Things to Consider & In the Event Of


Home > Policy Manual > Volume 2 – Nonimmigrants > Part A – Nonimmigrant Polices and Procedures

Things to Consider

Creative NonFiction by Wendy Newbury

Volume 2 – Non-Immigrants

Part F – Students (F)

                  Chapter 1 – History and Background

Chapter 1   

A.  The F non-immigrant visa is for non-citizens studying in the U.S., allowing entry for full-time students.

  • The sole purpose of being in the United States is to complete a program of study before returning to their native country.
    • International students like your parents fall under this category when they arrive in America for the first time via sponsorship. In their first picture, they stand side by side, your dad in a retro tee, mom in a collared white blouse and dark jeans. They beam, holding a poster that reads WELCOME TO AMERICA!

B. Birth citizenship, protected by the constitution regardless of nationality, is granted only to those born on U.S. soil, like you.

  • [1] It does not guarantee citizenship or permanent residency for your non-citizen parents who know this when you are born into the Pacific Northwest chill of February, one year into their studies.
    • You are their miracle baby. Not because of where you are born, but because they never thought you could exist.

C.  Once non-immigrant students fulfill their purpose or complete their stay, they must either change their status for permanent residency before visa expiration or leave within the assigned visa timeframe.

  • Your parents don’t think twice and choose to leave after their four years are complete.

D.  While there’s no law mandating citizen children to stay in the U.S., non-citizen parents, often with no long-term intention of staying, typically take their citizen children back to their native country without impacting their citizenship.

  • Rightfully so, your parents take you with them. You don’t remember anything of America, save for the pictures in your parents’ photo albums you comb through endlessly for four years.
  • Maybe you’ll travel there for college someday when you’re grown up, independent, and stylish like Denise Huxtable in The Cosby Show you watch every evening on the white missionary’s TV.
  • You don’t know how helpful or unhelpful this page will be to you yet….these facts are just things to consider.

U.S. Citizenship And Immigration Services. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services USCIS. United States, 2004. Web Archive. Retrieved from Library of Congress, <>.

[1]  Though some who don’t know the circumstance deem you an anchor baby, this doesn’t discourage your parents.

Travel.State.Gov  > International Travel > Emergencies > What the Department of State Can and Can’t Do

In The Event Of

Creative NonFiction by Wendy Newbury

A crisis, the priority is…

1. U.S. Citizens
2. Internationals

How do I leave a country during an emergency?

It is advised that you leave before a crisis.

  • Your parents don’t contemplate leaving until it’s too late. They watch international neighbors pack and board up their homes, all of them advising they do something with their American girl. 

How does the Department of State help U.S. citizens in another country?

During a crisis abroad, such as a civil war in your case, the U.S. government prioritizes assistance for U.S. citizens, generally refraining from providing evacuation help to non-U.S. citizens, except for special family circumstances.

  • Your special family circumstance is that you have no family in America, and at seven, are too young to travel alone across the world. Your parents rely on friends who agree to take you in.
  • Your family has additional special circumstances, in fact, all the desperate people standing outside the embassy have special circumstances, but not all meet the criteria and regulations. You’re blessed to get at least one exception.

What about my family and friends who are not U.S. citizens? 

For American citizens under 16, one non-citizen parent or guardian is allowed to accompany the minor, provided they are visa-qualified for the safe haven country and stay within the designated timeframe.

  • Exceptions are made only because of the blue passport in your father’s hand. He uses it to get through the crowds and reach the front of lengthy lines, but it can’t do everything for your new family of four. It exists to accommodate only you.

Non-citizen siblings are also not eligible for evacuation assistance.

  • You blame yourself for having this privilege when your newborn sister does not. You swear if you were in control, things would be different. You blame the only thing you can, America.                         

What happens during a U.S. government-assisted evacuation? 

The U.S. government helps evacuate citizens during crises by working with host governments and other agencies. They arrange special transportation, like chartered flights or non-commercial means, when local conditions are challenging but safe movement is possible.

  • Your mother refuses to leave your sister behind, no matter what your father suggests, so you and your father evacuate by air – one of the last flights out. You hate the way planes smell and make your ears buzz and pop, and you grow to hate airports too (until college of course).
  • In flight, you ponder your return home and why your mother called the strange trip just a “short vacation”.

Will the U.S. government pay for my evacuation if it is needed?

Coordinate and cover living expenses or onward transportation.

  • Your father spends the family’s entire savings to get you both to a neighboring country. There, he waits for money from friends in America, the friends you’ve seen in the picture albums. You don’t know them, they look nothing like you, but they will provide your new home away from home.

Those evacuated on U.S. government-coordinated transport, like charter or military flights, must sign a Form DS-5528 (Evacuee Manifest and Promissory Note) before departure. This form helps document passenger information for contact and billing purposes.

  • You’re clueless about whether your father ever signed this…he must have. When you ask him about it decades later, he says he doesn’t remember much about those details.

Repay evacuation loans to the U.S. Department of State via the Comptroller and Global Financial Services (CGFS) office, which collaborates with various bureaus, posts and embassies to collect required documentation for loan processing and billing.

  • Your father has a sixth-month visa to secure your safety with friends in Washington before returning. His worry for your mother and sister is a grey cloud and he leaves after a month and a half. Money is the last thing on his mind when his friends suggest they’ll cover everything. You’ve already grown weary of goodbyes.

Upon receiving your bill, you can contact us for further details about your evacuation loan, repayment, or to inquire about setting up an installment agreement.

  • In Chicago, the airport clerk issues him a ticket back to West Africa (again paid for by friends), but not back home with your mother and sister. The clerk says it’s too dangerous and flights in and out have ceased. Your father spends the next several months trying to find a way back to them.

Payment is due within 30 days of the bill date. Failure to make a full payment will result in the imposition of interest and a $50.00 administrative charge as per federal debt collection regulations. 

  • During occasional phone calls, your father says he’s fine but never discloses where he is while you tell him about Barbie dolls, Disney movies, school and well…you’re off to play outside now. He’s relieved that you sound happy. You’re relieved he thinks you are strong.

If your account is 90 days overdue, you’ll face penalties. The debt will go to the Department of Treasury for collection. They can collect it by taking money from your federal payments, a private collection agency, informing credit bureaus, using wage garnishment or other legal actions.                                                                                      

Disclaimer: In the event of a crisis, they do not accept responsibility for the trauma, loss,  or damage from any cause whatsoever to families separated or loved ones left unprotected. 

United States. Travel.State.Gov. United States, 2009. Web Archive. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>

Wendy Newbury

Wendy Newbury is a music educator and writer living in Pasco, WA. Her work has been nominated for Best of the Net and a Pushcart. She has appeared recently in Variant LitJMWW,and Five South. Some of her other work can be found online at Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @newburywrites.