Student Visas in the USA

Author: US Immigration made easy

Albanians and others desiring to be educated in the USA can apply for two different types of student visas: “F1″ and “M1″. Both visas are obtained in the same manner however, as shown below, the privileges and limitations of the two visas differ.

F1 Visa: for full-time academic and language students

Privileges

  • You may come to the USA as a full-time academic or language student leading to a degree or certificate.
  • F1 visas can be issued quickly.
  • You may work legally in a part-time job if it is an on-campus position, or you may get special permission to work off-campus if it becomes an economic necessity. You may also get permission to work off campus in a job that’s considered practical training for your field of study. F1 students may also work for certain employers who can’t find American workers to fill the positions.
  • You may travel in and out of the USA or remain there until the completion of your studies, up to a maximum of eight years.
  • Visas are available for accompanying relatives.

Limitations

  • You must first be accepted by an approved school in the USA before you can apply for an F1 visa*.
  • You must not work legally off campus without special permission.
  • You are restricted to attending only the specific school for which your visa is currently approved.
  • Accompanying relatives may stay in the USA with you, but they may not work.

M1 Visa: for vocational and other non-academic students

Privileges

  • You may come to the USA as a full-time vocational or non-academic or language student enrolled in a program leading to a degree or certificate.
  • You may transfer from one school to another.
  • You may work legally in a part-time job if it is an on-campus position. You may also get permission to work off campus in a job that’s considered practical training for your field of study.
  • You may travel in and out of the USA or remain there until the completion of your studies, up to a maximum of one year.
  • Visas are available for accompanying relatives.

Limitations

  • You are restricted to attending the specific school for which your visa has been approved. You can transfer from one school to another only if you apply for and receive permission from INS to do so. Once you are six months into the program of studies, you are prohibited from transferring at all except under truly exceptional circumstances.
  • You are never permitted to change your course of study.
  • You must not work legally off campus without special permission.
  • You are restricted to attending only the specific school for which your visa is currently approved.
  • Accompanying relatives may stay in the USA with you, but they may not work.

Note: as a prospective student, you may come to the USA as a tourist for the purpose of locating a school you wish to attend. Once accepted by the school, you may then apply for your student status without leaving the USA.

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