Applying for a Student Visa While on a Tourist Visa
November 8, 2018
Many immigrants enter the United States on a B-2 visitor visa, which allows individuals to temporarily visit the country for purposes of tourism, recreation, or to obtain medical treatment.
If an individual wishes to remain in the country to pursue education, they need to obtain the F-1 student visa. If the prospective student is already in the country on the B-2 visitor visa, they may face some difficulty in changing to F-1 student visa status.
Obtaining an F-1 Student Visa After Entering on a B-2 Visitor Visa
Although it may prove difficult, it is not impossible to convert a B-2 visitor visa to an F-1 student visa by submitting a request to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The change in visa status application must be sent by mail, and should include supporting documentation, outlining the circumstances that led to the applicant’s decision to enroll in an academic program after entering on a B-2 visitor visa.
The USCIS will grant this type of request only if the applicant can demonstrate they arrived in the United States without a “preconceived intent to study.”
Proving a Lack of Preconceived Intent to Study
Individuals who come to the United States with a plan to file a change in their visa status application, after being admitted to an academic program in the country, are deemed to have a preconceived intent to study here.
This will usually lead to a denial in the person’s change of status application, as the B-2 visitor visa is not intended for individuals wishing to remain in the country for an extended period of time, or for individuals wishing to immigrate to the United States.
If an individual has previously contacted the academic institution, or does so quickly after arriving to the United States, it becomes even more difficult to prove that the applicant did not have a preconceived intent to study in the country.
Leaving the United States to Apply for an F-1 Visa
If an individual cannot prove that they lacked a preconceived intent to study, an alternative course of action is for them to leave the United States and apply for a student F-1 visa from an overseas consulate, either in their home country or somewhere else outside the United States.
Advantages of the B-2 Prospective Student Visa
Individuals who enter the United States as tourists, who believe they may at some point want to become students, may take advantage of the special B-2 prospective student visa.
The USCIS issues this type of B-2 visa to individuals who are undecided as to where they want to study in the United States, have a legitimate reason for entering the country more than 30 days before the beginning of their academic program, or are visiting the country for scheduled admission interviews or entrance exams at an academic institution.
Students who enter the United States on a B-2 prospective student visa can file a change of status visa application when their academic program begins.
The Philadelphia Visa Petition Lawyers at the Law Offices of MC Law Group, LLC Help Individuals Obtain F-1 Student Visas
If you or a loved one needs assistance with applying for an F-1 student visa or with visa petitions, visa applications, asylum, deportation or green cards, the experienced Philadelphia visa petition lawyers at the Law Offices of MC Law Group, LLC can help. Call us today to schedule a confidential initial consultation at 215-496-0690 or submit an online inquiry form. Our offices are conveniently located in Philadelphia serving clients across the United States.