Types of USA Student Visa- Students Visa Guide

The United States continues to be a top destination for international students planning to study abroad. If you are among those students who are searching for admission into an educational institution in the US, applying for a USA Student Visa is the next important step to realizing your Study in USA dream.

This Students Visa Guide will briefly examine the various types of USA Student Visa. Usually, higher institutions in the USA offer each international student with approval documentation. And this documentation is important for applying for a USA Student Visa.

International students can apply within a period of 4 months from the start date of I-20 and is allowed to travel within 30 days from the start date of I-20. The I-20 document is an eligibility certificate. It’s a multi-purpose document that is given out by a government approved U.S.A educational institution.

This document establish that a student has been offered admission to an institution to undertake a full-time course. It also confirms that the student has sufficient or enough monetary funds to stay in the U.S.

Three Types of USA Student Visa

There are basically three types of USA student visa or non-immigrant student visas for international students. These are: F Visa, M Visa and J Visa.

F Visa

The F visa is issued out for academic studies. It is the most popular and widely sought after among the three kinds of USA student visas. The F student visa is for overseas students who wish to study for an academic degree at an accredited US institution, or to study English at a university or intensive English language institute.

The F-1 visa is also extended to other overseas students who wish to attend high school, a specialized, non-vocational institution, or seminary in the United States.

Any student who apply for a program that requires more than 18 hours per week will require F-visa. There are three types of F visa. They are:

  • F-1 visas for full-time students.
  • F-2 visas for immediate families of F-1 visa holders (spouse and unmarried children below the age of 21).
  • F-3 visas for North American origin i.e., the Mexican and Canadian students who live in their country of origin while attending part-time or full-time studies in the US.

M Visa

The M visa is awarded to the overseas students for pursuing non-academic or vocational programs or training at an institution in the US. There are three types of M visa. They are:

  • M-1 visas for overseas students pursuing an vocational or non-academic studies.
  • M-2 visas for immediate family members of M-1 visa holders (as in F-2 visas).
  • M-3 visas for North American origin as in F-3 visas, but for vocational or non-academic programs.

Any international student possessing M-1 visa may not change his or her status to F-1 visa holder.

J Visa

The J visa is awarded for academic studies as an exchange visitor. It permits students to take part in international exchange visitors in programs in the US that enhances educational and cultural exchange.

The J visa is required by a international student if he or she has been accepted into a course of study or program via a designated sponsoring organization to take part in an exchange visitor program in the United States.

There are two types of J visa. They are:

  • J-1 visas are for exchange students.
  • J-2 visas are for immediate families of J-1 visa holders (as for F-2 visas).
  • You have a valid passport to move to the United States.
  • You have already been accepted by an institution recognized by the United States government.
  • You have been admitted to a full-time program.
  • You intend to reside in the US for a specific period of time i.e.
  • You have the financial means needed to pay for your expenses while in the US.

Also, read more about student visas for oversea studies and student visa for some major international study destinations.