A blog about U.S. immigration matters by Paul Szeto, a former INS attorney and an experienced immigration attorney and counsel. Contact Info: 732-632-9888, http://www.1visa1.com/ (All information is not legal advice and is subject to change without prior notice.)

Friday, August 20, 2010

Special Instructions for B-1/B-2 Visitors Who Want to Enroll in School

On August 19, 2010, the USCIS issued the following -

Special Instructions for B-1/B-2 Visitors Who Want to Enroll in School

Is it permissible to enroll in school while in B-1/B-2 status?
No, it is not. The regulations, at 8 CFR 214.2(b)(7), specifically prohibit study in the United States while in B-1 or B-2 status. Before enrolling in classes, individuals who are in B-1 or B-2 status must first acquire F-1 (academic student) or M-1 (vocational student) status. Enrolling in classes while in B-1/B-2 status will result in a status violation. Individuals in B-1 or B-2 status, who have violated their nonimmigrant status by enrolling in classes, are  not eligible to extend their B status or change to F-1 or M-1 status. These regulations provide no exceptions.

How can I obtain F-1 or M-1 status?
If you currently hold B-1 or B-2 nonimmigrant status and would like to enroll in classes, you may apply for a change of status to F-1 or M-1, as appropriate, if:

You have not yet enrolled in classes
Your current status has not expired
You have not engaged in unauthorized employment

To change your nonimmigrant status from B-1/B-2 to F-1 or M-1, you must file an Application to
Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status (Form I-539), and include the required fee and documents listed in
the filing instructions. Please Note: If you enroll in classes before USCIS approves your Form I-539, you will be ineligible to change your nonimmigrant status from B to F or M. If you are applying to extend your B-1/B-2 stay and you have already enrolled in classes, USCIS cannot approve your B-1/B-2 extension because of the status violation.


What if I am not eligible?
If you are not eligible to change your nonimmigrant status to F-1 or M-1, you may apply for an F-1 or
M-1 visa at a consular post abroad. For information about consular processing, please visit the Department of State’s website at www.state.gov/travel. For information about the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP), please visit the SEVP website at: www.ice.gov/sevis.

We encourage all students and prospective students to work closely with their designated school official (DSO) to coordinate the timing of applying for change of status and enrolling in classes.

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