Are you looking to study in the U.S.? Choosing the right visa for your time in the U.S. is important! The F-1 Visa is perfect for most academic programs, and it is by far the most common way to be a foreign student in the U.S. The M-1 Visa is for training for a specific skill or profession. Finally the J-1 Visa has a variety of uses, which also include some students. Please keep reading to find out more!

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Did you get accepted into a university or an advanced degree program in the United States? If so, first of all, congratulations! Secondly, you are going to need a lawful nonimmigrant immigration status in order to stay and study in the U.S., for the duration of your degree or program. Which visa you get, depends entirely on what you are studying in the United States. All student visas are temporary nonimmigrant visas, however you can stay as long as it takes you to get your degree (you may have to apply for an extension); assuming you maintain your eligibility. The first item on your to-do list is to be accepted to an approved school or program. Approved by whom? The Student Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)! They have a list of all approved schools and programs, and to be eligible for a student visa you have to pick one of these schools (click here). You can also apply for visas for any dependents (spouses and minor children under 21) to come with you, although there are work restrictions for spouses. Children can attend public schools.

In general, in order to get and keep a student visa, you must:

Maintain enrollment in an “academic” educational program, a vocational program, or a language training program,

Maintain full-time enrollment as a student at that institution (usually at least 12 credit hours per semester) ,

Be proficient in English or be taking courses that will facilitate English proficiency,

Be able to support yourself financially during your time in the U.S., i.e. pay tuition, buy textbooks and groceries, etc., and

Keep a residence abroad which you intend to return to, maybe your parents’ house for example (the idea is to show you are not trying to immigrate permanently to the U.S.).

 What visa is right for me? Well, it depends on your course of study!

F-1 Visa: This visa is for academic studies or english language programs. This is the most common visa for international students. There are no annual F-1 Visa limits, so if you qualify for the visa, you can get it without having to worry about about a visa quota or lottery. You have to take at least the minimum credit hours required by the program or university, to be considered a full-time student while you are enrolled. You are also allowed to work, generally only on the campus of your school/university, as long as it is fewer than twenty hours per week. Also you cannot come into the U.S. more than thirty days before the start of your program. For more information click here

M-1 Visa: This visa is for non-academic, technical, or vocational schools and programs. For example: welding, electrical installation and maintenance, and carpentry would all be program types that fit in this category. Unfortunately, you cannot work at all with this visa, and when you apply, you have to show that all the funds you will need for the course of the program (tuition, living expenses) are already available to you. For more information click here

J-1 Visa: This visa is not strictly for students, but rather for research scholars, professors, and exchange visitors participating in programs that promote cultural exchange. Therefore, it can include students depending on the specific exchange program. One reason to get a J-1 visa over an F-1 is that you can do a program or internship in the U.S., that may satisfy a degree requirement for your university back in your home country. Or you might be getting your degree in the U.S., but you have a special international scholarship or there is a treaty between the U.S. and your government regarding exchange students. For these students, it makes more sense to get a J-1 visa. All applicants must meet eligibility criteria, english language requirements, and be sponsored either by a University, private sector or government program. A J-1 student status allows for similar employment as the F-1 visa, with similar restrictions, as long as permission is given by the exchange visitor program sponsor. For more information click here

Can you become a student if you’re already in the U.S. for another reason? Yes! There are even some nonimmigrant visas that allow you to study, without filling out more paperwork or applying to USCIS. These visas include:

  • A visa (foreign officials and their family members)
  • E visa (treaty investment, for more information click here)
  • G visa (representative of international organization like OxFam and their families)
  • H visa (employment visa, for more information click here)
  • I visa (foreign press and their family)
  • J visa (research scholars, professors, and exchange visitors and their families)
  • L visa (intracompany transferee, for more information click  here)
  • F and M visas (you do have to apply for a change of status when you switch to post-secondary school, i.e. college or university)

If you are in the U.S. on a nonimmigrant status that is not one of these visa statuses, you can generally still qualify to be a student! You would have to fill out a form I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status. The process can often take between three and six months, which may be longer than leaving the United States and getting a new visa. You should take that timing into consideration, among other factors, when deciding if it is better for you to leave the U.S. to apply for student status, or not. For more information about changing or extending your status, please read our page on Extending or Changing your Nonimmigrant Status, available here.

Immigrating can be complicated and stressful. Please let us help you minimize the stress and increase your chances of success!

Can I leave the country and return on a student visa?

Yes! You should make sure you have all your documents with you (passport and I-20 at least). You will also need a travel endorsement signature. That is a signature from the International Student Affairs staff at your school on the second page of your original I-20 or DS-2019. The signature proves that you are maintaining your status, and this will be checked by an immigration official when you re-enter the U.S. after traveling abroad.

Will I and my dependents have to be interviewed?

You will most certainly need an interview. You will have to go to the embassy or consulate nearest you within 120 days of your program start. In general, anyone coming to the U.S. on any kind of student visa, or student visa dependent, will have to be interviewed if they are between ages 14 and 79. Sometimes those aged 13 and younger, and those aged 80 and older will need to be interviewed only if requested by the embassy/consulate, but that is not the standard practice.

What if my English needs some improvement?

