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If I would like to study in the US, what visa do I need?

Posted by attorney Joshoa Sutton

You must have a student visa to study in the United States. There are three visas for foreign students seeking to study in the US:

  1. F-1 visa
  2. M-1 visa
  3. J-1 visa

Your course of study and the type of school you plan to attend determine whether you need an F-1, M-1, or a J-1visa.

You need an F-1 visa if you plan to enter the US to attend:

  • University or college
  • High School
  • Private elementary school
  • Seminary
  • A Music or Arts Conservatory
  • Another academic institution, including language training programs

You need an M-1 visa if you plan to enter the US to attend:

  • Vocational or other recognized nonacademic institution, other than a language training program

You need a J-1 visa if you plan to participate in:

  • A cultural or educational exchange program.

The J-1 Visas are not exclusive to if you are a foreign student seeking to study in the states, but you can also apply for a J-1 visa under a variety of other reasons for your visit: teaching, traveling, interning, etc.

Although the F-1, M-1, and J-1 visas are the most popular visas for foreign students seeking to enter the U.S., the truth is there are other visas out there that you can apply for in order to enter the U.S. For example, if you plan to enroll in a short recreational course of study, which is not for credit toward a degree or academic certificate, you can do so with a visitor (B) visa. But you must be careful because any study leading to a U.S. conferred degree or certificate is not permitted on a visitor (B) visa, even if it is for a short duration.

It is important that you have help through the process of seeking out and applying for a visa as a student, especially when you’ll be paying fees when you apply. Trained immigration attorneys can help you find which visa is best for you, and then help you through the application and interview process. Feel free to contact us at (786) 908-8612, or e-mail us at so that we can help you find the visa that is best for you.

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