In August of 2018, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued an updated policy memorandum pertaining to student visa violations. Under this draconian new Administration policy, student visa holders will now be given significantly less leeway when it comes to minor violations of the terms of their visa.
In this article, our top-rated Los Angeles student visa lawyers provide an overview of the Trump Administration’s new guidance on student visa violations and highlight some of the most important things that you need to know about the student visa application process.
The New Student Visa Policy: Explained
The new student visa policy is related to ‘unlawful presence’ in the United States. This is a very serious issue for international students and international scholars because any individual who accrues an ‘unlawful presence’ of at least 180 days on their record is subject to a ban from re-entering the United States. In some cases, this ban could last as long as ten years.
Under the prior policy, unlawful presence was not counted against an international student until a USCIS agent or immigration judge made a formal finding of a violation. Under the new policy, USCIS will start counting the days immediately. As soon as an international student’s F-1 Visa, J-1 Visa, or M-1 Visa expires, USCIS will start counting days against the student unless the student files an application for reinstatement or is otherwise eligible for an exemption. Many observers believe that the Administration is actively attempting to discourage international students from applying with this type of policy.
The bottom line: This new policy is extremely harsh. It is in line with many of the other anti-immigrant policy changes from the Trump Administration. It punishes minor violations and small mistakes. If you are an international student in Southern California and your visa has expired, it is imperative that you consult with an experienced immigration lawyer in Los Angeles immediately. You need to take action to protect your rights.
How to Get a Student Visa
Before you worry about keeping your immigration record in good standing, you must first obtain a student visa. To qualify for a student visa, an applicant needs to:
- Gain acceptance into an approved U.S. educational program;
- Complete a U.S. student visa application; and
- Sit for a student visa interview.
Of course, the interview is one of the most important, stressful aspects of the process. All international students should be prepared. If you are applying to study in the United States, we have put together a list of our best tips to succeed in your student visa interview to help you get ready.
Get Help From a Los Angeles Student Visa Lawyer Today
At the Goldstein Immigration Lawyers, we have deep experience handling the full range of immigration law issues. To find out more about how our law firm can protect your rights, please do not hesitate to call our Los Angeles office at (213) 262-2000 for a fully confidential, no obligation immigration law consultation.