Study in US: 3 Popular Student Visas Among International Students

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Study in US: 3 Student Visas for International Students

Numerous international students, especially those from India, have long-held aspirations to pursue higher education in the United States. During the summer months of June, July, and August 2023, the US Embassy in India issued an astounding 90,000 visas to Indian students, breaking a previously unheard-of record. 


Over 1.25 lakh Indian students have travelled to the United States in total to pursue their academic goals. Knowing the many student visas that are available is essential if you’re among those hoping to make your American study abroad ambitions come true. Here, we give an overview of three important visas that can influence your path towards higher education.

Source: US Embassy Official Website

F-1 Visa: Your Gateway to Academic Excellence

The F-1 visa is the most popular option for foreign students beginning their academic careers in the United States. It provides a plethora of advantages and is tailored for full-time academic course enrollment at US universities, colleges, language schools, or other educational institutions.

Eligibility: To qualify for an F-1 visa, acceptance into a US educational institution authorised by the US government to admit international students is mandatory. You’ll need to furnish proof of acceptance and financial documentation demonstrating your ability to cover tuition, living expenses, and other associated costs during your stay.

Duration: The F-1 visa permits you to remain in the United States for the duration of your academic program. It even includes a grace period, allowing you to arrive up to 30 days before your program commences and stay up to 60 days after its completion.

Employment Opportunities: F-1 visa holders enjoy various employment prospects in the United States, including on-campus employment, optional practical training (OPT), and curricular practical training (CPT). These avenues provide invaluable work experience while you study.

Dependents: F-1 visa holders can also bring their dependents (spouses and unmarried children under 21) to the United States on an F-2 visa. Though F-2 visa holders cannot work, they are entitled to accompany the F-1 student during their educational journey.

Also Read: US Visa Application Process 2023: Types of Visas in the USA

J-1 Visa: Bridging Cultures and Education

The J-1 visa, also known as the exchange visitor visa, is designed for individuals participating in exchange programs that foster cultural exchange, educational enrichment, and international cooperation. It presents a unique opportunity for students to engage in a diverse array of academic, research, and cultural activities in the United States.

Eligibility: Typically, J-1 visas are granted to individuals partaking in exchange programs sponsored by accredited institutions, organizations, or government entities. These programs encompass study initiatives, research endeavours, internships, and more.

Duration: The duration of a J-1 visa varies according to the specific exchange program, ranging from a few weeks to several years. However, there is usually an upper limit on the duration, which varies by category.

Employment Options: J-1 visa holders generally have the privilege to work on-campus and may qualify for academic training in their field of study, akin to practical training opportunities available to F-1 visa holders. Some J-1 visa holders may also be subject to a two-year home country residence requirement, the “212(e) requirement.”

Also Read: US Visa Types for Indian Citizens: Documents, Process

M-1 Visa: A Pathway to Vocational Excellence

The M-1 visa is tailored for students enrolling in vocational or non-academic courses in the United States. This category specifically caters to individuals pursuing education and training in fields such as mechanics, technology, cosmetology, and other vocational skills.

Eligibility: To be eligible for an M-1 visa, acceptance into a US vocational school or institution authorised by the US government to admit international students is mandatory. The chosen program should primarily be vocational or non-academic in nature.

Duration: The M-1 visa allows you to stay in the United States for the duration of your vocational program, with a grace period permitting you to arrive up to 30 days before its commencement and stay up to 30 days after its completion.

Employment Options: Unlike F-1 visa holders, M-1 visa holders have limited employment options, typically limited to on-campus employment in some cases. Off-campus work is generally not permitted.

Dependents: M-1 visa holders can bring their dependents (spouses and unmarried children under 21) to the United States on an M-2 visa. However, M-2 visa holders cannot work or study in the US.

Also Read: USA Student Visa: Cost, Types, Intakes

Choosing the Right Visa for Your Study Plans

Selecting the appropriate student visa is pivotal for a successful educational journey in the United States. To make an informed decision, consider the following factors:

Academic Programme: Determine whether your chosen program is academic or vocational, which will guide your choice between an F-1 and an M-1 visa.

Course Sponsorship: Confirm whether your course is sponsored by an accredited educational institution or organization authorized to issue the respective student visa.

Duration of Study: Evaluate the length of your program and whether you plan to engage in additional activities such as research, internships, or cultural exchange, aligning the visa’s duration with your intended stay.

Employment Opportunities: Consider your need for employment during your studies and after graduation, as different visas offer varying employment options.

Home Country Requirement: Be aware of any home country residence requirements that may apply to your visa category, especially for J-1 visa holders.

Dependents: If you plan to bring dependents with you, ensure that the chosen visa category permits dependent visas.

Understanding these visa options is a vital step in fulfilling your educational dreams in the United States. Choose wisely, and may your academic journey be both enriching and rewarding.

For more such visa and immigration news and daily news updates follow Leverage Edu and start your study abroad journey today!

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