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Posts Tagged ‘F Visas

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

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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.

New Fee Structure for Student and Exchange Visitor Program – Effective October 27, 2008

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The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) announced that the SEVP school certification petition fees and the SEVIS I-901 fees for foreign nationals seeking to become academic (F visa) or vocational students (M visa), or exchange visitors (J visa) will increase.

The increase in fee changes made in the SEVP rule will affect both students and schools, but schools currently participating in SEVP will not be required to pay additional fees to recertify under this new fee structure. The increase is as follows: $1,700 for a school certification petition; $655 for each site visit for certification; $200 for each F or M student; and an $180 fee for certain J exchange visitors. However, the $35 fee for each J exchange visitor seeking admission as an au pair, camp counselor, or summer work/travel program participant will continue to remain the same.

Once promulgated, the rule will also establish procedures for the oversight and recertification of schools attended by F and/or M students, and procedures for schools to submit recertification petitions. The rule also adds a provision allowing a school to voluntarily withdraw from its certification, and clarifies procedures for school operation with regard to F and M students during recertification and following a denial of recertification or a withdrawal of certification. For more information you can refer to

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