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jujubea

Help with student visa questions

66 posts in this topic

On 9/14/2016 at 6:13 AM, Emmanuel Olatunji said:

Yes, am applying from Nigeria. I got accepted into 2 schools in the USA and 1 in England. The question is that hope my B2 refusal will not affect my F visa? 

Congratulations on your acceptances! What is your top choice of the three? And why? (Be prepared to answer such questions during your interview... no need to rehearse, just think about it and be ready). 

There is no law that prevents someone who has been refused a B1/B2 visa from getting a student visa. It is however up to the officer's discretion on how they want to consider all the information they have available. I wouldn't sweat it too much, particularly if it were a long time ago. But also be prepared to answer questions about that previous visa application, too. 

Good luck.

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On 27.09.2016 at 8:32 PM, jujubea said:

I can certainly tell you that quoting Obama is not going to help you any. It might make for a nice quote in a letter to a newspaper or somewhere else complaining about the process though. 

Yeah, it's possible they could ask for more documents after the waiting, but it's also possible they won't. 

Definitely take your trip(s) as planned, I wouldn't worry about anything there. The more you travel, the better, in my opinion.

Whether or not there is a deadline for extra docs depends on what kinds of docs they're asking for....  

Ah, bureaucracy. Treating humans like non-humans since...the birth of humanity.

Sorry for your woes - keep us posted what happens. And enjoy your trip it sounds awesome! 

Hello Jujubea;

6 months have passed since my interview date. Believing that my visa application was already a lost case (no answer, nothing heard from the embassy despite the efforts from myself and the university) I decided to withdraw my application, which the embassy instantly agreed to.

Now I am planning to reapply, but seeing as the political situation in Turkey is nowhere near stable nowadays, I thought that I shouldn't be applying at the same embassy in my city. Instead, I was thinking of applying in a third country, because I might be going to South America for an internship starting next month. What do you suggest I should do at this point?

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I can't make any suggestions.

I can tell you that I personally would look on it as suspicious to see someone from a currently unstable country applying for a US visa from a third country though :( It's unfair but I'm just telling you how I would probably view it. 

This must be really frustrating for you -- I am so sorry :( 

I would DEFinitely take the internship in S.A. though. Once you have time there in your passport, AND return to Turkey ... that can look good to a VO -- it would to me.

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Hi @jujubea, thanks for answering all these questions. 

So, I'll be applying for a F1 in the next couple of months, but I'm a little worried about proving I have no intent no immigrate. I'm not sure how I can prove that. I'm single and haven't had a real job (you know, non TA or RA) for years. On paper, there's not really anything keeping me here I guess. What do you think?

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Well what's keeping you where you are (or makes you want to go back) not on paper?

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1 hour ago, jujubea said:

Well what's keeping you where you are (or makes you want to go back) not on paper?

Family and friends, mainly. I think the main thing keeping me from staying in the US is just that, I really don't want to. But I'm guessing if the visa officer asks I can't just say "just trust me, I'm coming back home".

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Hi guys, just went through my visa interview a couple of days ago. Questions were pretty simple—who was paying for my trip, what are my parents' occupation, what are my long term goals. The visa officer only asked for my mother's bank statements. Interview could not have lasted more than 5 minutes (waiting for my turn was much longer.

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Hello!

I was an undergraduate student on an F-1 visa in the US, I got my bachelor's degree last year (June 2016), and I'm in my OPT right now (I'm working full time). My opt will expire in July 2017. I already applied the graduate school and I will get my new i-20 very soon and I will begin my graduate study in September 2017. My F-1 visa was expired in 2014, but my old i-20 (from my undergraduate school) is not expired until August 2017. I have been in the US from 2014 and I never left the country. Can I stay in the US and go to my graduate school directly? Or should I leave the US and go back to my country to get a new F-1 visa for my graduate school? Thank you! Thank you very much!

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Posted (edited)

Hi @jujubea

First of all, thank you so much for starting this thread and taking the time to answer our inquiries. You are a treasure! 

