I am on a B-2 visitor visa lasting for 10 years, I have found a web-design course that I want to do at CUNY and need a F-1 visa. Can I transfer this visa or do I need to go back to my home country to apply to the F-1 student visa?
And if I do get the F-1, will my B-2 still be valid?
The question of whether you can change status to F-1 in the United States depends on a number of factors: 1) whether your passport and your I-94 period of authorized admission in B2 status is still valid (hint: that would be 6 months or less from the date you entered the country); 2) whether you have been enrolled in a full-time course of study (not just one course) and the school has issued you a valid Form I-20; 3) whether you can document sufficient funds to support yourself without engaging in unauthorized employment while attending school.
This is general information only. It is not intended as a substitute for legal advice, and does not create an attorney-client relationship. For legal advice specific to your circumstances, you must consult an attorney in a confidential setting, not in an online forum.
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You may be able to obtain an F-1 without returning home first. However, USCIS prefers that you obtain these visas through the respective consulate. Moreover, you will encounter problems if they conclude that you entered the U.S. on a B-2 visa with the intention of switching to an F-1 visa inside the U.S. You should consult an immigration lawyer before doing anything. Good luck.
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You may file an application to change status from B-2 to F-1 prior to the expiration of your authorized stay. While your application to change status is pending, you are allowed to remain in the U.S. The drawback of going this route is that you do not have an F-1 visa stamped on your passport. So, if you have plans of traveling outside the U.S. while you are in school, you must apply for the visa at the U.S. Consulate. This way, you will have the appropriate visa the next time you enter the U.S.
Alternatively, you can exit with your I-20 and apply for a student visa at a U.S. Consulate abroad. This is the preferred manner of applying for the visa that conforms with your purpose of being in the U.S.
And, your B-2 will not be cancelled if there is no reason for cancellation.
Please consult with a licensed immigration professional to provide you with a thorough legal advice. This response is not a substitute for specific legal advice and it should not be construed to create an attorney-client relationship. Please help stop notario fraud. Please visit and share this site: www.stopnotariofraud.org.