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How can I enter the country with a valid F-1 visa and a pending I-526 application?

Will I have trouble entering the U.S. with my valid F-1 visa and I-20 form after I file an I-526 application? What documents do I need to bring with me to avoid being declined to enter at the border?

Answers

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    A Olusanjo Omoniyi

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    The fact that your I-526 is pending is an indication of intent to migrate into the U.S. It is not unusual that this fact can become an issue, as it usually does when occasion warrants such consideration. Make sure you take with you all documents related to your academic admission along with any materials relating to the I-526 petition, just as well make full disclosure if any questions is raised on either subject.

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    Lynne Feldman

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    You will need to convince them of your intent to return to consular process your immigrant case.

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    Daniel A Zeft

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    You may have difficulties being admitted to the U.S. in F-1 status after you file an I-526 petition.

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    Marko Issever

    EB-5 Broker Dealer
    Answered on

    You should not have a problem, as there are many students with valid F-1 visas who later on apply for the I-526. If there is any questioning on your intentions at the border, tell the officer that you are coming to the U.S. for educational purposes and you intend to return home at the end of your studies. If he asks you about your outstanding I-526 petition, you can inform him that you have all the intention to return to your home country and wait for the I-526 approval there in case your petition is not approved while you are in the U.S. with your valid F-1 visa. If the country of your birth is experiencing retrogression and you cannot apply for a conditional green card, you might need to go back even if your I-526 is approved once your visa period expires. You just need to explain to the officer that while your long-term intention is to permanently immigrate to the U.S., your short-term goal is to obtain a U.S. education and return to your home country. Discuss with your immigration attorney the exact wording as to how you should respond to the officer at the border to make sure that there is no misunderstanding.

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    Hassan Elkhalil

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    It really depends on the officer! The F-1 visa is non-immigrant intent type of visa and the I-526 is an immigrant visa. I have seen cases go both ways: enter the U.S. with no problem and others are returned due to dual intent!

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    Bernard P Wolfsdorf

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    If the officer asks whether you have filed for an EB-5, you must be honest. To my knowledge we have not seen students turned away merely because they have filed an I-526. This is particularly so if you from a retrogressed country. Make sure you explain and, in fact, do not file to adjust status. If you immigrant visa process abroad, that is usually better.

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    Charles Foster

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    You can apply for admission with a valid F-1 student visa, but make sure that if asked, you have fully disclosed that you have an I-526 petition filed. The fact that you filed such petition will, at the very least, be an issue as to whether or not you&#$39re a bona fide F-1 student, given the fact that an F-1 student must intend to return to their home country upon completion of their studies. There's a concept of dual intent where you can say while you want to study, and if true, you plan to return home, and only later apply for your immigrant visa once the petition is approved, and emphasize the length of time that may take.

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    BoBi Ahn

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Immigration can always question you on your non-immigrant intent at any entry, but you should be fine to enter with a valid F-1 visa. If the immigration officer has questions regarding intent or having filed an immigrant petition, you can always provide proof of your current intent to study with a long-term plan for immigrating.

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