F-1 - international students are allowed to pursue full time course of study at a recognized U.S. colleges, universities, or other educational Institution.
M1 - Vocational international students are also similarly regulated.
Study, stay and employment of foreign students in U.S. is heavily regulated. International student status requirements can be relaxed, at times, but requires closely following a defined set of procedural rules.
International students must pay full tuition fee and should provide evidence of foreign funds to support themselves. There is no numerical limit controlling the number of international students can be accepted in F or M status.
Unlawful presence determination rules apply differently to students.
Foreign students, being young and inexperienced, are without much financial resources at hand and are far away from family. If you face one or two difficult semesters, chances are you might find yourself out of school and out of status. It is likely that you are dealing with a lot of emotional stress and are vulnerable to act in a manner that could adversely impact your future immigration opportunities.
International students must seek guidance from their Designated Student Officer (DSO) at the international student advisor section at the first sign of trouble. It is better to act sooner than later. Most student issues can be resolved by a knowledgeable international student advisor. It is however, best to seek the help of an immigration attorney.
Legal advice would help if you had the following questions:
- I am graduating and finishing the course of study. How difficult is it to return to U.S. after travel abroad?
- I am completing the course at my university. Is it OK to travel abroad for a short time and return to U.S. to work?
- I intend to go to a different educational institution than the one I originally intended to attend.
- How can I drop courses and not be a full time student?
- I dropped out of school. How can I return to my College/ University?
- I did not enroll in school because of financial difficulty. What can I do to get back in school?
- My family, in my home country, is facing financial difficulties. Can I work and continue to study as F-1?
- The educational institution I am enrolled in is under ICE investigation for fraudulent activities. Am I in trouble? What can I do to stay in U.S. and attend classes legally?
- I am an international student. Can my dependent attend school?
- Unauthorized work? Contact the lawyer with your questions . . .
- Economic hardship: eligible for employment authorization document (EAD)?
- I have EAD but is it still valid?
Contact the Lawyer for advice.
OPT: What changed!
Optional practical training (OPT) employers are to follow specific guidelines requiring filing deadlines and training plan, among other things, when hiring err... training "Stem OPT" students.
USCIS relaxed policy on 2/26/2021 about OPT EAD applications due to delays in issuing receipt notices and will approve OPT for the same period originally recommended on the I-20 issued by the designated student officer of the student's academic institution. The 14-month OPT completion period will begin on approval of the EAD.
EAD correction can be sought where OPT is approved for a period less than the full period because of the requirement that it must be completed within 14 months, when the full amount of time for OPT is 12-months.
International students from countries that suffered political turmoil or natural disasters may be eligible to apply for employment authorization based on economic hardship to family in home country depending upon current country conditions.