COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA
DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
P. O. BOX 2120
RICHMOND, VIRGINIA 23218-2120
SUPTS. MEMO. NO. 117
July 11, 1997

INFORMATIONAL

TO: Division Superintendents
FROM: Richard T. La Pointe
Superintendent of Public Instruction
SUBJECT: F-1 Student Visas

 
  Questions have been raised concerning students with F-1
  visas.  As of November 30, 1996, the Illegal Immigration
  Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 prohibited
  any alien from receiving an F-1 student visa if the alien
  was coming to attend a public elementary school, grades
  Kindergarten through 8, or a publicly-funded adult education
  program.  Students in grades 9 through 12 must pay the
  unsubsidized, per capita cost of education, in advance, to
  be eligible for an F-1 student visa and are limited to a
  period not to exceed one year.  Attached are excerpts from a
  Fact Sheet developed by the U.S. Department of Justice,
  Immigration and Naturalization Service.  

  You may want to share this information with your school
  board attorney.  If you have questions concerning this
  issue, please contact the Office of Public Affairs for the
  Immigration and Naturalization Service at (202) 514-2648.  I
  hope this will provide you with some useful information
  concerning the Act.

  RTL:je

  Attachment:  A hard copy of this memo and its attachment
               will be sent to the superintendent's office.



                           FACT SHEET

             Changes Affecting F-1 Student Visas

     Who is eligible to attend public school in the United
     States on an F-1 student visa?

     The Immigration and Nationality Act defines the F-1
     non-immigrant alien as one who has not abandoned their
     residence in a foreign country and who is a bona fide
     student coming temporarily and solely to the United
     States to pursue a course of student at a recognized
     institution of education approved by the Attorney
     General to accept foreign students. 

     The 1996 changes to the immigration law prohibit
     attendance at a public elementary school or publicly-funded
     adult education program, and restrict attendance
     at a public secondary school to a cumulative period not
     to exceed one year while requiring reimbursement of the
     unsubsidized, per-capita costs of education.

     Why are elementary and secondary school students being
     turned away at the border ports of entry?

     A student seeking entry into the United States with an
     F-1 student visa after November 30, 1996 must meet the
     requirements of the Illegal Immigration Reform and
     Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996.  The new law
     includes provisions that eliminate issuance of F-1
     visas to students attending public elementary school
     (kindergarten through grade 8) or publicly funded
     adult-education programs, regardless of ability to pay. 
     The law also requires that public secondary school
     students pay, in advance, the full unsubsidized per-capita
     cost of their education, and limits attendance
     to a cumulative total of 12 months.

     Why are students with valid multiple-entry F-1 student
     visas being refused entry?

     An unexpired, multiple-entry F-1 student visa is valid
     only if the alien remains eligible for the visa.  Many
     aliens may have been eligible for an F-1 student visa
     prior to the changes to the law that became effective
     November 30, 1996.  By leaving the United States, even
     for one day, the F-1 visa holer must reapply for
     admission at a port of entry, and at that time, the F-1
     student must meet the requirements of the changes to
     the law.

     Who sets the levels of tuition that must be reimbursed?

     The local public school system is responsible to
     determine the unsubsidized, per-capita cost of
     education at its schools.  Student visas for attendance
     at a public school are restricted under the new law to
     students in grades 9 through 12 who have paid the
     unsubsidized, per capita cost of education and for a
     period not to exceed one year.




     How can a student continue his or her education at
     their U.S. school if unable to enter the U.S?   

     The law does to allow an alien to be admitted with an
     F-1 student visa to attend a public elementary school
     or publicly funded adult education program.  This
     includes aliens formerly attending such academic
     programs who seek readmission to the United States to
     resume their studies.  Aliens who seek to continue
     their education may transfer to a private elementary or
     secondary school, or privately-funded adult education
     program.

     What are the penalties for continuing to go to school?

     The provisions of the new law apply as of November 30,
     1996 to aliens who seek an F-1 visa or a change in
     their immigration status while already in the United
     States.  Aliens in the United States on F-1 visas who
     do not apply for an extension or plan to leave the
     United States and apply or readmission are not affected
     by the changes.  Aliens admitted as F-1 students to
     attend private secondary schools who transfer to a
     public school and who do not reimburse the school for
     the full, unsubsidized cost of education are in
     violation of their status and are subject to a five-year
     bar for readmission to the United States.

     Are Mexican students being targeted by this change in
     the law?

     The new provisions affecting student visas apply to all
     aliens, regardless of nationality.