There are many of reasons why international students would want to stay back in the US after schooling. However, most students end up not doing so, because they don’t how to change a student Visa to a Green card. This post will help you understand the intricacies and various steps you must take towards achieving this fit.
According to the Migration Policy Institute, about 1.1 million international students were enrolled in U.S. institutions in the school year (SY) 2019-20.
This marked a decrease of almost 20,000 international students from the year before – following a decade of consistent growth.
Among the key factors for this decline was the rising cost of U.S. higher education, high numbers of student visa delays, and denials.
How To Change Your Student Visa To Green Card
A Students Visa is a visa that must be obtained by international students to be able to study in the US. It is required to study in the United States. Foreign nationals may not study after entering on a visitor (B) visa. They are also not allowed to study if they came through the Visa Waiver Program (VWP).
The F 1 and M 1 visa is the most popular of these visas as it comes with certain benefits. Some of the benefits include permitting an international student to work in his or her first year.
Categories Of International Students Visa
U.S. immigration law has four categories of visas for foreign students and exchange visitors:
- F-1 visa for full-time students at an academic institution such as a college, university, or high school, or who are enrolled in a language training program.
- M-1 visa for full-time students at a vocational or other nonacademic institution.
- F-3 or M-3 visa for nationals of Canada and Mexico who commute to the United States for full- or part-time study at an academic (F-3) or vocational (M-3) institution.
- J-1 visa for participants in an educational or cultural exchange program. This visa category includes college and university students as well as physicians, summer work-travel visitors, visiting professors, research and short-term scholars, teachers, and au pairs.
Students holding an F-1 visa are authorized for up to 12 months of OPT upon graduation and become eligible for another year of OPT when seeking a further post-secondary degree at a higher level.
Students with a degree in (STEM) are eligible for an OPT extension of up to 24 additional months.
Immediately after the OPT period ends, graduates must find an employer willing to sponsor them for a work visa (such as an H-1B visa) in order to continue working in the United States.
Spouses and children of foreign students and exchange visitors can enter the country by obtaining an F-2, M-2, or J-2 visa. Nevertheless, this depends on the visa category of the student or visitor they are accompanying. However, only J-2 holders are eligible to study or work in the United States.
After they complete their academic or research programs, international students and exchange visitors may remain in the United States.
How Can I Change My Student Visa To Green Card?
There are numerous ways of achieving this, it can be a tad to decipher your best option.
1. Receive Employer Sponsorship
If you gain employment while studying, you can have your employer sponsor you. This can also come into play if you get employed after school but must be within the 60-day grace period.
This involves asking your employer to make an application for you for an EB-2 or EB-3 employment-based green card.
2. Marry a US Citizen
Some people consider this the easiest way of getting a green card. However, you must prove that your relationship is easy, and not a means of securing residency.
The process is quite rigorous and can involve interviews, background checks, and examination of documents you provide to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
So if you think you’ve got what it takes, and that you have a legitimate relationship, make it official, marry a US citizen!
3. Seek Asylum
This is another way of getting a Green card as an international student. This option is however only open to a certain set of international students. Students whose country is in a civil war, those who might be persecuted if they get back home because they belong to a particular ethnic group.
If you fall into any of the categories above, you can petition for asylum. You’re advised to consult an immigration lawyer as to the best way to present your case.
4. Win The Green Card Lottery
This lottery is held every year from October to November. The Electronic Diversity Visa Lottery is sometimes called the “green card lottery” and is a legitimate way of getting a green card. However, there’s no guarantee that you will get a green card through this means.
5. Participate In Military Service
Usually, people are not allowed to join the military if they don’t have a green card. Nonetheless, if you have been to the university for at least two years, you might be eligible for certain high-demand positions in the military.
And if that’s your case, you won’t be needing a green card. Speak to a recruiter on your campus about this possibility.
6. Become an Investor
Investing in the U.S economy is another way of getting a Green card. However, you must have a lot of money for this to be possible. This is because you’ll need to invest nothing less than $500k to $1M in a commercial enterprise and create more than 10 permanent jobs.
Able t do this, you will be given the EB-5 Visa. However, there are other criteria you must meet.