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F-1, M-1 Visa for Students

The F-1 Visa and the M-1 Visa nonimmigrant categories are for foreign nationals who wish to attend school in the United States as students. The F category is for students attending a university, college, high school, private elementary school, seminary, conservatory, language training program, or other academic institutions. The M category is for students attending vocational or other recognized nonacademic institutions. If you have questions about student visas, the attorneys at The Law Firm of Shihab & Associates, Co., LPA have decades of combined experience in this area. Contact us for a consultation.

How do I qualify?

In order to qualify for a student visa, you must have a residence abroad, and you must have no immediate intention of abandoning that residence. You must intend to depart from the United States after you completed your course of study. And, you must have sufficient funds for pursuing your course of study. Your first step is to get accepted for enrollment in an established school. The school must be is SEVP certified. The Student and Exchange Visitor Program assists the Department of Homeland Security and Department of State monitor school programs and foreign students. SEVP schools transmit mandatory information and event notifications to the DHS and the DOS via the Internet.

What about a short recreational course of study?

If your primary purpose for visiting the United States is for tourism, but you also want to take a few recreational courses while you are visiting, you can do this with the B visitor visa, so long as your course of study is less than 18 hours per week. However, you will need the student visa if you want to attend seminars, conferences, or a program of study for academic credit.

Do I have to leave the United States after I graduate from school?

To qualify for the visa, you must have had the intention to depart from the United States after completing your course of study. This intention is measured at the time of the visa application, not at the time of graduation from school. It is very common for foreign nationals who intended to visit the United States temporarily to earn a degree from a U.S. educational institution to become employed in the United States after graduation under a work visa. Some may later adjust from nonimmigrant to immigrant status as permanent residents and may eventually become U.S. citizens.

How long can I stay in the United States on a student visa?

Usually, admission is for duration of status, meaning you may stay as long as you maintain full time studies. Once you complete your course of study, you may be allowed additional time to prepare for departure from the U.S. or to transfer to another school. You may also obtain Optional Practical Training (OPT) work authorization for temporary employment that is directly related to your course of study.

What about my spouse and children?

As the primary applicant, you would have an F-1 or M-1 visa. Spouses and children may obtain the F-2 or M-2 as dependents. If you have questions about student visas, please contact our immigration attorneys or call The Law Firm of Shihab & Associates, Co., LPA at the nearest office close to you to consult with an attorney.

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