For individuals who wish to study full time, in the U.S., there are two (2) non-immigrant visas that students may apply for: F-1 or M-1. In order to qualify to study in the United States, the student must be enrolled in an academic educational program, a language-training program or a vocational program and meet the following requirements:
- The school the student will attend must be approved by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program, Immigration (SEVIS) & Customs Enforcement;
- The student must be enrolled full-time;
- The student must be proficient in English or be enrolled in courses with the goal of becoming proficient in English;
- The student must have sufficient funds to support himself or herself while in the U.S. for the course of study without needing to work in the U.S. (with limited exceptions); and
- The student must maintain a residence abroad with no intention of giving it up.
The F-1 Visa for the academic student authorizes the foreign national to enter the U.S. as a full-time student at an accredited academic place of study, including college, university, seminary, conservatory, academic high school, elementary school or other academic institution or language training program. The course of study must culminate in a degree, diploma, or certificate. Further, the school must be authorized to accept international students. During their first academic year, F-1 students (Academic students) are not permitted to work off-campus; however, they may accept on-campus employment with certain restrictions. After their first academic year is completed, F-1 students may engage in curricular Practical Training (CPT); Optional Practical Training (OPT); or Science, Technology and Mathematics (STEM) Optional Practical Extension (OPT).
The M-1 visa for vocational students authorizes foreign nationals to enter the U.S. in vocational or other nonacademic programs, other than language training. M-1 students are authorized to engage in practical training after they have completed their studies.
For both F-1 and M-1 students, their off-campus employment must be related to their area of study, and must be approved by the Designated School Official.
Give the attorneys at Tanner Law Offices, LLC a call at 717-731-8114 to schedule a consultation to discuss any questions you have regarding student visas.