Different types of USA Student Visa- Students Visa Guide

The United States of America is still considered by many prospective students from other countries to be the best place to pursue their education. If you are one of the students who is looking for admission into an educational institution in the United States, the next significant step towards making your dream of studying in the United States a reality is to apply for a student visa to study in the United States.

In this section of the Students Visa Handbook, we will take a cursory look at the various categories of USA Student Visas. Higher education establishments in the United States of America will often provide approved papers to each and every international student. In addition, you will need this papers in order to apply for a student visa to the United States.

It is possible for international students to submit an application within a time frame of four months from the date that the I-20 was issued, and they are permitted to travel within a time frame of thirty days from the date that the I-20 was issued. The document known as the I-20 serves as a certificate of eligibility. It is a document that can be used for a variety of purposes and is distributed by educational institutions in the United States of America that have been granted government approval.

This document serves as proof that a student has been accepted into an educational facility to participate in a programme that requires full-time attendance. Also, it verifies that the student has adequate financial resources to continue their stay in the United States.

There are three distinct categories of student visas for the United States

There are essentially three different categories of student visas or non-immigrant student visas that are available to international students studying in the United States. They are: F Visa, M Visa and J Visa.

F Visa

  • The F visa is for students planning to engage in academic study. Among the three different types of student visas for the United States, this one is by far the most common and sought after. Students from other countries who intend to study in the United States for the purpose of earning a degree at a school that has been recognised by the US Department of Education or to learn English at a university or intensive English language institute are eligible for the F student visa.

    Other international students who intend to study in the United States at a high school, a specialised, non-vocational institution, or a seminary can apply for an F-1 visa. This visa is available to students from outside the United States.

    Every student who wishes to enrol in a programme that demands more than 18 hours per week will be required to obtain an F-visa. There are three distinct variations of the F visa. They are as follows:

  • Students enrolled full-time are eligible for F-1 visas.
  • F-2 visas are issued to members of F-1 visa holders’ immediate family (spouse and unmarried children below the age of 21).
  • F-3 visas are issued to students of Mexican and Canadian descent who continue to maintain a residence in their country of origin while taking classes in the United States either on a part-time or full-time basis.

M Visa

Students from other countries who wish to participate in non-academic or vocational programmes or training at a school located in the United States may apply for and be granted a M visa. There are three distinct variations of the M visa. They are as follows:

  • Students from other countries who intend to pursue vocational or other non-academic studies can apply for M-1 visas.
  • M-2 visas are for members of the applicant’s immediate family who hold an M-1 visa (as in F-2 visas).
  • M-3 visas for North American origin, similar to F-3 visas but for non-academic or occupational training rather than academic study.

It is not possible to switch one’s status from that of an M-1 visa holder to that of an F-1 visa holder for any international student.

J Visa

A student who wishes to participate in academic exchange programmes can apply for a J visa. Students are given the opportunity to take part in educational and cultural exchange programmes that are offered in the United States by organisations that welcome guests from other countries.

An international student is required to have a valid J visa in order to participate in an exchange visitor programme in the United States if he or she has been accepted into a course of study or programme that is sponsored by an organisation that is designated by the United States government.

There are two distinct varieties of the J visa. They are as follows:

  • Students participating in exchange programmes require J-1 visas.
  • The members of J-1 visa holders’ immediate family are eligible for J-2 visas (as for F-2 visas).
  • You can move to the United States because you have a passport that is still valid.
  • You are already enrolled at a university or college that is approved by the federal government of the United States.
  • You have been accepted into a programme that requires full-time participation.
  • You have the financial means necessary to pay for your living expenses while you are in the US. You have the intention of residing in the United States for a certain amount of time.

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