US Student Visa: Study and Exchange Visas

Some of the most demanded visa types in the US non-immigrant visa category are the Student and exchange visas. Being educated in the US is very prestigious and everybody in the world would love to study there. This is also because of the value it holds. Someone trained in the US will easily get a job anywhere in the world over someone who had his education elsewhere.

The Visa System of the US is very detailed and also very specific. Different types of visas are granted to foreigners who wish to enter the US based on their purpose of traveling to the United States.

US Student Visas

Us Student Visas are visas given to individuals who which to travel and study in the USA. It can be academic, vocational, student exchange program or International Cultural Exchange Program.

The United States supports international education. They welcome foreign students and exchange visitors who before entry into the US for the sole purpose of study obtain a study and exchange visa. having qualifications from US educational institutions is quite prestigious and powerful, the reason why everyone would love to have this opportunity.

But before you apply for a visa as a student or exchange visitor, you must be accepted by the school or institution you wish to study in before you can be eligible. You will also have to fulfill all the requirements to be able to obtain a Study Visa.

Types Of US Student Visas

There are basically four types of US Student Visa. They are listed below, these four are granted based on the reasons for entering the United States.

  • F-1 Visa: The F1 visa is granted for students who want to attend academic education. This is usually from elementary to graduate school. It also includes language courses.
  • M-1 Visa: This type of US student visa is granted to students who enroll and vocational education and training. This excludes language Courses.
  • J-1 Visa: This is a visa is given to students when organizations or governments are the ones sponsoring you.
  • Q-1 Visa: This visa type is for people who participate in international cultural exchange programs(this visa type also provides opportunities for the holder to work and be trained in the United States of America).

F-1 Visa

The F1 Visa is the type of US Visa Which is given to foreign students who would like to study in US educational institutions. This Visa is only granted to students of the following educational levels:

  • Private elementary schools (Students who are not citizens of the United States are not allowed to attend public elementary schools on an F1 visa)
  • High School
  • language training programs
  • Seminary
  • University or College
  • Conservatory

For a student to apply for the F1 visa, they must have been accepted into any above listed educational institutions. Also, they should be able to prove that they have strong ties with their home country and do not intend to stay in the US after their program is over.

Do Students From Visa waiver Countries need a US Study Visa?

Adding to this, Even students coming from countries that are part of the Visa Waiver program will need an F1 Visa in order to study in the United States.

M-1 visa

This visa type is granted to students who are going to the US to enroll in non-academic and vocational education. The M1 Visa excludes language courses. Students who want to enroll in the following vocational studies listed below must apply only for an M1 visa.

  • Cooking Classes.
  • Technical Classes
  • Flight School
  • Cosmetology and
  • Courses considered to be vocational

People who come to the US under an M1 Visa are allowed to have a driver’s license, open bank accounts and also work under certain conditions. Having the M1 Visa doesn’t mean you can anything. You are not allowed to do the following:

  • With an M1 Visa, you are not allowed to Work out of campus full-time
  • Also, you cannot complete your program as a part-time student
  • You are not allowed to change your program or change the institution you are in after six months of beginning your program.
  • You are not allowed to continue to study in any higher education in the US to get any other degree.

J-1 Visa

The J1 visa was created for students and participants of exchange programs. Students who can get an M1 Visa fall in the groups listed below:

  • Au Pairs
  • Camp Counselor
  • Government Visitors
  • Interns
  • International Visitors
  • Physicians
  • Professors and Research Scholars
  • Short-term scholars
  • Specialists in different areas
  • University students
  • Secondary school students
  • Teachers
  • Trainees
  • Work and travel participants

Also, one unique point about the J1 visa is that there is no limit as to how many people can be granted this visa. Even students residing in countries under the visa waiver program also need to get a visa to the united states if they are coming under a program.

Also, for each of the following groups mentioned above, there are specific requirements for both the Sponsor and the applicant.

The Application fee for the J1 Visa is $160 and the SEVIS I-901 fee is $180.

J-1 Visa Validity

The time Validity of a J1 Visa depends and varies from one category to the other. It also depends on the holder. When the J-1 Visa expires, the holder is expected to leave the US within the next 30 days and go back to their home country. When your J-1 Visa expires, you are no longer eligible for a J-1 Visa for the next 2 years. However, you can enter the US on a Tourist or Business Visa.

Q-1 Visa

The Q-1 Visa which is also called Visa for Participants in an International Cultural Exchange Program, gives an opportunity to internationals to work and train or be trained in the US. It also gives the foreign internationals the chance and opportunity to share cultures and traditions with US citizens.

There is no limit as to the number of Q1 visas given. This means the applicant only needs to fulfill the criteria to be eligible to get the Q1 Visa. Also, Since the Q1 Visa programs are controlled and administered by the USCIS, all procedures must go through them.

The validity of Q1 Visa

The Q1 Visa is Valid For up to 15 months at most. If you had previously had a Visa for a short period of time once in the United States, you and the person sponsoring your visa can apply for it to be extended. After the validity period is over, you must return back to your home country. You can not apply immediately for another Q1 visa for another year. You will have to wait for one year. But you can apply for a business or tourist visa.

As a 1 Visa holder, you cannot bring your spouse and children.

Requirements For US Student Visa

To apply for a US student visa you will need to provide the following documents:

  • Passport: Your need a valid passport to travel to the united states. The passport you are going to use must be valid for at least six months beyond your period of stay in the US. Individuals needing A visa must submit separate applications. This all the family members that have been listed on your passport.
  • Form D6-160: you must fill a form DS- 160 and provide the confirmation page and code.
  • Receipt of your Application fee: You will have to provide a receipt of payment of your visa application if you are required to do so.
  • Photo: While filling the form DS-160, you will have to upload your photo, but in the case of failure of upload of the photo, you have to bring along a printed copy when coming for your visa interview. This printed photo will have to conform with the US Visa Photo Requirements.
  • Certificate of Eligibility for Non-immigrant (F-1) Student Status-For Academic and Language Students, Form I-20 or Certificate of Eligibility for Non-immigrant (M-1) Student Status for Vocational Students, Form I-20: Once you get admitted into a school or program in the United States of America, they will send you a Form I-20 after they must have entered your information in the SEVIS database. Both you and an official from your school must sign the form I-20. Every student must be registered in the SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor System) database. If your spouse or children (minors) are to join you in the US, they will each receive individual Form I-20.

Additional us student visa requirements that may be demanded that you should have prepared

  • During your interview with a consular officer, he/she will determine whether you qualify for a student visa and may ask for additional documents which shows some level evidence: Such documents are:
  • Your academic documents such as your transcripts, degrees, diplomas, and certificates you got from every school you ever attended. Also, you may be required to show standardized test scores that may be required by the school you are going to be attending.
  • You will need to show a bank statement: This is a financial statement from the bank showing that you are able to cover your living, travel and educational expenses.

Also, Don’t Forget to visit read the instructions on how to apply for a US visa on the website of the US Embassy or Consulate where you are going to be applying for.

What is the US Student Visa Fees

The Us Student Visa fees are as follows

Visa Type Description Student Visa Fees
J1 Visa Exchange Visitor $160
F1 Visa Student (academic) $160
M1 Visa Student (vocational) $160
Q1 visa International Cultural Exchange $190


US Visa Guide: The Different Types Of US Visas You Should Know About

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