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Judith Ludwic
Judith Ludwic, Immigration Lawyer
Category: Immigration Law
Satisfied Customers: 28862
Experience:  34 years as practicing immigration attorney, with non-immigrant and immigrant visa experience.
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I am in the USA on a B2 visa which expires Feb and have

Customer Question

I am in the USA on a B2 visa which expires Feb and have requested an extension for another 6 months and have form I-797C showing it is being processed. I have asked for the extension as I am looking at schools (and why the B2 granted) and am now applying to a school. I want to stay til end of July, leave, and then re-enter on the F1 ready to study in the fall. I can enter 30 days or less before the course starts, which is Sept. I have submitted proof that I have a house in my home country, and a business, and that I am paid regardless of where I am. I have $30K in a local bank account. So ties to my country, and means to support the extension.
I am here with my child, who is doing distance education with his home country, so still a student, just not in the USA. He has now been granted international clearance to play his sport here.
I cannot think why they would not grant the B2 extension, so that we leave end of July and re-enter on the F1. But I like to have my ducks in a row.
Our flights to leave at end of B2 remain unchanged while I wait for the decision. I will change them to end of July if granted.
BUT if they do not grant it, can I leave when the B2 expires, with our flights already booked, and then re-enter as visitors. This is because my son can then play sports. If he has to return to his home country he misses June try outs for the team he wants to play for when we are here in August on the F1. I have been accepted onto the course so will definitely be studying here in Sept. There is no reason to think the F1 would not be granted as all costs paid for by my business overseas.
I would be re-entering in April for 3 months - to bridge the gap.
Other than wait and see, re the B2, are there any other options - we have a house rental here we had to take for 12 months, even though the B2 is 6 months, and if we can stay it is far easier.
We brought our dogs. If we have to leave, to come back again on the F1 in August, it means huge expenses, and distress to the animals.
How can I basically stay in the US from Feb to July/ August? - if the B2 was denied - or do you think it would likely be extended.
I did not mention my dogs or son's sports in the B2 application, just that I can change the Feb flights to end July, that I have funds, that I am not working here, that I would not start studies without the F1.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Immigration Law
Expert:  Judith Ludwic replied 1 year ago.

Hello my name is ***** ***** I am delighted to answer your questions today. I have 35 years experience as an immigration lawyer.

You have put so much in this question it is confusing me.

You are here on B2 which you entered with to look at schools and you got the B2 for that reason.

I don't understand why you were not able to enroll in classes within the 6 months you were given to look for school.

Also if you expire in February and it is taking 5 months minimum for USCIS to process the extension you cannot start classes until USCIS approves a COS for you to F1.

You would have to return to your home country for the F1 visa stamp anyway.

I need more clarity with what exactly you want. Are you asking to just stay until July and then you will leave?


Expert:  Judith Ludwic replied 1 year ago.

I sent you an offer for a telephone call because we may be able to be more clear with your objectives if we talk because you put in so many facts that will not be relevant to USCIS in their decision making process.


Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi ***** was to look for a school, there was never an intention to enrol in school during that period. Just choose one.They only have one starting point for the doctorate- the fall. There would be no way to find a school, enrol and then leave and re-enter on an F1 for Sept 2015 - I entered August 2015. The next enrolments / start of class is Sept 2016.I didnt know where I wanted to study- hence asking for six months to decide.I applied for the extension as I hadnt decided then- my research is specialised and I wanted the right supervisors as the right Uni. I said I needed more time to look for a school- and it would be likely to be X Uni, starting in the fall. But that I wanted to be here to be able to speak to potential supervisors. Was also waiting for the IERF recognition of quals to be able to even apply to a Uni.
As far as they know - as was the case when I applied for the extension to carry on looking for a school- I am still looking.
As far as I know they can grant an extension, I just can't have more than 12 months.Im not really understanding about enrolling while here- I can enroll apply for a place from anywhere. I need to be here to choose the right uni and supervisor/s. Face to face.Yes when I am accepted I have to have left the USA to reenter on the F1 in August.Yes, I want to be able to stay here until then. And why I applied to extend the B2.But I am asking if I can leave and re-enter under another tourist visa if B2 not extended. Or what you suggest.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
On what grounds will the B2 visa (marked as Looking for a School) be extended for a further 6 months.
Would that be an easier way to start.
Expert:  Judith Ludwic replied 1 year ago.

Bot***** *****ne you want an entire year here in the US on the grounds that you were looking for the school and it took you that amount of time to find the perfect match?

