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Differentiating F-1 And M-1 Student Visas

Updated: Sep 25, 2023

For the academic year 2021-2022, Texas hosted over 70,000 international students, making it the fourth most popular state among foreign citizens who wish to study in the United States. If you are contemplating on growing your educational reach, the first step is finding out which type of nonimmigrant student visa meets your scholastic goals.

The F-1 Student Visa

An F-1 visa is the most common kind of student visa designed for students taking on an entire course of study. This type of visa considers universities, colleges, seminaries, conservatories and other academic institutions. There are also other criteria you must meet to obtain an F-1 student visa:

  • SEVP-approved institution: The full-time academic program you are applying for must be from an institution accredited by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement in their Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP).

  • Intent to return: You must prepare sufficient proof that you will come back to your home country once completing your studies. You can back up your case by showing evidence of stable employment, financial security and strong social ties.

  • Self-supporting financial resources: You must demonstrate the capacity to pay for your needs during your stay, like fees, living costs and other miscellaneous expenses. There is also a critical need for you to present enough documentation if you involve dependents living with you during your study.

  • Proof of English proficiency: You must take standardized exams to prove your proficiency in the English language.

There are also flexible terms of employment for an F-1 student. F-1 students may accept on-campus employment during their first year under certain conditions and restrictions.

The M-1 Student Visa

An M-1 visa holder is under technical programs of vocational or non-academic institutions. Unlike an F-1 student, M-1 visa holders usually stay in the US for only a year. They must also meet the same requirements as an F-1 visa holder.

An International Perspective

The path to being an international student is exciting. But when matters unique to your situation come up, like an extension of stay or change of status, issues can become legally complex. A legal resource could equip you with the knowledge and details you would need about studying abroad.

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