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Everything you need to know to study in the USA in 2020

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Data from the Open Doors report, released by the International Institute of Education (IIE) and the US Department of State, revealed that Brazil is 9th in the ranking of countries sending most students to the United States in the 2018/2019 school year.

Last year, more than 16,000 Brazilians studied in the US — a 9.8% increase over 2017/2018. Despite this growth, if compared to previous years, the figure still does not exceed the 23,675 foreign students enrolled for the 2014/2015 school year, a record so far.

The United States is the second largest student-receiving country in the world, second only to Canada. In the 2018/2019 academic year, the US reached a record high, with a total of 1,095,299 international students in the country.

Pedro Drummond, Master of Financial and Banking Law from Boston University and a partner at Drummond Advisors, points out that “studying in the United States brings a very comprehensive personal and professional growth. From an academic point of view, American universities are the most advanced and developed in the world. In addition, there are visa categories that offer advantages to those who graduated in the USA. The H-1B visa, for example, has a specific quota for masters or doctorates candidates in the US.”

The lawyer also points out that “after completing their studies in the country, the foreigner usually gets an automatic work permit called ‘OPT’ (Optional Practical Training), which ranges from 12 to 36 months. In STEM areas (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) there is a 36-month automatic work permit after the course. You leave college and you can start work.”

If you want to join the list of Brazilian students in the United States or are interested in the subject, here are some important points to consider before and during your student exchange to avoid headaches.

1: Choose the correct visa

Choosing the type of visa is of utmost importance for those planning to study in the US. Count on the assistance of an expert immigration attorney to avoid unnecessary mistakes and expenses. Here are the main student visa categories:

F – Students who have been accepted or enrolled in a US school or university

J – People who participate in exchange or training programs

M – Individuals studying at a professional or non-academic institution, such as vocational colleges and community colleges

B – Visitor/tourist visa, which can be used for short courses

2: You will pay some fees

Visa Application Fee – The Machine-Readable Visa fee (MRV fee) must be paid by applicants of all types of visa except A and G visas. This fee must be paid in advance, regardless of whether the visa is granted or not.

I-901 Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) – A fee that all F-1 and M-1 students and most J-1 exchange visitors must pay before obtaining the status F, M, or J. The fee will support the administrative expenses of the SEVP (Student and Exchange Visitor Program) and SEVIS. Students pay this fee after receiving Form I-20, “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status”.

3: Be prepared for taxation and Substantial Presence Testing

As a rule, foreigners holding student visas are exempt from the Substantial Presence Test — a calculation that counts the length of stay on US territory — and therefore exempt from taxation in the United States. However, the US authorities are recently checking students who eventually do not exactly fit the exemption, questioning their presence in the country and levying taxes.

4: Important Forms

Form 8843 (Statement for Exempt Individuals and Individuals with a Medical Condition) and Form 1040NR or 1040NR-EZ (US Nonresident Alien Income Tax Return)

These forms are mandatory for all students. They exclude foreigners from the Substantial Presence Test and keep them up to date with Internal Revenue Services.

Planning is the keyword when it comes to studying abroad. To do so, count on expert assistance and enjoy all that this experience can provide for you.

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