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F1 and M1 Student Visas

US Student F-1 and
M-1 Visa Categories

This popularity could have made the US student visa system extremely complex, but luckily the system is streamlined. In fact there are only 2 main visas for full time students:

Please see our F-1 Visa and M-1 visa guides for information on eligibility requirements and application advice for these visas.

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US F-1 Student Visa

The F-1 visa is the most popular route to studying in the US, and covers all full time academic education; from primary school to university. Students on this visa must have a confirmed place at a recognised primary/elementary school, secondary school, or university. This visa cannot be used to attend publicly funded primary schools or adult education programs.

Eligibility

F-1 visa applicants must meet several eligibility criteria to be accepted, these include:

Work

F-1 visa holders may work for up to 20 hours per week during term time, and 40 hours during holidays. In their first academic year this work must take place ‘on campus’ which is defined as any location that is ‘educationally related’ or ‘educationally affiliated’ with the school or university – such as with research teams who are linked with the university but operate off-site. In the second academic year the student may work off campus, if authorised to do so by the Designated School Official, in 2 types of work:

US M-1 Student Visa

The F-1 visa is the most popular route to studying in the US, and covers all full time academic education; from primary school to university. Students on this visa must have a confirmed place at a recognised primary/elementary school, secondary school, or university. This visa cannot be used to attend publicly funded primary schools or adult education programs.

Eligibility

F-1 visa applicants must meet several eligibility criteria to be accepted, these include:

Work

M-1 students cannot work while they study. However, when their vocational studies have finished, M-1 students can work full time in a practical training role that is related to their vocation.
Students are entitled to 1 month’s practical training for every 4 months of study – up to a maximum of 6 months – and must apply for the Designated School Officer’s permission, and for a visa extension to cover the training period.