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Expert James, Immigration Attorney
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I was enrolled in a community college as international student

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I was enrolled in a community college as international student with an F visa. I took a year off and my visa expired. I cannot go back to my country to renew my visa, but i want to take teh two courses i am missing to graduate. They do not want to receive my application. Can they deny me to finish my education because of this. There are hundreds of illegal immigrants in that college...

Thank you for using this service. I'll do my best to answer your questions as completely and honestly as I can. All I ask in return is that you give me a positive rating for my customer service. This is the only way I get credit for assisting you. If you feel the need to use "poor service" or "bad service," please ask follow-up questions instead, so that I can try to help you further. Please remember that the law sometimes does not have a satisfactory solution for your issue; unfortunately, this is something I cannot control.

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Unfortunately, yes, they can deny you enrollment. A student doesn't have a "right" to go to college, and so the college is not required by law to allow you to enroll and enter. It is the school's decision, based on their policies. I understand that there may be a lot of undocumented aliens at the school, but that is different than your situation in one very fundamental way. If I understand you correctly, you had an F-1 visa, but then you have fallen out of status, whereas the "illegal immigrant" you speak of are probably not documented at all.

Since the department of state has to authorize and credential the college to allow it to take on foreign students, if the college shows a pattern or practice of allowing out of status students who have violated their F-1 status to enroll even when they no longer hold F-1 status, the Department of State can turn around and take those credentials and authorization for sponsoring F-1 students away from the school. This has happened a lot in the past, and the school is probably just trying to protect itself.

Finally, because you are now out of status and have been for more than 5 months, the law does not provide you with a way to get back into F-1 status without leaving the US and getting a new visa. Note that you have not accrued unlawful presence, and so you are not subject to an automatic ban from re-entering the US. SO if you want to enroll back in school as an F-1 student, you will have to leave the US, get a new visa, and come back.

Again, the final decision to allow you to re-enroll is up to the school, and they have the ultimate authority to decide to do this. Probably with the history of overstay and failing to remain a lawful student, they decided it was not going to work out.

I'm very sorry. But please remember that I do not make up this information and I do not make the rules. I am only giving you information that is available, so please do not hold bad news against me. I am merely the messenger here.

Thank you for understanding.

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