You are here:

Immigration Issues/Tourist Visa to F1 Visa

Advertisement


Question
QUESTION: I have a valid tourist visa. I have got an admit in a US University and I also got an F1 Visa to attend the university. I would like to visit the university early. But in the F1 Visa, I cannot enter the US before 30 days of my program. In that case, can I enter US in the tourist visa mentioning that I am a prospective student and then convert my stay to my valid F1 Visa without leaving the country?

Thanks.

ANSWER: Hi,

You can enter on your unexpired tourist visa by showing the tourist visa page in your passport when you enter the U.S. Then an application to change status to F1 status can be filed with the USCIS, but it can take 3 or 4 months for approval after filing, and you cannot study in the interim while awaiting approval. In addition, it is generally recommended to wait at least 2 months after entering on one visa status before filing an application to change status with the USCIS in order to avoid "fraudulent entry" issues in the future.

On the other hand, you can enter on your tourist visa and if you are willing to depart the U.S. and enter the U.S. again, your next entry will be on F1 status if you show the F1 visa page in your passport when you enter the U.S. This option avoid having to file an application to change status within the U.S. and the disadvantages associated with that as noted in the first paragraph of our response.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hi Ajay,
  Thank you very much for your answer. Do I need to leave the US and re-enter even though I have a valid F1 Visa? Do I need to come back to my home country and then go again or can I go to canada and re-enter US?


Thanks.

Answer
Hi,

Yes, you would need to depart the U.S. again unless you want to file change of status application, with the problems that arise as noted in our earlier response. Going to Canada or Mexico may result in entry again in tourist visa if the immigration officer follows the "contiguous territory" rule and that is why travel to your home country or at least a country other than Canada or Mexico is recommended.

General information about the F1 category is here: www.h1b1.com/f1visa.htm

Immigration Issues

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


Ajay K. Arora

Expertise

I can answer your questions on employment and family-based U.S. Immigration Law. Expertise in various immigration categories includes the following: H-1B, L-1, O-1, PERM (labor certification), EB-1 to EB-3 I-140 employment-based immigrant petitions, family or fiance(e) or spousal sponsorship, visa extension or change of status, adjustment of status, naturalization (citizenship), etc.

Experience

Ajay K. Arora attended Pennsylvania State University and the University of Wales at Swansea (United Kingdom), and earned his law degree at Temple University School of Law, Philadelphia, in 1993. Mr. Arora has practiced Immigration Law since graduation and is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association since 1995.

Organizations
American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) full member since 1995.

Education/Credentials
Ajay K. Arora attended Pennsylvania State University and the University of Wales at Swansea (United Kingdom), and earned his law degree at Temple University School of Law, Philadelphia, in 1993. Mr. Arora has practiced Immigration Law since graduation and is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association since 1995.

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.