Generally, students who wish to take advantage of the educational opportunities offered in the United States will need to apply for an F-1 (non-immigrant) visa, but the government makes a few other visa programs available in order to cover other special circumstances. According to Berd & Klauss, PLLC, experienced immigration attorneys based in New York, there are three visa programs for students traveling to the U.S.
- F-1 Student Visa. This visa is by far the most common, and will cover most students coming to the United States to study. It's intended for people studying at any accredited college or university, as well as those studying English at a language institute.
- J-1 Exchange Visa. Those participating in an educational exchange program will need to apply for a this special visa. It is also usually authorized for individuals in cultural exchange programs, as well.
- M-1 Visa. This program is intended for those who intend to study at a vocational training institution within the U.S.
When applying for a visa at your local embassy, you will need to bring a SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System)-generated document, either an I-20 or DS-2019, which you will receive from the sponsoring college, university, or organization when you are accepted. The visa process can take some time, so it's a good idea to apply as soon as you receive your documentation.
For legal services and help with this or any kind of visa, visit the immigration law specialists at Berd & Klauss, PLLC online or call (212) 461-7152 to schedule a consultation.