By Rajkamal Rao
|Image courtesy: CIO.com|
There are many H-1B parents whose rising senior children on H-4B visas face a dilemma about how to protect their immigration status and still attend college.
Immigration stages and the priority date
- The Labor Certification or PERM stage (Application for Permanent Employment Certification).
- The Immigrant Petition (I-140) stage.
- The Adjustment of Status (I-485) stage.
What should the immigration status of the children be when they enter college?
The process to convert to F-1 is fairly straightforward.
- Once the student sends in a deposit to a college and locks in a seat, the student should request the college to process a conversion to an F-1 visa. The University of Missouri has published an excellent checklist of the process. Rochester also has a detailed guide.
- This conversion may be especially necessary if the H-1B parent becomes unemployed and is forced to leave the U.S when the student is in college on a H-4 visa. Job loss may even occur when the student is a rising high school senior. Luckily, U.S. law allows for high school students at public high schools to study for an entire academic year on an F-1 visa, although, the student must technically reimburse the high school for tuition expenses.
- If a student is younger and the parent has to return to their home country, the student can still convert to an F-1 visa but switch to a private high school. Students on an F-1 visa can pursue a full secondary education – and even earn a diploma – but only at U.S. private high schools.
Scholarships and financial aid for H-1B children
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