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What is a Visa?

A visa allows a foreign citizen to travel to a U.S. port-of entry and request permission from the U.S. immigration officer to enter the United States. It does not guarantee entry into the U.S. .

What type of visa do I need to become an academic student in the United States?

Most non-U.S. citizens who wish to study in the United States will seek an F-1 (non-immigrant) student visa, but there are other visa types that are sometimes authorized for those who study in the U.S. Here is a short description of the different visa types that involve study:

  1. F-1, or Student Visa: This visa is the most common for those who wish to engage in academic studies in the United States. It is for people who want to study at an accredited U.S. college or university or to study English at a university or intensive English language institute. Learn more about F Visas
  2. J-1, or Exchange Visitor: This visa is for people who will be participating in an exchange visitor program in the U.S. The "J" visa is for educational and cultural exchange programs. Learn more about J Visas
  3. M-1, or Student Visa: This visa is for those who will be engaged in non-academic or vocational study or training at an institution in the U.S. Learn more about M Visas

The content on this page has been excerpted from the EducationUSA website, a web portal sponsored by the U.S. Department of State.For more information, please visit www.educationusa.state.gov.

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