Older Students Have a Harder Time Obtaining F-1 Student Visas, Due to USCIS Guidelines

Immigration officers handling F-1 Student visa applications are trained in finding people who do not fit the category of a typical student, especially when looking at the applicant’s age.

In life, it is fairly common for people who are well past their teenage years or twenties to want to further their education by obtaining a college degree. Maybe they were not able to before due to financial constraints or other personal reasons or circumstances beyond their control. But if you are older and hoping to pursue a college degree in the United States, anticipate that it will be more difficult than others getting a visa for this purpose. An applicant's age, and any other factors that show education was not previously a high priority may not be in their favor.

Applicants for an F-1 student visa who are much older than the average student are up against the tendency of the U.S. government to believe that most people are just looking for a way to enter the U.S. so they can stay permanently. As a matter of fact, an intent to return to your home country after the end of your college education is part of the basic eligibility requirements for the F-1 visa.

Anyone who applies must prove that he or she is genuinely interested in and qualified to pursue the activities for which the specific visa was designed and will leave the U.S. at the end of the duration of their stay.

USCIS has specifically listed among its student visa fraud indicators, “age is not commensurate with education sought” and “education request does not correlate with beneficiary’s employment background.” In actuality, you would be applying through the U.S. Department of State instead of USCIS, because you are coming from overseas, but this USCIS likely reflects a common pattern seen by the State Department as well.

If an economic setback was the reason for your delay and the ability to afford your period of time as a student in the U.S. could be an issue, as well. Take note that you will need to cover tuition, room and board and other living expenses. This will require a huge amount of savings at most of the U.S. colleges and universities, and you will not be permitted to work in the U.S. to help cover these costs. (An on-campus job is acceptable to U.S. immigration authorities, and you might be eligible for paid training work, but these do not tend to pay much.

This being said, it does not mean that it is an impossible feat to get an F-1 Student visa. In most cases you will likely need an attorney to help you in materializing your arguments as to why you deserve a student visa at an older age as well as preparing your visa application. Your lawyer will guide you in providing supporting documentation, including oral statements, showing the depth of your interest in studying in the U.S. along with reasons you were unable to further your studies when you were younger.

Time to Hire an Immigration Attorney

It is never too late to pursue an education when you are older. Even if you do not have everything you need when applying for an F-1 student visa, Gambacorta Law Office can definitely help you weigh out your options at getting an education in the U.S. Call us at 847 443 9303 to schedule an appointment today.