F-1 Visa

F-1 Visa: Bringing Families Together

U.S. immigration regulations allow F-1 student visa holders to have their spouses and minor children join them under F-2 visas. But here’s a little-known fact: Parents of minor international students can also accompany their children throughout the entirety of their academic program.

B-2 Visa: A Pathway for Parents

The Department of State’s Foreign Affairs Manual offers a provision for the B-2 visa, which permits household members of non-citizens in long-term visa status to stay, including those enrolled in multi-year educational programs. This provision includes parents of minor F-1 students, cohabitating partners, and elderly parents of adult students or workers.

Securing a B-2 Visa: Steps and Considerations

Parents looking to stay with their children under the B-2 visa can initially request a 1-year stay during their application. Once in the U.S., they can extend their B-2 status in six-month increments, allowing for a longer stay than the typical B-2 visa. It’s important to note that the B-2 visa does not permit work in the U.S.

Securing a B-2 visa requires demonstrating “non-immigrant intent,” which involves providing evidence of strong ties to the home country. This includes proof of financial stability for the stay’s duration, a permanent address in the home country, and evidence of familial and employment connections there. An attorney’s guidance can be invaluable in meeting this complex requirement.

ESTA: What You Need to Know

For parents entering the U.S. under the Visa Waiver Program (ESTA), it’s essential to understand that they cannot extend their stay. ESTA allows a maximum stay of 90 days, with no option for extension or status change while in the U.S.

Consulting an immigration attorney for personalized advice is always recommended. By understanding U.S. immigration regulations, you can make the most of your options and provide effective support for your minor child’s studies in the United States.

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