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Change to F1 student status

Change to F1 student status

These days, there are a lot of inquiries about changing status to a student. There are many cases that people who have minor children change to student status due to children's education problems. Children of F1 (student status) holders can legally attend US public schools with F2 status. However, the spouse (F2) of an F1 holder cannot attend school unless they convert to F1. Many F1 spouses go to school without knowing this law, and when caught, it becomes a reason for deportation for violating student visa regulations. If you change your status to a student in the United States, you must stay in the United States except for a 30-day trip to Mexico or Canada, unless you go to Korea and get a student visa from the US Embassy. The advantage of changing your status to a student in the US is that the document screening process is less demanding than that at the US Embassy in Korea. And once you obtain student status, you can stay in the US legally as long as you attend school, and it is easy to change to another status.

So, which visa holders can convert to student status? All non-immigrant visa holders can change to student status, but some visa holders cannot change status. Representative examples include visitors entering Korea under the Visa Waiver Program, K visas (fiancée visas), J visas (cultural exchange visitors), and M1 (vocational education students). In particular, in the case of J1 visa, you need to check whether there is an obligation to reside in Korea for 2 years after visiting the visa. If this 2-year residency rule exists, J1 visa holders cannot change their status in the US unless they are exempted from the 2-year residency rule in Korea. You will be able to enter the country under a different status only after exactly 2 years of residence. However, in the meantime, you may visit the United States as a tourist or under the Visa Waiver Program.

Then, let's look at what conditions must be satisfied in order to obtain student status in the United States. First, applicants must prove that they have a place of residence in Korea and that they will return to Korea after completing their studies. This condition can be proved by having a house owned in Korea or having a family relative in Korea. The US embassy is very strict about this condition, but it is relatively less strict in the US. In one of my clients, there was a case where the whole family came on a tourist visa, but the mother switched to student status and the whole family switched to F2. In this case, my client fortunately owns a house in Korea. Home ownership can be good evidence that the applicant will return to Korea after completing their studies.

The second condition is that the applicant must write a reasonable reason why he or she wants to study. In particular, this condition seems to be a difficult condition to meet for many Koreans. For example, if the whole family comes together on a tourist visa and wants to change to student status as the period of stay nears, the immigration officer's view is that the applicant would rather reside in the United States than intend to change status to study there. It is easy to get the impression that you are applying for a change of status as a doctor. In order to avoid such a negative impression, when writing a valid reason for studying, you must prove the correlation between what you have done in Korea, what you will study in the United States, and what you will do when you return to Korea in order to convince the immigration officer. If the whole family comes to F1 and wants to leave only the wife and children, it is advantageous to convert the wife's F2 status to F1 while her own F1 status is valid. As a rule, F2s cannot attend school, so as long as your F1 is alive, the immigration officer will not have any doubts about your wife changing status to F1. In this case, if you leave your children as your F2, and your wife acquires F1 first, and a few months before you return to Korea, if you change the children's status to F2 subordinate to your wife's F1, you and your wife will have no problem at all. Children's identities may be switched.

The final requirement is that the applicant must demonstrate the financial ability to sufficiently support herself and her family while studying without illegal labor in the United States. Normally, the Immigration Department will ask for bank deposit and withdrawal statements for the past six months. In my opinion, it is safe to submit as proof of deposit balance the cost of living in the United States for the entire family for one year. In addition, if you submit proof of real estate or other property you own in Korea, I think you will fully satisfy this condition. If you cannot prove your financial ability yourself, you must obtain a financial guarantee from a US citizen or permanent resident. If you satisfy the above three conditions, the rest is to issue an I-20 (Letter of Admission) from the school you will attend and pay the SEVIS Fee. If you have any questions about more details about your student visa, please contact our office. I will answer you sincerely.
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Los Angeles, CA 90010 

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