Types of Student Visas for studying in the USA

Most citizens of foreign countries need visas to enter the United States. A US visa is a permit for a person to apply to enter the United States. The U.S. Department of State (DOS) is responsible for visa adjudication at U.S. Embassies and Consulates outside of the U.S. A consular officer decides whether you are qualified for a visa or not.

A U.S. visa allows the bearer to apply for entry to the U.S. in a certain classification. Most non-immigrants at an University are holders of F, J, and H-1 visas.

Please note that a US visa does not authorize entry to the U.S. A visa simply indicates that your application has been reviewed by a U.S. consular officer at an American embassy or consulate, and that the officer has determined you are eligible to travel to the port-of-entry for a specific purpose.

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In this section we explain some the different types of visas that a student coming to USA can have.

F-1 visa is granted to aliens who come to the United States temporarily to pursue a full course of study in an approved program in either an academic accredited U.S. college or university or to study English at a university or intensive English Language Institute.
Students on F-1 visa can extend their stay in the US after the end of their program in case they get a job here. The students will then have to apply for a work visa (H-1B).

J-1 visa is for people who come to the United States temporarily as a participant of the Exchange Program administered by the U.S. Department of State for the purpose of teaching, instructing or lecturing, studying, observing, conducting research, consulting, demonstrating special skills, or receiving training. The Fulbright Scholarship program is a perfect example of an Exchange Program administered by the U.S. Department of State. Students who come under this program are J-1 visa holders.
Students holding a J-1 visa are allowed to stay in the US until their program is complete. The students are then required to go back to their home country. The students have to stay in their home country for atleast two years before they can come back to the US.

M-1 Visa is for international student that have been accepted into a program to study or train at a non-academic institution in the U.S. It is also called a Non-Academic or Vocational Studies

(Source: uakron.edu, 2007)

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