US Student Visa Application
US Student Visa Application
Student Visa USA: Study in the US with F-1, M1 Visas
The United States has come to be known for its exceptional universities and high levels of education. For this reason, many international students apply each year to study abroad in the US. To become a full-time international student, you will need either an F-1 or an M-1 student visa. Each of these students is a nonimmigrant visa that allows them to study in the US provided they meet a set of requirements.
Eligibility Requirements for Student Visas
To qualify for an F-1 or M-1 visa, USCIS states that you must:
Be enrolled as a full-time student in an “academic” educational program, a language training program, or a vocational program
Be accepted into a school that is approved by the Student and Exchange Visitors Program, Immigration & Customs Enforcement
Be proficient in English or be enrolled in classes that will lead to English proficiency
Have sufficient funds to support yourself during the entire proposed course of study
Maintain residence abroad and have no intention of giving it up
Which Student Visa to Apply For
The visa you choose to apply for will depend on the type of schooling you plan to receive.
F-1 Student Visa
The F-1 “Academic Student” visa is meant for individuals who plan to study at an academic institution (including accredited colleges, universities, seminaries, conservatories, and academic high school and elementary schools) or language training program. To qualify, the program in which you are enrolled must culminate in the receipt of a degree, diploma, or certificate and the school must be authorized by the US government to accept international students.
M-1 Student Visa
The M-1 “Vocational Student” visa is meant for students in vocational or other non-academic programs, other than language training.
How to Apply for a Student Visa
To apply for a student visa, you must first be accepted into one of the aforementioned institutions approved by SEVP, meaning you will first apply to the institution itself. After you have been accepted, you will decide which student visa you need and will apply based on the requirements of your US Embassy or Consulate. You will fill out all online application forms and then schedule an interview. Make sure you apply far enough in advance of your school’s start date, so that you receive your visa in time to begin your studies. While your visa may be issued up to 120 days prior to the start of the academic year, as a new student you will not be permitted to enter the US more than 30 days prior to your start date. Continuing students may enter at any time, as long as their visa is current.
Fees and Interview
Once you are accepted into the SEVP-approved school, you will be enrolled in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). From here, you will be required to pay the SEVIS I-901 Fee. You will then be provided the Form I-20 by the school, which you will present to the consular officer at your visa interview. You will also be required to pay a fee of $160 for the Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application, or Form DS-160. Next, you will schedule an interview at the US Embassy or Consulate in the country where you live. At your interview, you must establish that you meet the criteria to receive the visa for which you are applying.
Can You Work in the US with a Study Visa?
Many students wish to work part-time while working in the US so that they can support themselves to some extent. In this case, a few restrictions will apply. F-1 students who want to work are not permitted to work off-campus during their first academic year, but may work in certain on-campus jobs. After the first academic year, F-1 students may work off-campus as long as the employment is Curricular Practical Training, Optional Practical Training, or Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Optional Training Extension.
An M-1 student who wishes to work may only work in practical training positions after they have completed their studies. However, M-1 students may work on or off-campus in certain positions as well, as long as they are authorized positions. Both F-1 and M-1 students must ensure any off-campus employment they procure is related to their area of study and is approved prior to the start date by the Designated School Official who manages SEVIS, and USCIS.
To apply for this program or to learn more: