In the realm of U.S. immigration, the increasing backlog and prolonged appointment wait times have driven individuals to make choices that carry profound consequences. One such scenario which is unfortunately becoming increasingly common is the misuse of B-2 Tourist visas by individuals attending or enrolling their children in public schools in the United States.
A source of confusion stems from the unequivocal right to public education granted to all children in the United States, irrespective of their immigration status. This well-intentioned policy, however, does not absolve individuals from the immigration repercussions of violating their status.
Enrolling children in public schools while on a B-2 Tourist visa is a direct violation, as explicitly outlined by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”), which states that attending s course of study, whether private or public, is a clear violation of their B-1 or B-2 status.
The consequences of this violation extend beyond immediate consequences, such as potential cancellation and revocation of the visa. More significantly, it will impact your ability to receive both non-immigrant and immigrant visas in the future.
Recognizing the gravity of these choices is essential for individuals and families who are considering making risky educational decisions by misusing B-2 Tourist visa.
Fortunately, alternatives exist that align with immigration regulations. Minor children, for instance, can pursue a change of status to F-1 student visas, applying for enrollment in private schools in the U.S. High school-aged students, while subject to stringent restrictions, can attend both private and public high schools.
However, adherence to specific regulations, including reimbursing the school system for the full per capita cost of public high school education, and a limit of 12 months of study, make it trickier to navigate.
The inherent risk of allowing your child to attend school on a B-1/B-2 visa without obtaining requisite permissions from USCIS or securing the appropriate visa from the consulate is substantial.
Often, we hear the justifications of knowing other individuals who committed the same error but were not caught or had no consequences. However, the desire to have children attend school in the United States is based on a hope for more opportunities in their future, which goes against unnecessary risk taking, both for the parent and the child. Believing you will be the exception proves the need for the rule.
If someone you know is currently planning on attending school here in the United States, contact one of our attorneys to so that they can ensure they are selecting the best option for their future. We offer telephonic, video, and in-person consultations at our offices in Orange, Riverside, San Diego, Fresno, Sacramento, and San Francisco, California; Phoenix, Arizona; Salt Lake City and Orem, Utah; and Boise, Idaho.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR(S)
Danny Chrisney is the managing lawyer at the Wilner & O’Reilly | Phoenix office. The son of a Guatemalan immigrant, Danny speaks fluent Spanish. Growing up in the Latino community of Southern California Danny saw how our nation’s immigration laws could shape the lives of those around him. Danny received his Juris Doctor degree from the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University where he graduated with Highest Pro Bono Distinction. While attending law school Danny worked with USCIS at the Phoenix Field Office. There he received a Certificate of Appreciation for his legal research. He was also able to work as a law clerk for the Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project, Children’s Division, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing legal services to unaccompanied minors and other refugees. He worked closely with Indigenous Guatemalan children in the areas of Asylum and Special Immigrant Juvenile Status.