US Student Visas F-1, J-1, M-1

US Student Visas F-1, J-1, M-1 - 3.0 out of 5 based on 3 votes
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These categories include visas to a variety of types of educational institutions - academic, technical and vocational, elementary and post-graduate. An applicant for an F-1 or M-1 student visa must demonstrate that he or she:

  • has a residence abroad which he or she does not intend to abandon
  • has been accepted to pursue a full course of study at an INS-approved institution, as evidenced by presentation of Form I-20 A-B
  • has sufficient academic preparation to pursue the intended study (or evidence that the school is aware of the lack and will remedy it) and
  • has sufficient funds to cover the first year of study, and access to sufficient funds to cover subsequent years.
  • Form DS-157 - for male applicants aged 16-45
  • Form DS -158 - for all students and exchange visitors

On November 30, 1996 the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA) came into effect, including section 214(l) which outlines the new requirements for students pursuing F-1 studies in public secondary schools in America. Section 214(l) creates a payment requirement for students pursuing F-1 studies in public secondary schools (grades 9-12). As a result, applicants must prove that they have reimbursed the school for the unsubsidized per capita cost of education for the intended period of study. This amount is determined by the school authority and must reflect the school district's cost of educating a student. Section 214(l) does not permit schools to charge an unrealistically low amount, waive this requirement, or categorize the intending student as a resident in order to waive the reimbursement requirement. Likewise, a U.S. sponsor can not claim to have fulfilled the reimbursement requirement by paying local taxes. The I-20 form must contain the amount of reimbursement and indicate that this amount was paid, or the applicant must provide a notarized statement on school district letterhead, signed by the appropriate school district official, which states the cost and that the reimbursement has been made. Section 214(l) limits public secondary school attendance in F-1 visa status to a cumulative 12 months.


The Exchange visitor program is administered by the U.S. Information Agency (USIA) primarily to promote the international exchange of scholars and students (usually postgraduate students). It is also the principal vehicle by which foreign medical students come to the U.S. as residents or interns. Applicants must demonstrate:

  • acceptance to a designated exchange visitor program, as evidenced by presentation of Form DS2019
  • Form DS -157 for male applicants aged 16-45
  • Form DS - 158 - for all student and exchange visitors
  • sufficient funds, or adequate arrangements, to cover expenses
  • sufficient knowledge of English to undertake the proposed program
  • compliance with the requirement of section 212(j) INA, if coming to participate in a graduate medical education or training program.

All students and exchange visitors must now be entered into the special registration system (SEVIS) of the University they are applying to.

According to Section 212(e) INA, the duration of stay for various types of exchange visitors is limited -- two years for graduate nurses, three years for research scholars, and so forth. The two-year foreign residence requirement under 212(e) applies to an alien:

  • whose participation in an exchange program was financed, wholly or partially, directly or indirectly, by the U.S. Government or the alien's Government
  • who at the time of his or her admission as an exchange visitor was a national and/or resident of a country which the USIA director has designated as clearly requiring the services or specialized knowledge or skill in which the alien was engaged or
  • who acquires exchange visitor status in order to receive graduate medical education or training in the United States.

Fees for F-1 Students and J-1 Exchange visitors are as follows: processing fee (non-refundable) $100, no reciprocity fee.

It is Department of State policy to give scheduling priority to persons applying for student and exchange visitor visas (F, M and M visas). In accordance with this policy, the U.S. Consulate General in Yekaterinburg will make every effort to schedule interviews for applicants for student and exchange visitor visas so that they may arrive in time for the beginning of their programs. Applicants for student and exchange visas are encouraged to arrange for their interviews as soon as they learn of their acceptance in these programs. Educational institutions provide students with I-20 forms upon their acceptance as students, and the Department of State provides exchange visitors with DS-2019 forms. Both of these forms carry unique SEVIS numbers which applicants should provide when requesting appointments. If prospective applicants have not yet received the forms, they may set the appointments and provide the SEVIS numbers when they receive the form but before they appear for their interviews.

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