Many international students want to study in the United States. To become a student in the US, one needs an F-1 or M-1 student visa. You can become an international student in the United States if you meet some requirements. The Visa you are planning to apply is on the basis of education you choose.
The F-1 Visa is for students who want to study at an educational institution or wish to do any language program. The M-1 visa (vocational student visa) is for individuals who wish to do non-academic programs but does not include language programs.
To be eligible for an M-1 or F-1 Visa, USCIS mentions a few eligibility requirements which are as follows;
- To be good in English or to be registered in classes to get expertise in the English language.
- To be registered as a full-time student in an educational program or a vocational program.
- To be admitted into an educational institute/ school is approved by the Student and Exchange Visitors Program.
- Have enough funds to meet one’s financial needs during the whole period of course/study.
Firstly, you need to be accepted in the educational institute registered under Student and Registered Visitors Program. You will apply to the institute and after getting accepted. Fill your online application form and arrange an interview.
Visa will be given within a period of up to 120 days before the start of the study year. Fresh students cannot enter the United States 30 days before the start of the academic year. This does not apply to current students as they can enter at any time.
After you are approved for any educational institute under the Student and Exchange Visitor Program, you will be registered in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System. You need to pay SEVIS-1-190 fee. Form-120 will be given by the educational institution, which should be presented to the officer at your visa interview.
In addition, a fee of $160 is also required to be paid for online visa application, or form DS-160. Arrangement of an interview is made at the US Embassy in your home country where you have to prove that you meet all the requirements.
Students under the F1 visa category should complete a program of study.
The Designated School Officer may allow exemption from the full-time study in case of health issues or problems in coping up with the US educational environment. Students under US F1 Visa category get into a system of “duration of status called D/S” which includes a grace period of 60 days.
Students under the F1 category are allowed to do a part-time on-campus job for 20 hours a week. Full-time jobs are allowed during summer vacations after they get enrolled.
They may also do part-time or full-time off-campus curricular practical training after getting Designated School Officer permission, as this work is an essential part of the educational institute syllabus. Under-graduate students should be registered nine months before to qualify for curricular practical training.
Curricular practical training is without any time limit. If you do 12 months of curricular practical training, then you don’t qualify for Optical Practical Training as it is an additional work experience. One can normally do Optical Practical Training after the study is finished. Designated School Officer must give permission for this, and a student can then apply for EAD with the help of form 1-1765.
The M-1 visa is for a limited period. It is for one year. After one year, an extension can be given. The program cannot be changed after six months. The only job allowed after finishing practical training is for a maximum period of six months. A grace period of 30 days is allowed after completing the program. One cannot shift status as F1 on the basis of the diploma as an M1 visa holder.
Nowadays, it is very important to keep a check on the international students in the United States. Student and Exchange Visitor Information System plays an important role in keeping the record of student history related to immigration.