1. What is the difference between a passport and a visa?A passport is a little booklet issued by your own government which identifies you as a citizen in good standing and which requests the officials of other countries to treat you properly while you are traveling in those other countries.2. What kinds of US visas can you obtain?
A visa is a document or stamp added to the blank pages of your passport by officials of a country that has given you permission to enter that country. Most visas indicate the date on which you arrive and the date on which the visa expires.
Just as there are many reasons people wish to visit the US, there are also many different types of US visas.3. Where can I get detailed advice about how to get an F1 student visa?
- Visitor Visas (B1/B2 visas) allow persons to enter the US for tourism and/or personal visits. These visas are usually good for stays of six months or less. This kind of visa usually assumes that the visa-holder will leave the US before (or as soon as) the six month period expires. You will not be able to work in the US while holding a visitor's visa.
- Student Visas (F1 visas) allow persons to enter the US for the purpose of pursuing full-time college study at an INS-approved school. These visas are usually good for as long as the student maintains his or her status as a full-time student. This kind of visa usually assumes that the visa-holder will leave the US when his or her studies are completed. Normally you will not be able to work in the US while holding an F1 visa. (Discuss employment issues thoroughly with the international student advisor at your school before attempting to work in the US.)
- There are also various kinds of visas which allow the visa-holder to work in the US (J1, H1, and TN visas). These work-related visas have complex application procedures and eligibility requirements. Be sure you get all the information about these kinds of visas before attempting to apply for such visas.
Everything that we learn about what actually happens during the visa application process is summarized for you at How To Earn An American College Degree.4. What can you do if you violate the terms of your visa?Immigration law in the U.S. says that you are presumed to be an intending immigrant unless you can prove otherwise. That means that you are presumed to be an illegal immigrant if you violate the conditions of your visa category.
If you are on a student visa and you fall out of status, you may be able to file for reinstatement. See your international student advisor for details on reinstatement.
Remember this: to be in good status as a student you must be a full-time student for approximately nine months of each calendar year and you must not accept employment without prior authorization of INS.