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AIC Explains Student Visas

One of the most common reasons for immigrating to the United States is education. Easy access to education and quality programs attracts many students from around the world. If you are considering studying in the United States, you will need to know which student visas are available to you. American Immigration Center created a guide explaining the three different student visa options; F1 visa, J1 visa, and M1 visa.

What is F1 Visa? Academic Studies

An F visa is a non-immigrant student visa meant for academic studies. An F1 visa is issued to students who are attending an academic program or an English Language Program. F1 visas are the most common international student visas in the United States. F1 students must maintain a full-time student status during their studies. One benefit of an F1 status is that it allows for part-time, on-campus employment (as long as the student keeps less than 20 hours per week). Students with an F1 visa have the option to apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT) to receive practical training. Students with an F1 visa must complete their studies by the expiration date on the I-20 form (Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status).

What is J1 Visa? Practical Training

A J1 visa is a non-immigrant student visa issued to students who need to obtain practical training that is not available in their home country to complete their academic program. Examples of those eligible for a J1 visa are research scholars, professors, and visitors participating in programs meant to obtain medical or business training in the United States. Students with a J1 status have similar employment opportunities and restrictions as those with an F-1 visa. The only condition for a J1 visa student is that they need to receive permission to work from the exchange visitor program sponsor. 

What is M1 Visa? Non-Academic / Vocational Studies

An M1 visa is a non-immigrant visa issued to a student who will attend a non-academic or vocational school. Some examples of vocational schools include mechanical studies, technical classes, and nursing programs. Students with an M1 visa for technical and vocational programs are not allowed to work during their studies. The M1 student visa applicants must provide evidence that they have sufficient funds immediately available to pay all tuition and living costs for the entire period of their intended stay. An M1 visa is only valid for up to a year.

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