Visa is a permit placed in your passport by a U.S. Embassy or Consulate official that gives you permission to travel to the U.S. There are many different categories of visas. The visa given to you is determined by the purpose of your trip to the U.S. Each visa category has a set of Department of Homeland Security, DHS, regulations that govern the activities you may engage in while in the U.S. Almost all visa categories allow a person to attend school either full or part-time. The length of time required to obtain a visa and the method of applying vary at each U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Check with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for information on the process currently in effect.
Student Visa (F-1 or M-1)
LCC offers programs that meet the requirements of the F-1 (academic study) and M-1 (vocational study) student visas. You should know that a student must follow certain DHS regulations to obtain and keep their student visa. You must:
Declare a program of study and make progress toward completion of that program each semester;
Complete at least 12 credits each semester and complete two semesters each year;
Maintain a cumulative 2.0 (C) grade point average;
Keep the school advised of your U.S. address.
The I-20 form must be presented to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate to obtain a student visa.
Prospective Student Visa (B-2)
Under certain circumstances an individual might wish to personally visit one or more U.S. colleges to complete admission, inspect facilities, or for a personal interview. Because admission has not yet been granted, the schools cannot issue an I-20 form so the prospective student visa should be requested at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Be sure to inform the U.S. Embassy or Consulate that the purpose of your trip is to visit a college or university. This allows a limited period of time to complete admission and, while in the United States, apply for a change-of-status to a student visa. Warning B visa holders will not be allowed to pursue a course of study, until the DHS has approved the students application to change status.
Visitor (B-1 or B-2)
The visitor (business or tourist) visa allows school attendance for language or recreational courses. Those individuals who intend to be full-time students or who intend to complete an academic or vocational program must return home and apply for a F1 student visa from their home country
WT status means that you were allowed to enter the U.S. for a short visit without a visa. This status cannot be changed to a visa status while in the United States. In many cases, school enrollment is prohibited by DHS regulations for persons with WT status. You can arrange for school admission while in the United States in WT status, but you will need to exit the United States to your home country, obtain a student visa, and re-enter in time for the start of classes.
Other visa categories and their regulations are too numerous for this publication. Almost all visa categories allow a person to attend school either full or part-time. However, school admission is not automatic; you must meet the requirements for admission as established by the school. If you have questions about your visa category and LCC attendance, please contact the Admissions Office and our staff will be happy to assist you.
Canadian citizens may enter the United States as students with the I-20 form and a copy of their financial resources documents. A passport is not required.
The I-20 form is issued with the acceptance letter to students in the United States who already have the F-1 or M-1 student visa. I-20 forms and photocopies of financial documents are issued to applicants outside the United States with the acceptance letter. Students in the United States who intend to apply for a change of visa to F-1 or M-1 will receive the I-20 form during a personal interview with a Designated School Official (DSO) after admission has been granted.
I-20 forms are never issued before admission is approved. I-20 forms, in accordance with DHS regulations, are mailed directly to the student unless the student has named a personal representative (see Personal Representative section).
In the United States, the spouse (wife or husband) and children under age 21 of an individual are called dependents. Individuals entering the United States on the student visa (F-1 or M-1) are eligible to apply at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate to bring their dependents with them. Or, the dependents can apply later at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate to travel to the United States to join the student. Dependents receive the F-2 or M-2 visa. The student (or applicant if not yet admitted) must show that financial resources are available to support any dependents brought to the United States. Dependents, according to DHS regulations, may not work under any circumstances. For additional information on bringing dependents to the U.S., write or call the Admissions Office for International Student Fact Sheet #20, ?How to Apply for Permission to Bring F-1/M-1 Dependents to the United States.
When your purpose for remaining in the United States has changed
from your original purpose, you will need to request a change of visa
status from the USDHS. This is usually referred to as change-of-status.
For example, a student's dependent in the United States with a F-2 visa
might decide to begin study toward an associate degree and thus need a
If you want to apply for a change-of-status while in the United States to the F-1 or M-1 visa, Lansing Community College can assist you, but it is the USDHS that makes the decision to approve or deny your request. You must first obtain admission to LCC by following the directions for F-1 or M-1 student visa admission. After admission, an appointment will be scheduled for you to meet with a DSO who will explain the USDHS form required to request change-of-status. The USDHS currently charges $290 to process this form.
You must apply to the USDHS for your change-of-status at least three day before your current visa expires. It can take several months for your change of visa status request to be processed by the USDHS. However, you can remain in the United States while your request is being considered, even if your current visa expires during this time.
Some visa categories (look above) are not eligible to change status while in the United States. If you have questions about your particular situation, please contact our office for additional assistance.
International Admissions - Related Links:
Gannon Bldg, Room 203
Phone: (517) 483-1200
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Monday - Thursday: 9am - 6pm
Friday: 9am - 4pm