How to Apply For a Student Visa

With the availability of several great educational institutions in the United States, it is common for students to apply for a student visa. If you have a desire to study in the U.S., then you can apply for M or F Visas. Let’s find out in detail about these two types of student based visas.

F-1 (Academic Student) Visa

F-1 student visa is for the applicants that want to study in an accredited college, university, or educational institution in the U.S. The educational institution that you enroll in should end in a degree, certificate, or a diploma after course completion. The institution needs to be authorized by the government of U.S. for international students.

M-1 (Vocational Student) Visa

Students who have applied or enrolled in non-academic or vocational programs can apply for the M-1 student visa. Language training programs are not included in this visa type. The non-academic or vocational institution needs to be authorized by the government of U.S. for international students.

The Criteria to Get a Student Visa

In order to choose between M-1 or F-1 student visa, you will need to meet a few criteria laid out by the USCIS. Let’s take a look at them below:

  • The school you enroll in needs to be approved by the Immigration & Customs Enforcement and the Student and Exchange Visitors Program.
  • You should be enrolled in English courses or be proficient in English.
  • In order to apply for one of the student visas, you will need to be enrolled in an academic educational program, a vocational program, or a language training program.
  • You must enroll as a full-time student in the program.
  • You must have a permanent residence abroad that you do not want to give up.
  • You should be financially able to support yourself throughout the course of your educational program and stay in the U.S. You may be required to provide proof of financial support by the USCIS.

If you are approved for a student visa, you can also work off or on-campus by taking authorization from the Designated School Official. If you are an F-1 student visa holder, you can also get off-campus employment for one academic year only if the employment is Curricular Practical Training, STEM Optional Practical Training Extension, and Optional Practical Training. Students are not allowed to engage in practical training before the completion of their educational program.

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