Student Visas

Student Visa Types:

F-1 Visa (Academic Visa) – If you wish to attend a university or other academic institution in the United States, including primary and secondary schools, or a language training program you require an F-1 visa. It is possible in limited circumstances for the holder of an F-1 visa to obtain permission to work in the United States. You can remain in the U.S. for up to 60 days following the completion of the course or practical training OPT) on your F-1 visa.

M-1 visa (Nonacademic Visa) – If you wish to pursue a course of study which is not principally academic in nature at an established vocational or other recognized nonacademic institution such as a post secondary vocational or business school you require an M-1 visa. Holders of M-1 visas may only engage in employment if it is a required part of their practical training. As a holder of an M-1 visa you may remain in the United States for the period of time it will take to complete the course of study as indicated on the I-20M plus 30 days, or for one year, whichever is less.

F1 Student Visa

  • F-1 – most commonly used visa for foreign students.
  • Key Terms:
  • DSO = Designated School Official
  • SEVP = Student and Exchange Visitor Program
  • SEVIS = Student/Exchange Visitor Information System
  • Admitted for D/S + 60 day grace period following completion of course or practical training.
  • Authorized student employment permitted.
  • Permit to change into and out of F-1 within U.S.

F1 Students and Optional Training (OPT)

  • Extends application period for OPT to include 60 days after program end date.
  • OPT automatically extended for “cap-gap” students whose H-1B Petitions were selected in lottery – to 10/01.
  • OPT may be extended for up to 17 months. for students not awaiting H-1B.

M-1 Non-Academic/Vocational Students

  • M-1 – for non-academic programs at authorized schools.
  • Not valid for online courses with no classroom participation.
  • Admitted for time necessary to complete course of study, or one year, which ever is less, plus 30-day grace period.
  • Extension of status in up to one-year increments for max. of 3 years.
  • Only post-completion practical training permitted.