The U.S. has some of the world’s top colleges and universities, so it is not surprising that each year thousands of people come to the U.S. to study. Student visas are available to help immigrants live and study in the U.S. However, it is important for student visa holders to realize that it is very important to maintain student immigration status while studying in the U.S. Failure to maintain US immigration status can result in deportation and other problems. In order to maintain immigration status, it is important that students:
- Sign up with the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) and keep their information up to date. All non-immigrant students are in the SEVIS computer database and the program allows the US to keep track of students in the US. You can ensure that your information is in SEVIS and is kept up to date by speaking with your exchange visitor or school officials about SEVIS.
- Enrol will your school by the date you are required to enroll. You must enroll and register for your classes or courses as you specified you would on your application. Changing your status from full-time to part time, failing to register correctly, or even changing your major or school can affect your student immigration status. Follow the rules of your school and if you do decide to make a major change (such as changing your school) speak with immigration experts at your school before you do so to see how you can maintain your status.
- Taking on work if your student visa does not permit it. Any illegal work you take on in the US can affect your immigration status. If you are found to be working without correct authorization, you will likely be required to leave the U.S. and interrupt your studies. You may have difficulty getting permission to re-enter the U.S. as well. If you need financial aid during your studies, speak with the designated official at your school about financial aid, bursaries, or the option of changing your immigration status so that you can work.
- Overstaying your visa. Your student visa allows you to remain in the US while pursuing your studies and gives you a specific date by which you must leave the US. You must leave the U.S. by this date or risk violating your visa requirements.
- Violating any visa terms or requirements. Every student visa has its specific requirements. It is your responsibility to review these requirements and to follow them carefully. Any violation can result in you having to leave the US and even facing legal problems.