There are different types of visa’s for students wishing to study in the United States. Each visa has its specification and requirement and has a different total package for students. It is very important that you understand the purpose of your visit to the states. This determines the type of visa application you’ll be applying for.
Before applying for a visa, all student visa applicants are required to be accepted and approved by their school or program. Once accepted, educational institutions will provide each applicant the necessary approval documentation to be submitted when applying for a student visa.
There are various types of student visas available for students wishing to study in the United States. They are:
1. F-1 Visa: This is the most common type of student visa. If you wish to engage in academic studies in the United States at an approved school, such as an accredited U.S. college or university, private secondary school or approved English language program then you will need an F-1 visa. You will also need an F-1 visa if your course of study is more than 18 hours a week.
The “F” visa is for academic studies. An F1 visa is issued to students who are attending an academic program or English Language Program. These are the most common form of international student visa in the U.S. F1 students must maintain the minimum course load for full-time student status.F-1 status allows for part-time, on-campus employment (fewer than 20 hours per week). Additionally, students can work on optional practical training (OPT) for up to one year after completion of their academic program. Students are expected to complete their studies by the expiration date on the I-20 form (Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status).
2. The J-1 visa: this is for people who wish to take part in work-and-study-based exchange and visitor programs in the U.S. These programs are sponsored by an educational or other nonprofit institution, which must be accredited through the Exchange Visitor Program designated by the U.S. State Department. J-1 exchange visitors come to the United States to teach, study, receive training, or demonstrate special skills. The J1 visa is meant for students who need practical training that is not available to them in their home country, and the training must be directly related to their academic program.
3. M-1Visa: If you plan to engage in non-academic or vocational study or training at a U.S. institution then you will need an M-1 visa. An M1 visa is issued to a student who is going to attend a non-academic or vocational school. M-1 visa holders for technical and vocational programs are not permitted to work during the course of their studies. The M-1 student visa applicants must have evidence that sufficient funds are immediately available to pay all tuition and living costs for the entire period of intended stay.
Think carefully to determine your purpose of study in the US. Your financial status and sponsor(s) will help determine the type of visa you need. Good luck!