For individuals wishing to study in the United States, the two non-immigrant visa categories required to do so include the F and M visas.
The M visa is offered to international students who may want to pursue a full-time course at a USCIS-approved non-academic school or an established vocational school in the United States. The school must demonstrate that it can fulfill the educational objectives.
Requirements for M visa
• The basic requirement for qualification is there must exist a vocational or educational objective. Therefore the student should have enrolled in a full course of study with at least 12 semester hours of academic work per term and 12 hours of study per week respectively.
• For non-academic or vocational schools, the minimum hours the school sets for progress towards graduation are the full course of study.
• The applicant must also be proficient in English and have sufficient funds that can support the stay.
• The applicant student must also have a place of residence in their home country.
Applying for M visa at the consulate
• The applicant must provide Form 1-20 at the consulate which specifies acceptance from their institution of choice.
• The student applicant must provide the immigration attorneys at the consulate with a passport, required visa fee evidence of financial support, and form DS-156 for males between the age of 16 and 45.
• The visa is issued on the day of applying or a few days after by the immigration lawyers.
The F visa is issued to students who wish to attend a full-time academic program or language training program at a university, elementary school, high school, or college that is accepted by the U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Requirements for F visa
• The applicant must have been accepted into a USCIS-accredited school.
• The applicant must have a residence in the origin country and intend to return after completion of the course.
• The applicant must prove the ability to financially support himself while in the U.S. and pay for his studies
Application for F visa at the US embassy or consulate
• Each country's consulate or embassy has its own set of policies for the procedure regarding the F visa. Interviews are most often a requirement in determining eligibility.
• Form DS-160 must always be filled by the applicant and printed.
• Visa issuance fee, valid passport, passport photo, and certificate of eligibility are required to be presented at the consular once the interview is scheduled
• The visa can be approved and issued at the discretion of the consular officer up to 120 days in advance to the start of the course in the U.S.