The United States opens her gates for foreign citizens who come to the U.S. to study. Before applying for a visa, all study visa applicants are required to be accepted and approved by their school or program. Once accepted, educational institutions will provide each applicant the necessary approval documentation to be submitted when applying for a student visa.
Study Visa Descriptions and Qualifications
The F-1 VISA
This is the most common type of study visa. If you wish to participate in academic studies in the United States in an approved school, such as an accredited U.S. college or university, private secondary school, or approved English language program then an F-1 Visa is the best visa type for you. You will also need an F-1 visa if your course of study is more than 18 hours a week.
The Requirements For F1 Student Visas
- You must be attending an academic institution or a language-training program.
- You must be enrolled as a full-time student.
- The school must be approved by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement USICE, to accept foreign students.
- You must show adequate financial support to complete the study.
- You must prove that you do not intend to abandon your foreign residency.
Yes, You Can Work In The U.S.
F-1 visas are planned to enable foreign students to study in the U.S.A. However, there are strict work limitations. Students with F-1 visas are generally permitted to work on the campus of the university at which they study for up to 20 hours a week. There are also two training programs that F-1 students can get permission to work under. F1 students are advised to always seek guide from the DSO or Foreign Student Advisor before seeking employment in the United States.
If you intend to participate in a non-academic or vocational study or training at a U.S. institution then an M-1 visa is the best option for you.
M-1 students applicants are eligible for a considerable short amount of Optional Practical Training one month for every four months of study as defined in Title 8, Code of Federal Regulations. While an F-1 student can simply file an I-765 Application for Employment Authorization, an M-1 student must also file an I-539 to extend status. These applications are arbitrated at various United State Citizen and Immigration Service centers around the country, which sometimes have varying interpretations of the regulations. An application for Optional Practical Training should include:
- cover letter explaining the student’s situation
- Form I-765
- $410 filing fee made out to Department of Homeland Security
- Signed I-20 with OPT request (copies are not accepted)
- copy of visa and passport photo page
- 2 passport photos
- copy of original I-20 and original financial documents
- Up to date bank statement
- Form I-539
- $370 filing fee made out to Department of Homeland Security
- Copy of I-94 card, front and back
It is also desirable to include a copy of each application, since the I-765 and I-539 will be considered separately at the service center. The outcome of an approved I-765 will be an Optional Practical Training card which is also known as an Employment Authorization Document. The result of an accepted I-539 will be a new I-94 departure card, which the student submits upon leaving the United States, to prove that he has left. A student may begin payable jobs after obtaining the OPT card and applying for a Social Security Number even if the I-94 card has not arrived.
If the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services requires more information for either application, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services will send a request for evidence. Sometimes these requests are for items that were sent in originally; However, it is best to send them in again immediately. Approvals or denials will arrive differently and after separate time intervals.