Now, onto my questions. I received a fully funded offer and am thinking of applying for a J1 visa. I have a same-sex partner whose country of origin is different from mine, and we're planning to get married in the US (same-sex marriage isn't recognized in either of our countries). Will she be able to apply for a J2 visa if our marriage is only legal in the US? If yes, can she apply in the US while doing her OPT and change her visa status from F1 to J2 without going back to her home country? 

Thank you in advance!

Edited by darthmoeder

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On 2/10/2017 at 2:25 PM, TheWalkingGrad said:

Family and friends, mainly. I think the main thing keeping me from staying in the US is just that, I really don't want to. But I'm guessing if the visa officer asks I can't just say "just trust me, I'm coming back home".

Just let your love and enthusiasm for your friends and family come through you honestly when you answer that question. 

 

On 2/28/2017 at 8:19 PM, ironheart said:

Hi guys, just went through my visa interview a couple of days ago. Questions were pretty simple—who was paying for my trip, what are my parents' occupation, what are my long term goals. The visa officer only asked for my mother's bank statements. Interview could not have lasted more than 5 minutes (waiting for my turn was much longer.

Sounds typical. Interview sounds long actually. Haha.

 

On 2/28/2017 at 10:55 PM, Cra2y_G1raffe said:

Hello!

I was an undergraduate student on an F-1 visa in the US, I got my bachelor's degree last year (June 2016), and I'm in my OPT right now (I'm working full time). My opt will expire in July 2017. I already applied the graduate school and I will get my new i-20 very soon and I will begin my graduate study in September 2017. My F-1 visa was expired in 2014, but my old i-20 (from my undergraduate school) is not expired until August 2017. I have been in the US from 2014 and I never left the country. Can I stay in the US and go to my graduate school directly? Or should I leave the US and go back to my country to get a new F-1 visa for my graduate school? Thank you! Thank you very much!

If you have a document good through August and the next one begins in September you will technically be OK. I might consult DHS though (you will not get in trouble).

The F-1 visa is for entry -- so your ENTRY visa has expired, which is fine. Unless you do want to leave the USA and come back, in which case you will need to reapply for a visa, and should be NBD since you've already shown and proved that you used your original visa for what you intended (to study). 

 

On 3/1/2017 at 9:58 AM, darthmoeder said:

Hi @jujubea

First of all, thank you so much for starting this thread and taking the time to answer our inquiries. You are a treasure! 

Now, onto my questions. I received a fully funded offer and am thinking of applying for a J1 visa. I have a same-sex partner whose country of origin is different from mine, and we're planning to get married in the US (same-sex marriage isn't recognized in either of our countries). Will she be able to apply for a J2 visa if our marriage is only legal in the US? If yes, can she apply in the US while doing her OPT and change her visa status from F1 to J2 without going back to her home country? 

Thank you in advance!

To me this sounds like high likelihood of intention to immigrate -- you're both from countries where same-sex marriage is not allowed, and so you could be seeking refuge in the US. 

I would not reveal your sexuality or intention to marry during the interview. 

However, once you ARE married in the US (however you guys do that, I'm not sure... how will your partner get their initial visa to come get married? B1/B2?), that marriage is absolutely recognized and she would qualify for J2.

You will, I imagine, continually run into the issue of proving that neither of you intend to seek permanent refuge (intention to immigrate) from oppression in your home countries, unless it is only a legal technicality and not a major social issue where you're both from.

Answer to your last question is yes, she can apply to do this without returning, although may not be successful (up to officer's discretion as far as I know.... though I was never a DHS person so those laws are less clear to me).

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@jujubea Thanks so much for your answer, I really appreciate it! The lack of marriage equality is definitely more of a legal technicality where I'm from and not a major social issue, like you said, plus my partner is already in the US, so I suppose that's a bit more reassuring. That said, I'm now starting to think that her separately applying for OPT and then another F1 to go to grad school would be less troublesome than applying for a J2 in our situation. 

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I feel so confused with all of this information so I hope I can get some clarity here.

 

I will be interning for Stanford this summer. They are paying me a stipend. Does this make me a worker, or a student? At which point do I need to be sponsored for a work visa? Or do I? I'm a Canadian citizen with significant ties to my city (in government, public figure, etc.) so I'm unsure of where I land here.

