Lived in America for most of my life, but still on a visa.

I’m a high school student right now who’s on an H4 visa. This visa prevents me from doing lots of things, like getting a job or internship, start a business, or get federal aid like FAFSA. I’ll have to transfer to an F-1 visa before I’m 21 so I can stay in America and continue in my college, but I don’t know if my current situation would make them reject me. I know that if the interviewer believes that I would want to stay in the country after my studies, but it might seem exactly like that since I’ve lived here fore most of my life, and my parents live here as well. Would this prevent me from being able to get a student visa?

Many college kids do switch from an H4 to an F1, but you are correct that to get the F1 you have to state that you intend to return to your home country. There are students who are on F1s for years.

Really, what choice do you have? You can stay on the H4 but you’ll have to leave when you turn 21.

A consular officer explained the “no immigration intent” policy to me like this: they can issue non-immigrant visas to applicants with demonstrated immigration intent as long as the applicant demonstrates that they do not intend to immigrate on the current trip.

Generally speaking, it seems that change-of-status applications are decided in the applicant’s favor more often than consular visa applications. You may prefer to avoid all international travel while you’re in F-1 status so that you don’t have to subject yourself to the uncertainties of a consular visa interview.

You’ll want to give some thought to the best timing for applying for a change-of-status from H-4 to F-1. The earlier you apply for F-1 status, the earlier you can start working. (E.g. you must complete a full academic year in F-1 status before you’re entitled to summer internships on OPT.) On the flip side, some public universities will force you to pay out-of-state tuition when change to F-1 status.

It would be worth paying a competent immigration attorney for an hour’s consult if you can afford it (IMHO) to walk you through your options, timing, etc. Even the savvy posters here don’t have the benefit of understanding your family situation, country of origin, etc. This is an instance where you get what you pay for- and you need competent advice so you don’t get trapped in a Catch-22 situation…

Agree that OP needs competent legal advice.

Unfortunately, cost might be an issue as it may take longer than just a couple of hours of an attorney’s time.

I am not suggesting using the attorney now (which for sure is more than a few hours) but just to get a consult- have an expert lay out the options, timeline, pros and cons.

Then go away and chew on it. Too much is at stake- and there are few “do-overs” in the immigration process.