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What is the difference between F and M student visas?

Many important issues can come up for a person in connection to their education. For individuals from a foreign country who desire to come to the U.S. to study or train, there are generally key immigration issues to address on top of the usual school-related concerns. Typically, these issues involve student visas.

Here in the U.S., the two main classes of student visas are F visas and M visas. The primary difference between these two types of student visas is what type of schooling they are for.

F-1 visas are generally for students coming to the U.S. to study at an academic institution. Examples of such institutions include: elementary schools, academic high schools, colleges, universities, conservatories and seminaries.

M-1 visas, on the other hand, are generally for individuals who are coming to America for a nonacademic training program, such as a vocational program.

As a note, there is one type of nonacademic training that falls under the coverage of the F visa rather than the M visa. This is language training.

Now, whether an international student is here in the U.S. on an F visa or an M visa, how the various immigration issues that come up in relation to their visa and their general situation (such as issues related to employment) are handled can have significant impacts on their schooling, life and post-school prospects. So, when navigating these types of issues, international students may find it beneficial to have the guidance of a lawyer skilled at U.S. immigration law matters.

Source: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, “Students and Employment,” Accessed Feb. 15, 2017

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