Thanks for all your help!

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Posted (edited)

 

On 3/8/2017 at 1:19 PM, monstersof-men said:

I feel so confused with all of this information so I hope I can get some clarity here.

 

I will be interning for Stanford this summer. They are paying me a stipend. Does this make me a worker, or a student? At which point do I need to be sponsored for a work visa? Or do I? I'm a Canadian citizen with significant ties to my city (in government, public figure, etc.) so I'm unsure of where I land here.

Thanks for all your help!

Are you already in the US? If you're already in the US on a student visa I think that can be qualified as OPT. 

You cannot work on a B1/B2 visa. Depending on what type of internship it is (are you a research asst?) then you may qualify as J1. 

There are a few Canadians on here who may be able to help you better :)  I think @TakeruK is one of them...

Edited by jujubea

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@TakeruK .. I couldn't link you in my other post... i dunno !

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Hi Jujubea, 

Thank you very much for this extremely helpful thread. 

It would be great if you gave me your opinion on my situation. I'm planning to start studying in a PhD program that I've been admitted to with full funding. It's an average university in the US. The salary I'll be paid as a graduate employee is enough to live on itself. I'm from a muslim-majority country (not one of the six) but I currently live in an European country, completing my master's degree. I came to Europe with a full scholarship (from the government of that European country) and the university I'm currently enrolled as an MA student is a quite prestigious one. During my time here, I also spent a three-months research stay as an assistant in another European country. So there is all those visas and work permits in my passport from two European countries (Germany and the UK, if that matters). The question I have is whether I should apply for the J-1 here in Europe or back in my home country. I want to go through the safest path to ensure that I start my PhD in the Fall. Do you have a piece of advice on this situation? 

Many thanks.   

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On 3/8/2017 at 1:19 PM, monstersof-men said:

I feel so confused with all of this information so I hope I can get some clarity here.

 

I will be interning for Stanford this summer. They are paying me a stipend. Does this make me a worker, or a student? At which point do I need to be sponsored for a work visa? Or do I? I'm a Canadian citizen with significant ties to my city (in government, public figure, etc.) so I'm unsure of where I land here.

Thanks for all your help!

Hello! I am not an expert but here's what I know. As @jujubea said, if you are already a student in the US, then this is more easily covered as part of OPT or CPT on your F-1 status, depending on whether this internship is required for your degree requirements.

If, on the other hand, you are not currently a student at a US school, then it's up to Stanford to determine what kind of status they will sponsor you for. If they count you as one of their student while you are their intern, then they will likely sponsor you as a F-1 or J-1 student. F-1 and J-1 students are allowed to work on campus during the course of their educational program. 

If they decide to consider you as a foreign worker, then they will sponsor you on a foreign worker status. There are many possibilities. Depending on the field of your work, TN status is something available to Canadians (through NAFTA). 

In any case, you definitely need to be sponsored for some kind of visa. You should talk to Stanfrod ASAP and find out what kind of status it is. I do not think you can just enter the US and work and get paid a stipend. 

One point of clarification though:

It's easy to confuse/conflate visa and status. Visa is permission to enter a country for a specified purpose. It is a page that gets attached to your passport and will have your photo, looks like your own passport photo page. Status is permission to remain in a country and do certain activities, such as work or study. For F-1 students, the Form I-20 is proof of status and legal presence in the US. For J-1, it's the DS-2019. I don't know the name of the forms for the other statuses. These are pieces of papers with a lot of info about you and your sponsor. It can be easy to confuse these two because you have people referring to F-1 visas and F-1 status and often people use word "Visa" to mean both.

Canadians do not need visas to enter the US. But we still need sponsorship for legal status. Typically, the process for new students is that their sponsor (school) issues the Form I-20 to grant F-1 status and the student uses this form to apply for a F-1 visa to enter the country. After appearing for any interviews and going through the visa process in their home country, they enter the US with the Form I-20 and the F-1 visa page in the passport.

Canadians bypass the visa application process. We still need to have a sponsor issue a Form I-20 (or, in your case, the right form for whatever status). We skip the application for the visa and we can go straight to the border with just the I-20 and whatever other evidence you need for legal status. 

