US immigration laws for Canadian students

People in British Columbia who plan to study in the United States might have questions about the application process and the required documents. Under U.S. immigration laws, Canadians who want to be a part of an exchange program or study at a United States education facility can do so without a visa. However, there are other essential documents to obtain.

Before any other steps are taken, the student must obtain a Certificate of Eligibility from the exchange program, school or university he or she plans to attend. This certificate will then allow the student to be registered with the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) and receive an assigned SEVIS number. SEVIS is a U.S. government internet-based system to keep track of non-immigrant students and exchange program visitors along with their dependents.

Upon receipts of the assigned SEVIS number, the student must pay a fee for registration, proof of which will be required by the border control officials at the border crossing. Along with his or her Canadian passport, other required documents include the original Certificate of Eligibility and proof of payment of the SEVIS fee. Furthermore, U.S. border officials will need evidence of the student's ability to pay not only the study fees but also living expenses for the time he or she will be in the United States. Proof of ties to British Columbia or another Canadian province or territory will also be required.

Dealing with the applications and gathering of documents can be a daunting prospect, but help is available. A lawyer with extensive knowledge and experience in dealing with U.S. immigration laws and procedures can answer any questions the student might have, and assist with the application for a Certificate of Eligibility and other necessary documents. The support and guidance of legal counsel can simplify the entire process.

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