The Immigration and Nationality Act provides nonimmigrant visa categories for persons wishing to study in the United States. The "F" visa is reserved for nonimmigrants wishing to pursue academic studies and/or language training programs, the "M" visa is reserved for nonimmigrants wishing to pursue nonacademic or vocational studies and "J" Visa is reserved for nonimmigrants who wants to participate, and intends to participate, in an exchange visitor program designated by the Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs.
If you are going to the U.S. primarily for tourism, but want to take a short course of study of less than 18 hours per week, you may be able to do so on a visitor visa. You should inquire at the appropriate U.S. Embassy or Consulate. If your course of study is more than 18 hours a week, you will need a student visa.
In most countries, first time student visa applicants are required to appear for an in-person interview. However, each embassy and consulate sets its own interview policies and procedures regarding student visas. Students should consult Embassy web sites or call for specific application instructions.
Keep in mind that June, July, and August are the busiest months in most consular sections, and interview appointments are the most difficult to get during that period. Students need to plan ahead to avoid having to make repeat visits to the Embassy. To the extent possible, students should bring the documents suggested below, as well as any other documents that might help establish their ties to the local community.
Changes introduced shortly after September 11, 2001 involve extensive and ongoing review of visa issuing practices as they relate to our national security. It is important to apply for your visa well in advance of your travel departure date.
M-Vocational Students Requirements
Foreign students seeking to study in the U.S. may enter in the F-1 or M-1 category provided they meet the following criteria:
All applicants for a student visa must provide:
This section focuses on articles and reports related to M visas from government agencies such as the USCIS, DOS, DHS, CBP and ICE.