Finally, to answer your last bit: having significant ties to your city won't really make a difference here. If you are on a non-immigration class status (e.g. F-1 or J-1), the border agent will be looking for intent to immigrate and would deny you entry if you had such intentions. So, having ties to Canada will help mitigate this, however, it won't make a big difference unless there are other things going on that would cause them to suspect that you are lying about your non-immigration intent. If you were from a country that required a visa, you would also have to satisfy this non-immigration intent for the visa officer too, but as a Canadian, you don't need a visa, so it plays a smaller role. For a summer internship, you pose much less of a immigration risk since you are in a temporary short term program. 

These ties to Canada can also help you claim taxes in the US as a non-resident and taxes in Canada as a resident---usually working in the US means that Canada will treat you as a non-resident, having "left" the country. These ties will allow you to remain a "deemed resident" or "factual resident" for Canadian taxes. However, since this is a short term summer program, this doesn't really matter, you're clearly still a Canadian resident for tax purposes. These ties are much more helpful to prove residency if you are going to be in the US for more than a year and spend more than 6 months outside of Canada. 

Also remember that you will be taxed in both countries for your Stanford stipend. Luckily, since it is only the summer, you might make less than $10,000, which qualifies you for a Canada-US tax treaty that exempts you from paying US taxes on your Stanford income.

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Thank you for this thread - it's great to have this, especially in these times of uncertainty!

I have received a couple of offers from PhD programs in the US in environmental sciences/conservation area. One of these is a top school, and is a big brand (though not Ivy league). The funding situation is also pretty decent (From my calculations and understanding of the costs, things should be pretty comfortable and I don't see myself using my savings), and I am covered for the length of the PhD. I have really good test scores, including the TOEFL. I am still worried about the immigration intent aspect, though. I have a younger brother who works in the US with his wife (neither are US citizens or residents), and have heard that having family in the US can be an issue.

I actually am really keen on coming back to my country after my PhD, as there's a lot of amazing work here in this sector. My current boss has said that it'd be great to have me back, and also wants me to keep working on a 20-30% freelance basis during the PhD if that would be possible (legally, course load-wise, etc.). He is also really keen that I do my PhD research here instead of the US. Family reasons (parents who are getting old and definitely have no intention of moving anywhere :D) are also an important factor.

How do I demonstrate this intent to return in the visa interview? What documentation should I have with me for this? I was thinking of getting a letter from my employer, but if anybody showed me a letter from their current employer saying that they will be taken back after a 5 year break, I'd not be convinced and smell desperation - I am worried it might hurt my case rather than help it.

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Hi friends! 

I'm a Canadian student beginning my PhD in the US this fall and would really appreciate some help with a few questions! Perhaps @jujubea ?

I've just submitted my I-20 form through the University of Pennsylvania (where I'll be attending) and am told that it takes about 3 weeks to process, after which I will be sent the Shipping E-Form. I just wanted to know whether I'll be able to travel to the US to visit over the summer, as I have a conference in May and will be looking for housing before I move? Are there any restrictions as to when I can/cannot travel before my program starts? I've read that you can't enter more than 30 days before the program starts but am wondering if I can go as a tourist with my passport? Should I wait to submit my Shipping Form until after I've travelled as a tourist? Any insight would be most appreciated! 

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4 hours ago, telizabeth said:

Hi friends! 

I'm a Canadian student beginning my PhD in the US this fall and would really appreciate some help with a few questions! Perhaps @jujubea ?

I've just submitted my I-20 form through the University of Pennsylvania (where I'll be attending) and am told that it takes about 3 weeks to process, after which I will be sent the Shipping E-Form. I just wanted to know whether I'll be able to travel to the US to visit over the summer, as I have a conference in May and will be looking for housing before I move? Are there any restrictions as to when I can/cannot travel before my program starts? I've read that you can't enter more than 30 days before the program starts but am wondering if I can go as a tourist with my passport? Should I wait to submit my Shipping Form until after I've travelled as a tourist? Any insight would be most appreciated! 

