There are two different available options for citizens of other countries who wish to travel to the U.S. to study. Whether these students need a F student visa or an M student visa depends upon their course of study and the kind of institution that they want to attend.
If you want to attend a vocational school or another recognized nonacademic institution, other than a language skills training program, you will need to apply for a M visa. For all other studies at elementary schools, high schools, universities, colleges, seminaries, conservatories, and other academic institutions, including language skills training programs, you will need to apply for a F visa.
What Are the Two Different Types of Visas for Students to Study in the U.S.?
Your first step to obtain either type of student visa is to apply and be accepted by a Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)-approved school. You then will be registered for Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) and will pay a SEVIS fee. The school then will issue you a Form-120, which will enable you to make an appointment with a U.S. Embassy or Consulate and apply for either a F or M student visa.
The steps that each U.S. Embassy or Consulate requires you to follow in order to obtain a student visa vary somewhat. In any case, you will need to complete online nonimmigrant visa application, Form DS-60, upload a photo, and bring the confirmation page to bring with you to your interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate. You also will have to pay a non-refundable visa application fee and you may have to pay visa issuance fee, based on your nationality.
You can receive a new student visa up to 120 days before your course or program of study begins, but you cannot enter the U.S. any earlier than 30 days prior to the beginning of the program.
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