The following guide is intended to provide a general overview of the types of non-immigrant visas for students or exchange visitors.
F1 - Academic Students
The F-1 classification is for foreign-born academic students studying in the United States.
To qualify for a F-1 visa, an individual must:
Apply and be accepted to the school where you want to study;
Obtain a Form I-20, Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F-1) Student Status, from the school that has accepted you; and
Make an appointment with your local United States consulate to receive approval for your F-1 visa.
J1 - Exchange Visitors
The J-1 classification is for persons who have been accepted to participate in exchange visitor programs in the Untied States. Before applying, an individual must be accepted by a sponsoring organization designated by the U.S. Department of State. Each category has its specific own requirements and rules.
The categories of exchange visitors include:
Student (college or university)
Student (secondary school)
International Visitor (reserved for use by the Department of State)
Summer student in a travel or work program
Certain J-1 visitors may be subject to a 2-year home country physical presence requirement upon the completion of the J-1 visa. Waivers such as the "No Objection Statement" and "Exceptional Hardship" may apply depending on an individual's circumstances.
M1 - Vocational Students
The M-1 visa is a temporary student visa for persons who want to pursue nonacademic or vocational studies in the United States.
To qualify for a M visa, an individual must:
Apply and be accepted to the school where you want to study; and
Obtain a Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (M-1) Student Status, from the school of acceptance;
Show evidence of intent, proficiency in English, and sufficient funds to live temporarily in the United States.
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