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International Students & Scholars

by Hamid R. Kashani, Attorney at Law
Nov 07, 2018 (last modified Feb 11, 2019)

Important Notice to International Students.  See the New USCIS Unlawful Presence Rule for Students.

Historically, the United States has been the top education destination in the world, hosting nearly 25% of the international students worldwide. As of March of 2018, there were 1.21 million international students, representing nearly all countries of the world, in the United States attending over 8,744 institutions. 

Top 10 schools in the United States hosting international students were as follows:

# School Location Int'l Student
1 New York University New York, NY 16,960
2 University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA 14,644
3 Northeastern University Boston, MA 14,248
4 Columbia University New York, NY 12,785
5 University of Illinois Urbana, IL 11,474
6 Arizona State University Phoenix, AZ 11,239
7 Purdue University W. Lafayette, IN 10,798
8 Pennsylvania State University State College, PA 10,221
9 City University of New York New York, NY 9,160
10 Boston University Boston, MA 8,986

To enter the United States as an international student, the students must receive a visa. See Student Visa Types.  While in the United States, international student are required to comply with the terms of their visa. These terms usually require continual registration in full time studies and place restrictions on employment in the United States.

Image of a world map with students from all over the world

While the vast majority of international students return to their home country after completing their studies, a great number of them change status, secure employment, and eventually make the United States their home. A prerequisite to achieving this result is compliance with the terms of the student visa. Violations of visa restrictions would adversely affect the immigration benefits which may be otherwise available to international students.

WARNING. You must remember that student visas are nonimmigrant visas.  As a nonimmigrant visa holder you are required to maintain a permanent residence in your home country and intend to return to it upon the completion of your studies.  Failure to do so will be a violation of your nonimmigrant status. While you may "tentatively" intend to reside in the United States, if you receive permission from the USCIS upon a future application, legally you cannot form a present intention to stay in the United States indefinitely. If that is the case, do not mistakenly represent your future, prospective intentions as your present, actual intention.  This distinction is very important and you must carefully observe it.

Further, as a nonimmigrant you must always renew your passport at least six (6) months before its expiration.

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