Types of Student Visas in America
The United States is one of the leading countries in the world when it comes to education. Some of the top colleges and Universities in the world are located in the USA. That is the reason why the US is a popular destination for students across the world who come here to study.
There are more than 1 million students in the USA studying in various courses. To enter the USA to study, a student visa would be required. The USA welcomes students from all over the world to study here and have well-defined procedures for issuing student visas.
A student visa is a type of visa that enables a student to stay in the USA and study at a recognized educational institution. Students can get a visa for the duration of time they would need to complete the course of study. The pre-requisite for getting a student visa is to get admission to a college or University.
Types of Student Visas
A student visa is a non-immigrant visa. This means the student cannot stay permanently in the USA but can stay only for the duration of his/her studies. There are three types of visas issued to students to study in the United States. They are:
1) F-1 Visa
The F-1 visa is meant for academic studies. This is the most popular type of student visa. Anyone wishing to study or pursue research at a private elementary school, high school, approved English school, accredited college, or University can apply for this visa. The requirements for this visa are:
- The applicant must have been admitted to an accredited or approved educational institute as a full-time student.
- The approved institution who has enrolled the student must provide an I-20 form. This is mandatory to get an F-1 visa.
- Proof of financial support during the stay must be provided with the application. This includes fees and living expenses.
The visa is valid for the duration of the course. The extension can be applied subsequently and is taken up on a case to case basis. Students having this visa are allowed to work part-time on their campus for a maximum of 20 hours per week.
2) M-1 Visa
The M-1 visa is meant for non-academic or vocational studies. Vocational studies are offered by vocational institutions and students take up these courses to gain skills needed for a job. The requirements to get an M-1 visa are:
- The applicant must have been admitted to a vocational institution that is approved by the United State Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
- They must have fluency in English.
- They must have sufficient funds for their expenses during their stay.
- They must have a permanent residence in their country of origin.
- They can stay during the duration of the course or training, with a maximum 30-day grace period post completion of training.
- They must submit an I-20 form issued by the vocational institution, with the application.
An M-1 visa holder is not allowed to work either on the campus or off-campus during the course of study.
3) J-1 Visa
This is a visa given for those participating in an exchange program or as a part of the work-study program. The requirements for a J-1 visa are:
- They must be proficient in English.
- They must have medical insurance.
- They must be sponsored under a government or private program and submit a DS-2019 form from the sponsor.
- They must show proof of sufficient funds to cover their stay.
Depending on the type of study program, students can apply for any of these visas. Applications should be submitted to the US embassy/consulate of their country.
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