Academic and vocational students and their families (F and M visas)

F Visas

 

The F-1 visa is the classic student visa. This visa category applies to those who are accepted to study at a college, university, high school, private elementary school, seminary, conservatory, language training program or any other institution that is academic in nature.

 

The requirements of a student visa include:

 

     Acceptance to a program at an SEVP (Student and Exchange Visitor Program) approved institution. 

     A permanent foreign address.

     A declaration that entry to the U.S. is temporary and only for the purpose of academic study. Students must have no intent to remain in the U.S. after the culmination of their academic program.

     Only studying at the SEVP approved institution they cited when applying for the F-1 visa.

     Maintenance of up-to-date SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) records.

     NOT studying at any public elementary school or publicly funded adult education program.

 

F-1 visas last for the duration of the study program for which the student obtained the visa. F-1 holders may remain after the program concludes for authorized practical training. A student who attends an American high school may not exceed 12 months of study at any public high school.

 

The visa can be issued up to 120 days before the starting date of study, but the student can't enter with F-1 status any earlier than 30 days before the start date. Students may renew their visa if they have maintained the same student status. If a student is continuing study under a renewed F visa, they may enter the country anytime before the start date of study; the 30-day restriction placed on new F visa arrivals does not apply to returning students.

 

F-2 visas may be issued to the spouse or unmarried children under the age of 21 of an F-1 visa holder.

 

M Visas

 

An M-1 visa is for educational opportunities that are not academic in nature. These programs usually include studies or training at a trade school or accredited vocational institution. Language training does not qualify for travel on an M visa; that falls under the F visa. M-1 visa requirements are the same as those for the F visa, including:

 

     Acceptance to a full course of study at a vocational institution.

     A permanent foreign address.

     A declaration that entry to the U.S. is temporary and only for the purpose of academic study. Students must have no intent to remain in the U.S. after the culmination of their program.

     Only studying at the approved institution cited when applying for the M-1 visa.

     Maintenance of up-to-date SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) records.

     NOT studying at any public elementary school or publicly funded adult education program.

 

Like the F-2 visa, an M-2 visa may be issued to the spouse or unmarried children under the age of 21 of an M-1 visa holder.

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