If you would like to study as a full-time student in the United States, you will need a student visa. There are two nonimmigrant visa categories for persons wishing to study in the United States. These visas are commonly known as the F and M visas.
You may enter in the F-1 or M-1 visa category provided you meet the following criteria:
- You must be enrolled in an “academic” educational program, a language-training program, or a vocational program
- Your school must be approved by USCIS
- You must be enrolled as a full-time student at the institution
- You must be proficient in English or be enrolled in courses leading to English proficiency
- You must have sufficient funds available for self-support during the entire proposed course of study
- You must maintain a residence abroad which you have no intention of giving up
The F-1 Visa (Academic Student) allows you to enter the United States as a full-time student at an accredited college, university, seminary, conservatory, academic high school, elementary school, or other academic institution or in a language training program. You must be enrolled in a program or course of study that culminates in a degree, diploma, or certificate and your school must be authorized by the U.S. government to accept international students. For more information regarding F-1 Academic Student Visas click here.
The M-1 Visa (Vocational Student) category includes students in vocational or other nonacademic programs, other than language training. For more information regarding M-1 Vocational Student Visas click here.
It is possible to change your status from a tourist to a student. However, there are some important considerations to keep in mind.