We provide our clients with advice and assistance with obtaining U.S. student visas [F-1 (Academic); M-1 (Vocational); and J-1 (Exchange)], especially after a previous denial or other immigration violations. We assist our clients in determining the correct category and applying for, maintaining, changing, or extending student status. We also advise our clients on the options and limitations of Curricular and Optional Practical Training (CPT and OPT), STEM extensions, automatic F-1 status and employment extension based on the cap gap rule, and switching between student and dependent statuses.
- Bona fide student or exchange program participant (Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)) with nonimmigrant intent and strong ties to the home country
- Proof of appropriate program acceptance and of financial qualifications.
- An application for appropriate visa if abroad, or change to appropriate status from within the U.S.
- Duration of the relevant program
- Maximum of seven years for J-1 clinical participants
F-1 (Exchange) – for students entering the U.S. to participate in a full course of study at an accredited school or university that is approved by the Attorney General.
- English language proficiency
J-1 (Exchange) – for exchange visitors who come to the U.S. to participate in an exchange visitor program administered by the U.S. Department of State, including trainees, college or university students, secondary school students, professors and research scholars, short-term scholars, specialists, foreign medical graduates, international and government visitors, teachers, camp counselors, au pairs, and summer work / travel students.
- Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (Form DS-2019) obtained from the program sponsor.
International Medical Graduates (“IMGs”) – for U.S. graduate medical education programs as well as training at U.S. medical schools.
1) Clinical – sponsored exclusively through the Educational Commission on Foreign Medical Graduates (“ECFMG”).
- Acceptance in an accredited U.S. graduate medical education program, documented by a signed contract.
- Statement of Need from the home country that establishes the need for the skills sought through the J-1 program.
- Appropriate prior medical education and training.
- Screening and certification of qualifications via ECFMG.
- Satisfactory results on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (“TOEFL”), unless subject to exception.
- Two-year home residency requirement (“HRR”) following completion of the training.
2) Non-Clinical – for IMGs engaged in nonclinical programs, such as observation, consultation, teaching, or research. These research scholar programs are sponsored by hospitals and educational institutions. ECFMG will act as the sponsor if the program is not designated as a J-1 sponsor.
- Acceptance in a program solely or predominately for purposes of observation, consultation, teaching, or research.
- If no patient care is involved, certification from sponsoring institution that the program is non-clinical and that no element of patient care is involved.
- If patient care is involved, certification from the dean or designee of the sponsoring institution that the program is predominantly non-clinical.
M-1 (Vocational) – for individuals who come to the U.S. to participate in a vocational, non-academic program (other than a language training program) in an established institution in the U.S., including training programs for health care technicians, machinists, dental hygienists, and others.
- English language proficiency