F-1 and M-1: Students and Employment
There are two nonimmigrant visas for full-time students in the U.S. which are the F-1 Visa and the M-1 Visa. The general requirements for both F-1 and M-1 visas are below:
- Be enrolled full-time in a language training program, a vocational program or an academic program at a school listed with the Student and Exchange Visitors Program, Immigration & Customs Enforcement
- Show that you have enough funds to support yourself during your stay
- Show English language proficiency or be enrolled in English proficiency classes
- Show that you have a residence abroad that you intend to return to
F-1 Student Visa
To qualify for the F-1 Visa (Academic Student) the following must apply to you:
- Be enrolled full time as a student at an elementary school, high school, college, university, conservatory, seminary, language training program or other academic institution
- The program you are enrolled in should be approved by the U.S. for international students
- The program should culminate in a degree, certificate or diploma
M-1 Student Visa
The M-1 visa (Vocational Student) applies to all other full time students who are in nonacademic, vocational programs.
F-1 and M-1: Employment
Any paid work that students accept off campus must be pre-approved by the Designated School Official who maintains the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) and USCIS activities on campus. The work must also be related to their field of study. F-1 students can only work on campus under special conditions during their first academic year.
Starting their second academic year, the following off-campus paid work is permitted:
- Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
- Optional Practical Training (OPT) (pre-completion or post-completion)
- Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Optional Practical Training Extension (OPT)
M-1 students can take practical training off-campus once they complete their studies.
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