With the recent passage of the law in Florida that makes certain individuals who live in the state without proper documentation eligible for in-state tuition, many are likely poised to attend college in the fall. Meanwhile, there are other individuals who despite entering the country with a visa, must still pay out-of-state tuition. Two siblings who were born in England are facing that reality now.
The brother and sister came to the country as children, in 2004, when their parents moved to Florida from England, and bought both a business and a house. The family entered the United States via non-immigrant E-2 visas. Though during the 10 years in which the family has resided in the country, they could have pursued citizenship, the family did not initially plan to stay this long. There is not a time limit on the period of time they may stay in the country under that visa though at age 21, the children can no longer be in the country under the E-2 visa. At that time they need to obtain an F-1 visa. They can use that visa to attend college.
There is a $10,000 difference in the tuition rates at the college the siblings would like to attend, with the out-of-state tuition coming in at almost $33,000 a year including room and board and fees. Because as dependents, the two are unable to work under an E-2 visa, they claim they have been unable to earn any money to help pay for the expense. Rather than secure an F-1 visa and pay the higher tuition, the brother and sister have instead decided to return to England and attend college there.
As this situation illustrates, families that are in the U.S. on an E-2 visa and do not have a specific timeframe for returning to their home country, may benefit from consulting with an immigration lawyer.
Source: Bradenton Herald, “East Manatee students, Florida residents for 10 years on parents' visa, can't qualify for full in-state tuition,” Sabrina Rocco, June 29, 2014