F-1 non-immigrant category allows students to enter the United States to participate in a full-time course of study. It may be used for individuals who wish to participate in a conventional academic program or a language training program. In most cases, the F-1 student visa is the best option for students who have been accepted into an academic institution located in the United States.
To qualify for an F-1 student visa you must meet the following qualifications:(1) admission and enrollment in a full-time course of study at a school approved by the INS; and
In general, you are not permitted to work as an F-1 student. However, this rule is subject various exceptions, which are discussed as follows:
You are permitted to obtain on-campus employment of no more than 20 hours a week. There is no limitation on the type of on-campus position you may obtain, as long as you are actually employed by the school and not working anymore than 20 hours per week.
Curricular Practical Training
Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is a type of employment authorization that allows F-1 students to be employed as long as the student is working in an area that is directly related to their studies and they are receiving school credit for such work.
Optional Practical Training
F-1 students who participate in Optional Practical Training (OPT) may work in the U.S. in a field that is directly related to their course of study for a total of 12 – 29 months, depending on the student’s major.
Employment Based on Hardship
F-1 students who are experiencing unforeseen financial hardship while studying in the U.S., may be able to obtain off-campus employment authorization from the USCIS under certain conditions.
Length of Stay
With most non-immigrant visas, a set date will be put on your I-94 indicating when you are required to leave the United States and return to your home country. However, F-1 students are not given a set date of departure. Instead, as an F-1 student your I-94 will be marked with the initials “D/S,” which stands for duration of status. What this means is that as an F-1 student you are required to leave the U.S. upon the end of your studies, whenever that may occur, rather than at a specific pre-determined date.
The M-1 non-immigrant category permits students to enter the U.S. to participate in a technical or vocational study program. A vocational/technical school is one where students are taught skills and practical knowledge needed to perform a specific type of job as opposed to academic or theoretical knowledge.
To enter the U.S. as an M-1 student, you must meet the following requirements:
The M-1 visa has numerous limitations when compared to its F-1 counterpart:
Length of Stay
M-1 students are admitted into the United States for a fixed time period rather than the duration of their status. Thus, unlike with F-1 status, M-1 students are given a set date of departure.
For further information with respect to US and Canadian immigration or to find out if you or a company employee is eligible for temporary or permanent relocation to Canada or the US, we invite you to contact our experienced immigration lawyers and attorneys by contacting the Bomza Law Group at:
1-800-993-9971 or by clicking here: “Contact Us”.