further Their Education in America

While there may be significant debate over the cost of education in America, there’s no denying that it offers some of the best options for university learning. For those hoping to one day establish permanent residency in the country, it also provides an opportunity to build network connections and establish a life in the United States. However, the immigrant visa application process can be challenging. This is why many people hoping for an American education work with a Chicago student visa lawyer.

At Gilliam Law, our experienced legal team works exclusively in immigration law. We help individuals find the right path to legal American residency, and for many, taking a course of study is an ideal approach. It’s even possible that a student visa could open the door to becoming an American citizen. However, this entire process starts with a commitment to higher education. Contact our law firm today to learn how a Chicago student visa attorney can help.

How Do Student Visas Work in America?

The immigration process for a potential student in America involves applying to an approved school, being accepted, receiving Form I-20, submitting Form DS-160, and attending a visa interview. This process can be complicated, but approved students will be issued a visa once it’s complete. This allows them to request permission to enter at a United States port of entry. The Form I-20 specifies the length of the education program, and students are typically expected to leave within 60 days of this end date.

Eligible students will receive either an M visa or an F visa. These distinctions signify the type of program the student is attending at an accredited university. These visas are meant for individuals who are seeking diplomas or certificates by taking credit-hour courses. Anyone who’s undertaking short-term, recreational, non-credit courses may be better suited to apply for a visitor visa (i.e., B visa). A Chicago student visa attorney can help you better understand your options if you have questions.

How Do You Apply for an American Student Visa?

Individuals hoping to receive a student visa must first apply to an academic or recognized nonacademic institution. These are colleges approved by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP). Once the school accepts an applicant’s enrollment, the student is registered for the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). They’ll need to pay the SEVIS fee and then receive Form I-20. At that point, the student can apply for a visa at an American embassy or consulate.

This will require completing and printing an online application (Form DS-160), scheduling an interview, and bringing all supporting documentation (e.g., Certificate of Eligibility, DS-160, passport, etc.) to the interview. Additional documentation may be requested — such as transcripts, standardized test scores, and proof of your ability to pay for on- or off-campus housing and other expenses.

It’s important to note that students cannot travel on the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). This program allows citizens of the United Kingdom, Germany, Israel, Italy, France, and dozens of other countries to travel to America for 90 days without a visa. Even if you plan on studying for just a semester that’s less than 90 days, doing so on the VWP is not allowed. A Chicago student visa lawyer can review your situation and ensure you’re fully prepared and understand the process. Contact Gilliam Law today.

Can You Extend Your Stay on a Student Visa?

Whether you’re entering a language training program or going after your master’s degree, there’s always the chance that something unexpected will occur. Perhaps you were unable to finish your course of study in time, or maybe you decided to change majors and thus needed more schooling. Regardless of the specific circumstances of your situation, it may be possible for an international student to extend their stay in America.

This will require the submission of an application on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website. This is necessary to maintain your status and keep your U.S. student visa in good standing. Failure to extend your visa when you plan on staying can lead to severe consequences. Such consequences can include ineligibility to enter the country in the future.

Do not risk such an outcome. If you need to make your temporary stay a bit longer, reach out to a Chicago student visa lawyer today for assistance.

Can a Student Visa Lead to a Green Card?

In many situations, foreign students are being honest when they tell a consular officer they plan to return to their home country after graduating. However, there are many cases where this expectation changes. A person could fall in love with America during their time here, or perhaps they were offered a great job through their university network. Regardless of the unique circumstances of your situation, it may be possible to get a green card with a student visa.

It’s typically advisable to speak with an immigration attorney before undertaking this process. Requesting a change in nonimmigrant status can be complex, but a legal professional can help you understand and guide you on the path forward. Requirements for a change of status will vary based on the reasoning for your request (e.g., marriage vs employment, etc.), but your lawyer can help you gather appropriate documentation.

Contact a Chicago Student Visa Lawyer Today

Whether you’re in an exchange program or want to attend school in a more traditional manner, obtaining a student visa is a necessary step. Beginning an educational program without eligibility approval can lead to adverse consequences, including removal from the country. Fortunately, staying off the radar of Immigration and Customs Enforcement doesn’t have to be difficult. With the help of an experienced attorney, you can seek proper approval to study in America.

At Gilliam Law, we enjoy seeing students graduate and excel after being enrolled in college with our help. While some people handle the process on their own without an immigration lawyer, it’s important to remember that the system is sometimes complicated. Even a simple error when filling out the appropriate paperwork or completing other requirements can result in your nonimmigrant visa application being denied.

Our Chicago student visa lawyer can help avoid this outcome. Contact us today at (866) 511-3422 to schedule your Free Case Evaluation.

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