Mithras Law Group Immigration Blog

Global Immigration and Business Solutions

Thinking of Obtaining a Non-immigrant Student Visa (F or M visa) in the US?

with 2 comments

If you are looking to obtain a non-immigrant F or M student visa in the United States or change your status to a student visa because you need to sharpen your skills or because you have been laid off from your job or because you are thinking of pursuing a new career, below are the overview of the steps required by US Customs and Enforcement:

If applying from outside the United States:

Non-immigrants must:

  • Apply to and be accepted by, an SEVP-certified school.

See link for updated approved SEVP schools:

  • Be able to pay for the cost of schooling and living expenses while in the United States and furnish proof of sufficient funding to the school. Non-immigrant students have limited work opportunities, so unless the school has promised an on-campus job, non-immigrant students should not expect to work to pay expenses.
  • Attend school full-time (except for Mexican or Canadian residents who live at home and commute to a United States school within 75 miles of the U.S. border.)
  • When a school accepts a non-immigrant applicant, it issues a Form I-20 for initial attendance. Prospective non-immigrant students may apply to more than one SEVP-certified school but must choose one and use the Form I-20 from that school when applying for a visa.
  • After receiving the Form I-20, the prospective non-immigrant student must pay the SEVIS I-901 fee.
  • The prospective non-immigrant student must then obtain a student visa from an embassy or consulate abroad or, if from a visa exempt country such as Canada or Bermuda, apply for admittance at a U.S. POE.
  • After obtaining an F-1 or M-1 visa, the prospective student may apply for entry into the United States through a U.S. POE no more than 30 days prior to the program start date on the student’s Form I-20.

If applying from within the United States :

The prospective non-immigrants must:

  • Be in the United States in a valid non-immigrant status and eligible to change to F-1 or M-1 status
  • Receive approval from USCIS for the change of status.
  • Be prepared to depart the United States immediately if the change of status application is denied.

2 Responses

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  1. Nice post dude


    June 30, 2009 at 2:40 pm

  2. on july 12:28 noon Good people

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