F, M, J, H-3 (Students & Trainees)
Academic Students (F Visas)
Students may be admitted a maximum of 30 days before the program start date. Students are then admitted for the duration of the program plus a 60 day extension at the conclusion of the program. The 60 day automatic extension can be used to prepare for departure, change status (use Form I-129 or I-539) change educational levels or transfer to another school. To qualify for an F visa an applicant must:
✓ Have a foreign residence with no intention of abandoning it;
✓ Be a bona fide student who is qualified to pursue a full course of study & maintains full course of study;
✓ Seek to enter only temporarily for the purpose of pursuing course of study;
✓ Only study at institution designated in application and approved by ICE.;
✓ Not attend a public elementary or secondary school (unless less than 12 months with reimbursement in full). Public post-secondary schools (i.e. community colleges, junior colleges, etc.);
✓ Present a SEVIS I-20 that is issued by an approved school;
✓ Establish sufficient financial support;
✓ Intend to depart the U.S. at conclusion of course of study;
✓ Meet sufficient academic credentials to attend school institution;
F Visa – Employment
FIRST YEAR: Generally, other than on-campus work (directly involving services to students or campus related research), no employment is permitted during the first year (9 months). F-1 on campus work can begin as soon as student is admitted. If sever economic hardship is shown, F-1 student may up to 20 hours per week while in session (must continue full course of study) and full time during holidays and vacations.
SOCIAL SECURITY CARD: Student must submit evidence of age and identity, current I-94, I-20 and evidence of authorization to work (i.e. original letter from DSO).
Vocational Students (M Visa)
Same requirements as F Visa but for vocational students. There is a 3 year maximum (including extensions). Educational objectives cannot be changed and employment not allowed. M status cannot be changed to H, nor can status be changed to other visa if ultimate goal is to change to H. A “full course of study” [8 CFR §214.2(m)(9)] for a vocational students is defined as:
✓ 12 semester/quarter hours leading to specific vocational objective;
✓ confers a degree or has its credits accepted by 3 accredited academic institutions;
✓ 18 hours/week (classroom) or 22 hours/week if shop or lab;
✓ no online course;
Exchange Visitor (J Visa)
The Exchange Visitor program is for non immigrant visitors who are professors, research scholars, short-term scholars, bona fide trainee or intern, college/university student, teach, secondary school student, nonacademic specialist, foreign physician, international visitor, government visitor, and camp counselor. For these types of visitors the criteria for obtaining a J visa are:
✓ Sufficient funds and English fluency;
✓ Sufficient medical insurance ($100k/per accident or illness);
✓ Has residence abroad.
Period of stay varies between fields.
Trainees (H-3 Visa)
Temporary workers invited to receive instruction and training in any field of endeavor (other than graduate medical education/training) that is not designed primarily to provide productive employment. The proposed training must not be available in home country and must not be designed to lead to employment within U.S. There are no numerical limits to H-3 visas.
Attributes Not Allowed:
– Too general. No fixed schedule, objectives or means of evaluating;
– Training is not compatible with petitioners business;
– Beneficiary is already an expert in this field;
– Too much productive employment (beyond incidental works necessary for training);
– Petitioner is not staffed to handle the training properly.