Dual Qualified as a lawyer within the United States and United Kingdom, Mark I. Davies is the Global Chairman of Davies & Associates, LLC. In addition, he chairs our business and Investor Visa and India Practice Teams. While Mark has had versatile experience with visas and assisting large institutions, corporations of various size, individuals, professionals and families his proactive focuses on assisting business owners and investors with their moves to the United States.
For years, people have been migrating in search of a better life, a better education, and a better income. In 2020, 18 million Indians were residing outside of their nation. According to experts, Indian students choose to study abroad for a variety of reasons, including unrivalled infrastructure, a diverse international community that fosters more innovation and learning, the system’s flexibility, like options to switch majors and still graduate on time; and the ample opportunity for research and practical experience that is integrated into their curriculum.
To make their international education seamless, students must adhere to certain guidelines, depending on the country they wish to study in. Below is a generic framework of things they should keep track of:
Proof of a Bonafide Student: If you are applying for any Student Visa, regardless of which country, you must be able to demonstrate that you are a bonafide student. This can be accomplished by presenting proof of admission to a country’s educational institute.
Formalities on arrival: International students with student visas valid for more than 180 days must register with the local FRRO/FRO within 14 days of arrival.
Language Abilities: Another factor that may be necessary for different nations is that you can converse in the language that will be your medium of instruction. Because most students intend to study in English-speaking countries, a large percentage of them will ask you to prove that you can communicate in English – both written and verbally. Therefore, many countries require international pupils to take English Language Tests such as TOEFL, IELTS, and/or PTE. As a result, if you intend to attend a course in another language (say, French), you must produce certification for that language in line with the CEFR Certified Levels.
Financial transparency: Most nations will ask you to prove that you are capable of covering tuition and educational expenditures and affording your stay in that country for the desired study duration. For example, several European nations like Germany and the Netherlands have a minimum living cost determined by government guidelines. Students seeking student visas in these countries must, as a result, confirm that the specified sum is accessible to them in cash.
Since the United States remains the topmost sought-after nation for aspiring Indian students, we must take a deeper dive into its requirements. In fact, in 2020, the US housed over 1 million international students, out of which 1,93,124 were Indians. Furthermore, according to research performed by Leverage Edu, a prominent study abroad platform in India, 94 percent of Indian students are keener to study abroad this year than the previous year.
Here are a few legalities students must be aware of before migrating to the United States of America:
- Students must safeguard all the legal documents stating authorization to study in the US provided by the US government and the university. After acceptance, students will receive form I-20 for an F1 or M1 visa or DS-2019 for a J1 visa. A student visa is a mandatory requirement for studying abroad, particularly in the United States. Students are not permitted to travel under the Visa Waiver Program or with Visitor Visas. Therefore, students must fix an appointment with the Embassy or Consulate in the country where they live in time.
- Students must maintain their visa status during their education. International students are allowed to enter the US 30 days before the beginning of the semester and should contact their DSO at the earliest. Students on an F1 visa aren’t permitted to work off-campus during the first year of their academic session but can undertake on-campus jobs, subject to certain conditions. International students must also ensure that they have the required work authorization before taking up any part-time or full-time jobs in the country. Eligible students can apply for up to one year of Optional Practical Training (OPT) in an area directly correlates to their major. International students must apply for a work permit with USICS and start work only when it has been issued. It is important to note that students on an M1 visa aren’t eligible to work during the course of study.
- Students on an F1 visa can also apply for an off-campus job for curriculums that require practical training, subject to eligibility criteria. To indulge in CPT, students need authorization from both the USCIS and the institute’s International Student’s Office.
- F1 students falling under the category of ‘Severe Economic Hardships’ are eligible for off-campus jobs for up to 20 hours per week during the semester part-time and full time when sessions are on break.
- International students who wish to continue working in the United States must apply for a Social Security Number. The application process for the same can start after ten days of arriving on US soil and 48 hours after reporting to your educational institution. Speaking to your DSO about employment eligibility and regulations in line with your immigration status is also recommended.
- After the completion of their program, foreign students have 60 days to leave the country. Then, to maintain legal in-country status, immigrant students could transfer to another school, upgrade their educational level, or apply for a change in visa status.
- It is also essential for students who wish to relocate overseas permanently to start planning their future avenues. This would mean evaluating the benefits of each available visa program, including the golden visa program. The EB-5 investor visa program allows immigrants to Fastrack their path to a Green Card and subsequent citizenship. International students can start their EB-5 application process even before they commence their education. Speaking to their legal advisors beforehand about this option and starting their application early can give students an edge over other global peers.