The U.S. has always been a popular destination for students seeking to further their education outside of their country of origin. To do this, you need a student visa. You can apply for many student visa types depending on your individual circumstances. 

Typically, a U.S. student visa is a non-immigrant visa, which means that it does not grant a direct path to U.S. Citizenship. It is important to bear in mind that if you intend to stay in the U.S. after your studies, you would need to re-apply for a different visa type that falls under the immigrant category.

The U.S. student visa application process can be quite technical, and several eligibility conditions must be met. In this article, we will shed more light on the student visa and what different kinds exist.

Types of Student Visas

international students in the united states

There are three types of student visas: The F-1 and M-1 for full-time students and the J-1 for exchange students.

All these categories allow the applicant to bring in their dependents, but they must show that they are able to support them as well as themselves.

These categories are further explained below.

F-1 Visa

The F-1 Visa category is for full-time international students pursuing academic studies.

To be eligible for this category, you must have been accepted into an academic program by a SEVP (Student and Exchange Visitor Program) approved university. You can use this DHS tool to check if your prospective school is approved by SEVP.

M-1 Visa

The M-1 Visa category is for full-time international students pursuing vocational studies. 

Examples of such vocational studies include cooking classes, technical courses, mechanical classes, flight school, cosmetology, etc. 

This DHS infographic clearly shows the differences between the F-1 visa and the M-1 visa.

J-1 Visa

The J-1 Visa category is for any foreign national who wants to participate in work, and study-based exchange programs in the U.S. Teachers, camp counselors, babysitters, and research assistants are a few occupations that may qualify for this visa. Learn about the Conrad 30 Waiver Program or other educational programs you can participate in with a J-1 visa.

Maintaining Status on U.S. Student Visa

Once you arrive in the U.S. with a student visa, it is crucial to maintain your immigration status. Below are some key points to remember:

Full-Time Enrollment Requirements

1. You must be enrolled full-time in an accredited program.

2. Dropping below full-time enrollment without prior authorization can lead to the termination of your visa status.

Travel Restrictions

1. Inform your school’s international office before traveling outside the U.S.

2. Ensure that your visa and travel documents are up-to-date.

3. Re-entry may be denied if you do not have proper documentation.

Extensions and Transfers

1. Apply for an extension before your visa expires.

2. Transferring to a new school requires proper documentation and approval.

3. Failure to transfer or extend your visa before the expiration can lead to loss of status.

Working on U.S. Student Visa

As an international student, you may be able to work in the U.S. under certain circumstances. You should contact your lawyer to know what applications you may need to be eligible for employment. Here are some options available:

On-Campus Employment

1. Available to students enrolled full-time in an accredited program.

2. Limited to 20 hours per week during the academic year and full-time during breaks.

Off-Campus Employment

1. May be available to students facing financial hardship or for internship purposes.

2. Requires proper authorization and limitations on hours and type of work.

In conclusion, there are different ways you can study in the U.S. To get started, contact us or schedule an appointment. You can also send an email to

Helpful Articles: U.S. Immigrant and Nonimmigrant Visas You Need To Know as a Foreign Student