If you are in the U.S. under a nonimmigrant visa, you may be wondering if you and your children are legally allowed to attend school. The good news is that many visa categories allow both you and your dependents to seek an education, and that you do not need to change your status to do so.

If you are the child or spouse of someone who is currently in the United States under one of these visa categories, you do NOT have to change visa status to attend school in CA:

  • A Visa – For government officials, employees and other diplomatic visitors
  • E Visa – For investors involved in international trade
  • G Visa For representatives and employees of international organizations
  • H Visa – For temporary workers
  • I Visa For foreign media representatives
  • J Visa – For exchange visitors
  • L Visa – For intracompany transferees

The rules for students who are already in the U.S. under academic visas—such as the F student visa or M visa for vocational students—may attend elementary, middle or high school only. Any academic students who wish to attend college courses or any post-secondary school full-time must apply for a change of status.

If you have not received approval from USCIS to attend school, it is vital that you do not attempt to take courses while in the United States. Any changes in your activity could violate the terms of your non-immigrant status and you could be deported from the United States—possibly barred from returning in the future.

Vaughan de Kirby
California Immigration Attorney
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