What You Need to Know About Student Visas

July 19, 2018

Philadelphia immigration lawyers handle all types visa application matters.For foreign born students who want to attend an American university, obtaining a student visa is often the first step. There are several types of student visas available to international students, including the F1 Visa, J1 Visa, or the M1 Visa. It is important to understand the differences between these types of international student visas.

F1 Visa

The most popular student visa issued by the United States is the F1 visa. Students who are attending English Language Programs or are enrolled in an academic program may be eligible. The student must be taking the minimum course load for a full-time student. Individuals studying in the United States under this type of visa may also seek part-time employment on campus during their stay if they work less than 20 hours per week.

Students attending college on the F1 visa must complete their studies by the expiration date listed on their Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status, also known as the I-20 form. After completion of their academic program, students with the F1 visa may also remain in the country legally for optional practical training for an additional year.

J1 Visa

For students who are seeking practical training unavailable in their home country, a J1 visa can help them complete their academic program. The J1 visa for practical training also allows a student to work part-time on campus for less than 20 hours a week. Students with a J1 visa will have an exchange visitor program sponsor for the practical training.

M1 Visa

M1 visas are issued to students who will be attending vocational or non-academic schools. Unlike students on F1 or J1 visas, students with M1 student visas are not permitted to work while they are studying in the United States. To obtain the M1 visa, the student applicant must be able to demonstrate that they have sufficient funds immediately available to pay for tuition and living costs for the time they plan on staying in the country.

Obtaining a Student Visa

In addition to proof of financial stability, student visa applicants will need to demonstrate that they are academically eligible to attend their chosen university. In some cases, proof of health insurance must also be presented as evidence that the student can cover any unexpected medical expenses that arise. Student visa applicants are encouraged to apply for their student visa at the American consular office inside the country of their permanent residence.

Students traveling on the F1, J1, or M1 student visa will enter the country through U.S. Customs and will be subject to all applicable immigration laws. Granting a student visa does not guarantee entry into the United States. International students must also obtain Form I-94, Record of Arrival-Departure, which is issued by U.S. Customs and sets forth the permitted length of stay in the country.

Philadelphia Immigration Lawyers at the Law Offices of MC Law Group, LLC Handle All Types of Immigration Matters

If you or a loved one needs assistance with a student visa issue, the experienced Philadelphia immigration lawyers at the Law Offices of MC Law Group, LLC are ready to assist you. Our dedicated team proudly represents immigrants and their families in matters related to deportation, naturalization, visa approvals, green cards, asylum, and other citizenship issues. To schedule a confidential initial consultation today, call us at 215-496-0690 or contact us online. We are in Philadelphia, and we proudly serve clients from the tri-state area.