Second you want to get a change of status to F1 or you intend to return to home country for F1 visa stamping?

Apologies for my ignorance, this has got so much thrown into the mix I am not real clear.


Expert:  Judith Ludwic replied 1 year ago.

Good morning!

Would love to finish this up and give you the answers you need to procceed. Just need those last two questions answered so we are on the same page.


Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I know how to apply for F1 through a school and the process of re-entering the USA on the F1.
For whatever reason I am here I leave and then re-enter on the F1 for studies, and can enter no more than 30 day prior to class starting.I applied for B2 to look for a school. I have a very specialised field. I needed six months to travel the country and meet face to face with supervisors.
As I have still not found the ideal place, even though I have applied to one school, I want an extension, to carry on looking for a school.The application to extend the B2 is being processed. I understand that I can stay here until a decision is made, and then - if denied- I have to leave immediately.Application to extend:
I have shown strong ties to my country - I have a home and business there. I employ people there.
I have shown flights, showing I will return at the end of the extension- requested end of July.
I have said I would leave with those flights, and then re-enter under the F1 as school would start 30 days later.
I have shown bank account details showing substantial funds.
I have confirmed I am not and will not work under the B2.My concern was what to do if it is not granted.I need more time to look for a school, and it would be expensive and emotionally stressful to leave in Feb and then be back here anyway, on the F1, at end of July. We have our dogs with us and my son is now settled. Had I decided not to study here we would just be going back. But I am definitely going to study here.So I asked if the B2 is likely to be granted based on what I have told you.
I asked, if not, what I should do - can I come back after the B2 has expired. ie it expires Feb 11, we leave Feb 11. Can we come back again for 3 months (would be a regular tourist visa).But I already said all this, and you are firstly accusing me of 'wanting an entire year here find the perfect match' in a most agressive way. YES it is taking me a long time. I could do my doctorate in Australia for FREE and it is going to cost me $70K here in tuition fees alone. But I could not find a suitable supervisor in the whole of Australia. So now Im trying to find one in the USA. It is important to me. My work is ground breaking.I opened another question, with another lawyer as I found your attitude aggressive and less than helpful. You still don't seem to understand what I am asking. Yes, I gave you all the info- because if it was straight forward I could just use the info I have from the internet. I wanted a real person to give me advice based on my situation. And that is what the other lawyer has already started to do.I reframed the question - 'On what grounds will the B2 visa (marked as Looking for a School) be extended for a further 6 months' for you.So I will end this discussion and carry on with the other lawyer. I dont want to feel attacked or judged. I just want answers.
Im sure you would love to finish this up. And it is. I just didn't find it helpful.
Expert:  Judith Ludwic replied 1 year ago.

Thank you so much. Hopefully you have documented your school searches with copies of tickets, emails confirming interviews and exchanges with Dept heads, etc. If you have documented your efforts to date and have included substantive information about your future appointments and inquiries with other potential schools and the program heads that would be sufficient grounds for your an extension to be granted.

Also, any emails you have exchanged with supervisors at school programs you still want to investigate would be helpful to submit, even now with the request still pending. you are on solid ground

If you had included in your statement of reasons for extension this documentation and how specialized your area of expertise is, that would also assist an adjudicator in understanding you have special needs in terms of a PhD program.

You did not say what your filing date was but you can anticipate at least 5 months of being allowed to remain here from the date you filed the I-539. That is the backlog period for adjusdication.

Obviously, if denied, you have no options to remain. There is no appeal

I would like to address your frustration with me. I have been doing this for 35 years. Many of the facts you gave were irrelevant to the USCIS adjudicator making a decision, such as your dogs and your child's athletics. Those are not relevant to your original intent of coming here to investigate schools and muddled the primary issues I needed to focus on to give you a solid and professional answer. My most sincere apologies for any undue anxiety I may have added to your already stressed state of mind. It was not my intent. I am a nit-picker and my professional ethics make me question anything I am not absolutely clear on. After all, this is a HUGE decision which will affect your life forever. I want to make sure I answer you with confidence that I totally understand your circumstances, needs, objectives, and all other relevant factors. Please forgive my quiries. They were with the best of intentions.

I trust that is what you want, a lawyer who looks at the RELEVANT facts that an officer at USCIS is going to review in coming to a conclusion. Giving you an "off the cuff" answer just to tell you what you may want to hear is wrong and unethical. I take pride in my work, hence the aggravating follow-up questions.


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