Well it depends on what program you are applying for. If you are applying for an English language intensive program, then that is fine, since the whole point is for a language immersion experience! For a J-1 visa you need enough language skills to participate in whatever program you choose, so it is dependent on the needs of the program. In general, aside from a language intensive program, your english skills should be high enough that you do not struggle in the program. Especially if you are trying to earn a degree!

Can I drive in the U.S.?

Yes you can file H-2A and H-2B visa applications for many different temporary employees at the same time, using one I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker form. However, it is important to note that every worker listed on your form will require the same start and end date of employment. Additionally, it is important to consider that when using one I-129 form for multiple prospective employees, if one of the applications fails, they all fail. Also, even if your employee with the more complicated situation doesn’t result in an overall denial of your I-129, their presence on the I-129 could delay everyone else in getting approved. Thus, if you have a prospective foreign national employee with a slightly more complicated situation than your other prospective employees, you are advised to file a separate petition for the employee with the more complicated situation.

Is there a limit on how many people can get a student visa per year?

There is no numerical limit! You have to meet the various requirements of the visa and your program, but the government does not have a set limit.

Contact Attorney J.Greenberg


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    are likely eligible for, just by answering a few simple questions. After that, our system will allow you to register in our online client portal for free; with the assigned case you’re likely eligible for. You’ll be able to begin working on your case for free, by filling out our easy to understand forms (that become official USCIS forms) automatically, with our software. If you like our system and want to retain us for our Attorney Application Review service, you will be able to sign our representation agreement electronically and make your first payment.

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    consultation with your attorney. Your attorney will then contact you on the date and at the time you select. During the Consultation, your attorney will verify that you are indeed eligible for the case our software assigned, and that it is the best option for you. They will then instruct you on how to properly continue to fill out your assigned Immigration Forms, and about any required or recommended supporting documentation for your case type. Your attorney will also seek to address any questions or concerns you may have, about your individual process and petition

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    your case, and any supporting documentation. Then when you have completed everything, your attorney will check your USCIS forms for accuracy, completeness, adherence to USCIS standards and procedures, and any possible ineligibility/inadmissibility grounds that might come up. Your attorney will tell you how best to address any problems with your petition that they observe, and then you will make the necessary and/or recommended changes. If you elected for the add-on service of having your attorney check your supporting documentation, they will also give you feedback on that. Once you have made the proper changes, you will print your petition, sign where indicated, and then send it off to USCIS in the pre-addressed and pre-paid envelope, we provide. From there, you’ll only have to make sure to respond to any ensuing correspondence or requests from USCIS, should there be any.
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    the case our software pre-selected, and make sure it is actually the best option for you. Your attorney will detail the steps for handling your specific immigration matter, and render you any necessary and pertinent legal advice. Addressing your questions, and requesting any documents and information that you’ll need you to provide (such as birth certificates), will also be priorities of the consultation. If you did not already retain Zontlaw formally, your attorney will send you a price quote (with the $150 dollar consultation fee deducted from the cost of your representation); after the consultation. You can then formally sign and retain us as your attorneys. After you make your first payment, your attorney will proceed to the next step. If you have already retained us, you’ll make your first payment if you haven’t already (the one after the $150 minimum), and your attorney will automatically proceed to the next step.

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    there is supporting documentation that only you as the client have access to (ex: former employer letters), they will tell you exactly what you need to do and provide you with samples, so you can get the correct documentation. Once everything is ready, your attorney will compile your case into a professional legal petition, with a cover letter and a table of contents that will please USCIS and/or the other immigration authorities. They will check everything again, and send it to you to print and sign, via our secure online system. You will print and sign your completed case, and mail it to us in the envelope we provide. Your attorney will verify that you signed in the correct places, and they will send it off to the correct USCIS Dropbox, processing center, or other authority. It is possible that USCIS or other immigration authorities may request additional documentation/clarification regarding your petition. Your attorney will handle any such requests, communicating with you as required.
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    choose your attorney

    With more than a decade in the field, Julia Greenberg has earned a reputation as a highly successful immigration attorney. Since 2006, she has represented countless corporate and individual clients in complex matters ranging from removal (deportation) to asylum, family, business and investor’s petitions, and employment-based cases.

    Authorized to practice in immigrant courts throughout the United States, Ms. Greenberg may also appear before the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, U.S. District Courts for the Southern, Northern, and Eastern districts of New York, and the New York Supreme Court. Ms. Greenberg takes pride in helping clients who have been unable to get satisfactory results elsewhere. Her honesty and compassion, combined with her expertise and vast knowledge of immigration law make her a formidable opponent in court – resulting in a long list of satisfied clients and positive referrals.

    Outside of court, Ms. Greenberg often addresses Congress regarding relevant legislation. She also devotes her spare time to making presentations at local events, where she answers questions for New York’s immigrant community.Ms. Greenberg is a member of the New York City Bar Association, and the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), where she is a member in good standing in its New York Chapter. Ms. Greenberg is also fluent in Russian.



    Becoming a US citizen entails specific rights, duties and following benefits: consular protection outside the United States; ability to sponsor relatives living abroad; ability to invest in US. real property without triggering additional taxes; transmitting US citizenship to children; protection from deportation and others. U.S. law permits multiple citizenship. A citizen of another country naturalized as a U.S. citizen may retain his previous citizenship


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