Suspended on a Student Visa!
May 13, 2010 9:28 AM   Subscribe

A friend who is studying in the US on a student visa has just been suspended (for academic reasons) for a year. What can she do?

How long is she allowed to remain in the country? I've heard mixed things about this, and the school told her to leave as soon as possible because her visa was considered invalid as soon as the judgment to suspend her was reached.

Would it be possible to convert her student visa to a tourist visa, preferably without leaving the US? That would at least give her time to tie up loose ends and get a more reasonably-priced ticket home.
posted by The Lamplighter to Education (14 answers total)
Ask the international students' office about specific regulations on what she can/cannot do. If they're not helpful, call up another university and ask. [she might be accepted as a transfer student elsewhere.] But don't waste time trying to find an answer she wants. If she intends to return and finish her degree, I'd advise following rules to the T.
posted by Neekee at 9:43 AM on May 13, 2010

She has to file (i.e. send the envelope) for tourist status before she is out of status. Then she can stay and wait until she receives an answer to the application. She would have to leave immediately if she received a denial. When leaving, she would have to show her denial letter so they don't think she overstayed.
posted by Tarumba at 9:43 AM on May 13, 2010 [1 favorite]

Working on a transfer is a very good idea, too.
posted by Tarumba at 9:44 AM on May 13, 2010

Failure to maintain a full course load is a status violation. Check out the SEVIS fact sheet. Can your friend apply for reinstatement in order to transfer to another school? If not your friend is technically* required to leave immediately.

*When someone I know fell out of status they wrote a letter to their local USCIS office indicating that they had fallen out of status and intended to leave the US within 30 days, which they did. I don't know if this made any difference, but they had no problem receiving a new visa subsequently.
posted by IanMorr at 9:46 AM on May 13, 2010

Her university will be able to help her with this. Most places have an office specifically dedicated to helping international students with their immigration status.
posted by valkyryn at 10:18 AM on May 13, 2010

Response by poster: The university won't help her, as she's not considered a student at the moment. I don't think transferring to another school makes any sense in her situation, as she can finish her degree (relatively) painlessly at the school once the suspension is over but probably not at any other.

Filing for a tourist visa immediately sounds like her best bet.

Also, what is "immediately"? The school told her that really she should be out of the country by the end of the day but that obviously is extremely unrealistic.
posted by The Lamplighter at 10:29 AM on May 13, 2010

A google search got me to this, from the Babson College (?) website:

If an F-1 student takes a leave of absence, withdraws or is suspended, his/her permission to remain in the U.S. in F-1 status becomes void. If the student notifies an International Student Advisor (ISA) prior to the leave of absence, withdrawal or suspension, the government allows 15 days for departure from the U.S. If an ISA is not notified in advance, the student must leave the U.S. immediately. International Student & Scholar Services (ISSS) is required to report electronically to the government within 21 days that the student is no longer maintaining status. The student must take one of the following actions:

transfer immediately to another USCIS-approved institution
apply immediately for a change of status to another visa
leave the U.S. immediately
posted by Neekee at 11:12 AM on May 13, 2010

The office handling international student visa issues at her school refused to assist her? I find that very surprising. These administrators are there specifically for this purpose. In addition, they have reporting responsibilities regarding students visas. They also handle questions from prospective students, administrators, parents and other technical non-students all the time. However, if she asked them to file paperwork on her behalf, they would likely tell her they'd be unable to do that.

If the office who handled her F1 has been unresponsive to phonecalls or emails, then she should go in person. She should take their advice, even if it is not what she wants to hear. If she feels that their answers are vague, then she should ask for clarification. Ex: "Do I need to make arrangements to leave immediately? Or do I need to be out of the country immediately?"

Of course, it really sucks if she encounters someone who is unhelpful, dismissive or simply over-worked, but she should pursue this route first.
posted by annaramma at 11:23 AM on May 13, 2010

Response by poster: She told me that the university refused to help her, and suggested that she consult a lawyer.
posted by The Lamplighter at 12:13 PM on May 13, 2010

There's nothing they can do to help, they only deal with student visa issues and she no longer has one. However, it is their job to give her the information that annaramma suggested she ask. I've dealt with a few impatient, disgruntled school immigration advisers and I know how taxing it can be - hence my suggestion to call up another school to ask questions. I'd suggest prefacing any question with, "I just need information/clarification."
posted by Neekee at 12:54 PM on May 13, 2010

*** I'm NOT sure about this advice ***
So please check with someone knowledgeable.

If she starts a grievance or an appeal process she might be able to stay until it's over.
posted by WizKid at 1:46 PM on May 13, 2010

Response by poster: I don't believe that there is any appeal process, but I will ask her about that. If there is, I guess it can't hurt.
posted by The Lamplighter at 2:03 PM on May 13, 2010

Response by poster: Checking the university's website, an appeal is only granted if it's filed within a seven days and it has to contain significant new evidence.
posted by The Lamplighter at 2:08 PM on May 13, 2010

I'm not an immigration lawyer, but she should talk to one asap.

Every single time I've had a visa status change I have had to leave the country and reenter. You have to leave under your old visa and reenter with your new one. She would not have to return to her home country, just jump the nearest border for a day.

I'm just mentioning this to set some expectations. Listen to the attorney.
posted by Ookseer at 1:47 AM on May 14, 2010

« Older Cat + drool + couch = stain?   |   Should I just get another car? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.