Malaysian Student May Be Deported, Blames International Advisor

Harraz Mohd Reza, 20, has a plane ticket booked for Malaysia just in case he has to leave the country. He says his international advisor never turned in his VISA paperwork.

Back in 2012, Harraz attended the University of Northern Colorado. He was born in Malaysia, but moved to the United States with his family when he was three months old. Up until he started college, he was a dependent on his mother’s VISA.

He applied for a student visa and worked with an international student advisor to put in his application. Harraz said the advisor told him it would be about three months to hear a response.

Time passed and Harraz failed to check on the status of his application due to a heavy course load and his father dying of cancer. Six months later when he asked the advisor, his application was exactly where he left it–in a file in the international office.

This meant he was illegally studying at the university during the first semester. This caused his application to be denied when he finally re-applied.

When Harraz turns 21, he can no longer be on a VISA that’s dependent on this mother. He’s preparing to leave the U.S. for a country he hardly knows anything about.

When the local news station contacted the university about Harraz’s story, a few days later they sent him an email saying there is a “window of opportunity” for him to re-apply for a student visa. According to the university, the application is pending.

According to the Greeley Tribune, the email Harraz received from the university said the following:

“The easiest of which would be to change to F-1 student,” the email read. “I know that you attempted this before, but your request had been denied. That decision from U.S. Immigration has no impact on your current status as an F-2. It is fine to reapply for the change of status, and the chances of being approved are pretty high. … I will prepare the I-20 for you to submit with the online application. Time is of the essence in this situation. You must have the application submitted no later than the day before you turn 21.”

Harraz still has his ticket to Malaysia because he doesn’t want to risk being in the U.S. illegally.

Watch the video from 9 News who originally reported Harraz’s story

ISV Magazine breaks it down: What is the take-away from this story?

You have to be responsible for your own immigration matters. Unfortunately, people make mistakes so you need to follow up on everything related to your immigration status. Have you ever had issues of administrators in your international office handling your immigration paperwork?

Information for this article was provided by the Greeley Tribune and  9 News
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2 comments

  1. I find it really strange that Harraz who has literally spent his entire life in the United States is still considered to be a foreigner.

  2. As I understand it a F-2 visa is a dependent of F-1. I don’t understand how his mother, has stayed on F-1 for 20 years? It could be possible, but also strange. I hope all works out for this student. Not a good situation to be in.

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