A violation of immigration status while visiting the U.S. could cost you the benefits of your status, and you may even lose your ability to work in the U.S.

As an F-1 academic student or a J-1 exchange visitor who is temporarily residing in the United States, you are required to adhere to a certain set of standards in order to protect your status in the U.S. Any person who violates an immigration rule while visiting the U.S. as an exchange student or visitor could lose the benefits of their status, and even lose their ability to work in the U.S.

If your immigration status benefits are currently on the line because of some sort of violation, then we urge you to contact a New York immigration lawyer at Pozo Goldstein, LLP for help. Rather than have your SEVIS record terminated and your authorization to study in the U.S. cancelled, you can instead work with an attorney at our firm. Together, we can work toward returning you to a valid immigration status.

Types of Violations

There are many different types of violations that could put your immigration status in jeopardy. Depending on the nature of the circumstances specific to your case, and the requirements expected of you as a visitor to the U.S., any number of conditions could result in a violation of your immigration status. Some common types of violations include:

  • Attending a school / program other than the one for which you were authorized to attend (as decreed by the I-20 or IAP-66 that you were issued in order to enter the U.S.)
  • Failure to report your arrival at the start of the program
  • Failure to enroll or maintain full-time status as a student
  • Failure to obtain the proper employment authorization for an off-campus job
  • Failure to maintain required health insurance coverage
  • Failure to keep your passport up to date
  • Failure to file for a program extension after the program completion date has passed
  • Failure to attend school during the academic school year
  • Failure to report a change of address
  • Again, the requirements to which you will be held can depend on your program of enrollment. Some schools and programs differ in their expectations, which is why it is so important to ensure that you fully understand the expectations of enrolling in any type of study as an exchange student in the U.S.

    What are the consequences?

    Given the fact that different programs issue a different set of requirements to the students who enroll in them, you can also expect for the consequences to vary slightly as well. In general, the international student advisor of your program is legally obligated to report any type of violation of status that is committed by a student under his or her watch.

    When a violation is reported, your SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) record can be terminated, at which time you will be expected to immediately depart from the country. Typically, very little grace period is allowed for at this time, although most programs will provide for approximately 15 days to prepare for departure.

    As if the consequence of being asked to leave the country are not enough, immigrants who are found in violation of their status can also suffer additional consequences as well. For example, the termination of a SEVIS record will simultaneously end the immigration status of any dependents who accompanied you to the U.S. on an F-2 or J-2 status. Other consequences can include:

  • Denial of a new application for an F-1 or J-1 visa
  • Denial of a an application for any other type of visa
  • Denial of application for future benefits, i.e. off-campus employment authorization
  • Denial of re-entry into the United States
  • How to Return to a Valid Immigration Status

    If your SEVIS record has been terminated, the reinstatement of a valid immigration status can be both costly and time-consuming; however, it can be much more effectively completed under the skillful guidance of an attorney at Pozo Goldstein, LLP.

    In order to successfully return to a valid immigration status, you must also involve the international student advisor from your program. Because programs vary, your advisor will need to review the options that are available to you at this time. In general, there are two ways to return to valid immigration status:

  • Petition for reinstatement: If you are determined as eligible, you can submit a petition for reinstatement to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Eligibility for reinstatement requires your ability to demonstrate that your violation of status occurred as a result of circumstances that were beyond your control. If the USCIS approves your application, then your termination can be removed from your immigration record and you can be reinstated to a lawful F-1 or J-1 status.
  • Re-enter the U.S. on a new SEVIS record: Persons who are deemed ineligible to apply for reinstatement can be issued a new I-20 or DS-2019 form that will be based on a new SEVIS record. At this point you will then be permitted to exit and re-enter the U.S. Once you have validly re-entered the country you will be effectively returned to valid immigration status as well. The traveling process tends to be quicker and more controllable than petition for reinstatement.
  • Contact Pozo Goldstein, LLP

    If a violation of your immigration status has jeopardized your ability to remain in the U.S. lawfully, then you need to take immediate legal action. Under the guidance of a proven immigration professional such as that which can be found at our law office, you can feel infinitely more confident in the legal actions that are made in an effort to secure your status in the country. Therefore, we encourage you to contact our firm today.