U.S. Student Visas categories

If you are a foreign pupil and wish to pursue your education in the U.S., you need to apply for a Student Visa. The nature of your permit depends on whether your course of study is academic or vocational.

The U.S. immigration law recognizes two different Student Visas for aliens:

  • F1 Visa for Academic Studies. This is issued to students who are attending a full-time academic program. If you hold this permit, you can seek part-time, on-campus employment. However, you are expected to complete your studies by the expiration date printed on your visa. If you dependents want to join you in the U.S., they can apply for an F2 Visa.
  • M1 Visa for Vocational Studies. This permit is designed to be used by students who wish to attend a non-academic or vocational program. As a general rule, you are not permitted to work while on this visa, but you can travel with your relatives with an M2 Dependent Visa.

It is important to note that U.S. Student Visas are only suitable for aliens who wish to enroll in an academic or vocational course of study.

If you wish to register for a short recreational course not related to an academic degree, a Visitor (B) Visa may be more appropriate. Likewise, if you want to take part in training or research in the U.S. under an approved exchange program, you will require a J-1 Cultural Visa.

Which Student Visa do you need?

F1 Visa for Academic Studies F2 Visa: Dependents of F1 Visa holders M1 Visa for Vocational Studies J1 Visa: Cultural & Educational Exchange for Students J2 Visa: Dependents of J1 Visa holders