I'm not a visa officer but I am also a Canadian student in the US. I don't know what the Shipping E-form is (to me, it sounds like a tracking number so you know when to expect your I-20 to arrive). Since you are planning to enter the US in May for reasons not related to your student status, then you should be entering as a tourist. I visited the US a couple of times prior to starting my program as a tourist to visit friends and to look for housing. 

Just keep track of all of the dates you are in the US this year. Record the day you enter and the day you leave. You will need it later when you file your US taxes for the 2017 tax year.

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3 hours ago, TakeruK said:

I'm not a visa officer but I am also a Canadian student in the US. I don't know what the Shipping E-form is (to me, it sounds like a tracking number so you know when to expect your I-20 to arrive). Since you are planning to enter the US in May for reasons not related to your student status, then you should be entering as a tourist. I visited the US a couple of times prior to starting my program as a tourist to visit friends and to look for housing. 

Just keep track of all of the dates you are in the US this year. Record the day you enter and the day you leave. You will need it later when you file your US taxes for the 2017 tax year.

Thanks so much! And it was fine for you to enter even after you completed the I-20 form?

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3 hours ago, telizabeth said:

Thanks so much! And it was fine for you to enter even after you completed the I-20 form?

Yes, completing the I-20 form doesn't mean that you cannot enter the US until 30 days prior to your program start date. It just means you cannot enter with F-1 status on that I-20 form until 30 days prior to your start date. It's okay to enter on tourist status :)

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8 hours ago, TakeruK said:

Yes, completing the I-20 form doesn't mean that you cannot enter the US until 30 days prior to your program start date. It just means you cannot enter with F-1 status on that I-20 form until 30 days prior to your start date. It's okay to enter on tourist status :)

Ah okay thank you! So sometime in the summer I'll have to go do the Visa interview, get the F-1 and then I'll be entering with F-1 status and can't go more than 30 days ahead? I'm just a little confused because the US Embassy websites have said that Canadians entering as students don't need a Visa, just the I-20? Thanks for all of your help! 

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5 hours ago, telizabeth said:

Ah okay thank you! So sometime in the summer I'll have to go do the Visa interview, get the F-1 and then I'll be entering with F-1 status and can't go more than 30 days ahead? I'm just a little confused because the US Embassy websites have said that Canadians entering as students don't need a Visa, just the I-20? Thanks for all of your help! 

No, as I said above, Canadians do not need a visa so we do not have visa interviews. As the US Embassy website says, you do not need a F-1 visa, you just need the I-20 (for F-1 status) to cross. Here is what you do when you are ready to enter as a foreign student and not just as a visitor:

- If you are crossing at an airport (either at US Preclearance in Canada or at a US airport if you're flying from a Canadian airport without US Preclearance), you must make sure you don't enter any of the expedited lines. Sometimes airports have staff that ask you what passport you have and then redirect you. Often, Canadian and US passports get an expedited line. If an airport staff member asks you for your passport, show that it's Canadian and say that you are entering on F-1 status. They should redirect to you a slightly longer line. When you get to an agent, make sure to repeat that you are crossing on F-1 status and have your I-20 and your passport ready.

- If you are crossing at a land border, you must make sure to tell the border agent that you are entering on F-1 status. They might assume that you're one of the many Canadians visiting the US as a tourist so make sure to specify the status you are using.

This is important because when you do this, you will generate an electronic I-94 form, which is proof of legal entry for a purpose. You may need this later (you can download the I-94 number after the fact) in order to get things like a US driver's license, opening bank accounts, getting a social security number etc. It would also be against the law to enter as a tourist and then pursue your studies, and violating immigration law, even accidentally, could be bad later.

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Kind of an old thread but I didn't know where else to post this. 

I'm graduating from my undergrad institution this year (Canadian in the US) and will be starting in a PhD program in the fall also in the US. However, I'd like to work in my undergrad lab for a month to 6 weeks after graduation. I was told that I could apply for OPT (but that would cost $410 and take up to 90 days to process--which is around the time I would want to leave). Has anyone been in this situation and have any suggestions for staying in the US and working legally, preferably paid but would consider unpaid?

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