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Study in the United States: The Different Types of Student Visas

If a resident of another country wishes to study in the United States, he or she may be able to do so with a student visa. There are three different student visa categories: the J-1, F-1, and M-1. The type of visa needed depends on the particular type of academic institution the student wishes to attend. Before applying for a visa, however, a student usually must apply and be accepted to an approved institution, which often must be certified by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP).

Categories of Visas for Students

The different United States visa categories for students include:

  • F-1: For students attending colleges, universities, language schools, or other approved academic institutions
  • J-1: For visitors participating in cultural exchange programs and sponsored by government or private sector programs
  • M-1: For vocational or technical school students

Visitors to the U.S. who hold a B visa may qualify to take a short course for recreational purposes if the visitor’s primary purpose is tourism and the course meets for less than 18 hours per week.

Applying For a Visa as a Student

Prospective students must meet very specific requirements outlined by the Immigration and Nationality Act in order to qualify for a visa, including:

  • Holding a permanent residence abroad and having no intention of giving up that residence in the immediate future.
  • Intentions to leave the U.S. after the course of study has been completed
  • Possession of adequate funds to study at their institution of choice

If a prospective student cannot demonstrate these qualifications to the consular officer who reviews their application, they will not be awarded a student visa.

To learn more about applying for or renewing a student visa, visit the website of the Austin student visa attorneys at the Law Office of William Jang, PLLC.

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