Written by attorney Elizabeth Rose Blandon

Foreigner Student Attending Public Schools? Pay Up.

Foreign students who come to the United States on a student visa (F-1) are not permitted to attend public secondary schools. If they do, they must demonstrate that they attended for less than 12 months and that they repaid the school for the cost of the education.

Failure to repay the public school results in a bar to entry to the U.S. for five years. In the application for a visa, the question of whether the foreigner attended a public school is specifically asked. If the answer is yes, and no exception applies, the foreigner will be denied a visa for five years since the date of last departure.

There is much confusion regarding this entry bar and more importantly to whom it applies. The requirement to repay the school does NOT apply to F-2 visa holders (family members of F-1 students). It also does not apply to foreigners who came on a B visa (visitor for pleasure or business), or even foreign nationals who entered the country without authorization.

Therefore, foreign students being re-admitted to the U.S. on an F-1 student status must provide proof that they have repaid the cost of their education. Exactly how much money is owed depends on the school district.

If a foreigner is attending a public school and plans to travel to their home country, they should seek the assistance of an experienced immigration attorney to ensure that they avoid any problems reentering the U.S.

This communication is intended as general information and not specific legal advice, and this communication does not create an attorney-client relationship. Consultation with an experienced competent immigration attorney is the best way to address individual concerns

Free Q&A with lawyers in your area

Can’t find what you’re looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer