Many young, eager foreign nationals come to the U.S. to obtain an education. Once they are accepted to a school and obtain a valid, student visa, they come to the U.S. with the hopes of obtaining an education that would lead to a brighter future. Many times, international students will pay a premium to attend these school, but with the hopes of a better career, many foreign nationals pay the inflated rates.
There are many different types of student visas: there is the F, J, and the M visas. The F-1 student visa allows a foreign national to come to the U.S. as a full-time student at an accredited educational institution. An M-1 student visa are for students who are studying in a vocational or other nonacademic program. J-1 visas are for exchange students who are pursuing a full course of study at a postsecondary, accredited institution.
Whichever, visa applies to you, it is important to understand the nuances of being a student in the U.S. Many students are not advised of many of the stringent requirements that come with being a student. For example, students must adhere to the rules requiring school enrollment, completion of the program within the allotted timeframe, and not working without authorization. Any violation of any of these requirements will mean the person would have violated their nonimmigrant status, and start accruing unlawful presence. This is the case, even if still attending school.
The problem with accruing unlawful presence, whether or not it is to your knowledge or not, is that it can have detrimental effects on any plans to permanently immigrate or remain in the U.S. The law states that anyone who has accrued more than 180 consecutive days, but less than one year, and subsequently departs the U.S. will be barred from returning to the U.S. for three years. If the unlawful time in the U.S. exceeds 1 year in the aggregate, the person will not be able to return for ten years.
As you can see, just attending the school you were supposed to can still have grave consequences on your status in the U.S. The laws and policies are constantly changing, so it is important more now than ever to remain on top of all the new information or speak to an attorney that can help you through your special circumstances.