What Types of Academic Visas Are Available?

United States immigration polices are often complex and can be very confusing. If you are an international student who is looking to come to the United States to study or work, there are several different academic visas that you might be able to obtain.

It is important that you are aware of the specific regulations and stipulations associated with each visa type. The breadth, depth and scope of some of the rules and regulations associated with some of the visas can be overwhelming. The entire application process can sometimes take long amounts of time and require a lot of different paperwork and diligence on your part.
If you have questions about any type of visa, or about an application process, an experienced immigration lawyer will be able to provide you with appropriate counsel.

What Are The Visa Types?

1. F-1 Visas:

The F-1 visa is designed for academic studies, and is the most common student visa. Those studying under the F-1 visa must remain classified as a full time student, and may only study at the academic institution through which the visa was granted.

In order to qualify for the visa, prospective applicants must be able to return to their place of foreign residence (maintain nonimmigrant intent) throughout their course of studies. You might have to furnish proof of strong ties to a home country, which could include documentation of assets or names of family members who are residing in said country.

Applicants must also prove they have adequate financial support for their time in the United States.

The F-1 application generally starts with the issuance of an I-20 Form by the International Student Office at the Academic Institution qualified and authorized to issue one.

2. M-1 Visas:

The M-1 visa is targeted towards those pursuing nonacademic or vocational studies. In a somewhat similar fashion to the F-1 visa, applicants must be able to demonstrate they have the funds to pay for tuition and living costs. Those with an M-1 visa must be involved in a full course of study, which is usually at least 12 semester or quarter hours. There can be exceptions in some scenarios.

Students with this visa are not able to work off-campus, and usually are admitted to the United States for a fixed time period. There may be exceptions for the time restriction. An experienced visa attorney can provide answers about the M-1 visa and Other particular situations.

3. J-1 Visas:

The J-1 visa is designed for those who want to participate in work and study programs and receive some sort of training or skills that may not be available to them in a home country.

These programs could include certain trainee or specialist programs, or work as an au pair or camp counselor. The programs are usually sponsored by some sort of institution.

In order to receive a J-1 visa, students will need to find a sponsor. Sponsors usually have certain requirements and often look for those with proficient English skills. The process to receive a visa includes paying fees, and sitting for an interview at a US embassy or consulate.

One important aspect of the J-1 that requires an analysis before applying whether or not the applicant may become subject to the two year residency required. If so, then J-1 may not necessary be the best nonimmigrant visa option for the applicant.

If you should have any questions or need more information about the way that the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Laws may impact you, your family, your friends or your colleagues, please contact the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Lawyers at the NPZ Law Group – VISASERVE – U.S. Immigration and Nationality Lawyers by e-mail us at info@visaserve.com or by calling us at 201-670-0006 (x107) or by visiting our Law Firm’s website at www.visaserve.com.