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Different US student visas explained

by Rita Biswas Consultant

In order to study or train in the USA, student status must be maintained for which a student visa is granted to international candidates. There is a great deal of confusion as far as the different types of US student visas are concerned. We have provided clarification on the three types of US student visas below:


The F category

The F-1 visa is for full-time students, while the F-2 is for dependents, including spouse and unmarried children under 21 years.

·        The prerequisite for getting a student visa involves university acceptance followed by the I-20 Certificate of Eligibility for Non-immigrant F-1 Student Status. This is followed by form- DS160 submission. Special attention needs to be paid to USA Study Visa Requirements. The visa interview is the final stage of the process, after which it is declared whether the F-1 visa is granted or not.

·        International students and their dependents need to have health insurance coverage that meets the standards of the university at which they have been enrolled.

·        On-campus employment up to 20 hours per week are allowed during the academic year and for off-campus work, prior authorization is needed from the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

·        Visa extension: Ideally, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) requires that by the time your I-20 expires, the study program for which you have enrolled must also be completed. In case the program is not completed, the I-20 may be extended for genuine academic or medical reasons. It is recommended that the submission of an extension request is done 1-2 months prior to the expiration of the current I-20 form.


The M category

It is for international students who want to join non-academic or vocational training in the US. The M-1 visas are for students engaging in studies while the M-2 visas are for dependents of M-1 visa holders.

·        The M-1 visas are granted to students for a fixed time period including the duration of their training program and any Optional Practical Training.

·        Staying in the US longer than one year is not allowed except where extensions are granted for medical reasons.

·        On- or off-campus work is not allowed for M-1 students.

·        It is strongly advised that the student pay heed to the M-1 Student Visa Requirements and ensure that there are no regulatory violations, resulting in loss of M-1 visa status.


The J category

While the J-1 visa is for exchange students of the relevant program, the J-2 visa is for dependents of J-1 visa holders.

·        The visa was introduced with the purpose of promoting cultural exchange between the United States and other countries.

·        Through this visa, the candidate is eligible to teach, study or receive training.

·        For a J-1 visa the candidate must be funded, at least 51%, by an organization approved by the State Department or must be part of an accredited exchange program.

·        Financial support for the entire tenure of the program needs to be demonstrated when applying at the initial stage.

·        This J-1 Student Visa USA is generally used for students in renowned exchange programs like the UC Education Abroad Program (EAP), Fulbright, DAAD, etc.

·        A Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (Form DS-2019) needs to be obtained from the program sponsor.

·        Health insurance coverage for the J-1 students and their dependents is mandatory according to the U.S. Department of State for their duration of stay in the U.S.

·        The J-1 visa holders are also required to return to their home country for at least two years post their exchange visitor program.

This categoric classification would definitely help students in picking the type of visa that they would be applicable for.

Related URL:

Quick facts on USA Student Visa Requirements


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About Rita Biswas Innovator   Consultant

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Joined APSense since, December 19th, 2018, From Nagpur, India.

Created on Mar 18th 2019 06:40. Viewed 397 times.

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