How does US immigration law handle student visas?

Buying books, purchasing supplies and finding the perfect decorations for a dorm room are all part of the college experience, but international students have a bit more on their plate. Students from other countries who wish to study at a Louisiana university or educational institution must first acquire a nonimmigrant student visa. U.S. immigration law requires applicants to meet three criteria to qualify for these types of visas. 

Although student visas are most closely associated with college students, individuals seeking vocational or other nonacademic studies may also qualify. First and perhaps most importantly, students must first be accepted as full-time students at a U.S. vocational, educational or language-training program. The institution must also be considered valid by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Acceptance alone is not enough to secure the necessary visa. Applicants must have also completed the required or expected prerequisites for their course of study. In many cases, students are expected to demonstrate a basic comprehension and usage of English. Students headed for English training-language programs, those who will study in their native tongue or individuals with special arrangements to study English may be granted exceptions. 

One of the biggest barriers to overcome is proving that a student has the financial resources to pay for school and living expenses. College students are required to show that they either have the necessary funds or that those funds will be available to them in the future, such as through scholarships or grant programs. Vocational or nonacademic students must have sufficient financial resources to cover these costs up front, and cannot rely on proof of available funds in the future. 

According to U.S. immigration law, these visas are only temporary and intended for international students who plan to return to their home countries after graduation. Although it may not seem important, applicants must make their intentions to head back to their home lands clear or run the risk of rejection. Students who hope to study at one of Louisiana’s educational institutions may want to consider the benefits of having an experienced attorney review their application before submitting.