There are two nonimmigrant visa categories for persons wishing to study in the United States, commonly known as the F and M visas. An attorney at The Bobb Law Firm PLLC can outline the steps necessary to enter the United States as a student, and assist with the paperwork necessary to process a prospective student.
Canada: Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) manages student visas in Canada. The study permit is a document that is issued that allows foreign nationals to study at designated learning institutions (DLI) in Canada. Most foreign nationals need a study permit to study in Canada. The study permit is not a visa. It doesn’t let you enter Canada. You may also need a visitor visa or an electronic travel authorization (eTA)
U.S. – Individuals may enter in the F-1 or M-1 visa category provided they meet the following criteria:
- Enrollment in an “academic” educational program, a language-training program, or a vocational program,
- School must be approved by the Student and Exchange Visitors Program, Immigration & Customs Enforcement,
- Enrollment as a full-time student at the institution,
- Proficiency in English, or enrollment in courses leading to English proficiency,
- Ability to self-support during the entire proposed course of study,
- Maintaining a residence abroad that students have no intention of giving up.
Canada – Individuals may study in Canada if they:
- Are enrolled at a designated learning institution (DLI)
- Prove they have enough money to pay for their:
- Tuition fees
- Living expenses for themselves and any family members who come with them to Canada
- Return transportation for themselves and any family members who come with them to Canada
- Obey the law, have no criminal record and get a police certificate (if required)
- Are in good health and get a medical exam (if required)
- Prove to an officer that they will leave Canada when their study permit expires.
Student Visa Types
There are specific categories of student visas, with requirement variation depending on the type and whether the individual is seeking to study in the United States or Canada. An experienced attorney can guide individuals who want to study in the United States or Canada by going over the guidelines with them, and assisting them with the processing of paperwork and collection of necessary supporting documentation.
F-1 Student Visa (U.S.)
F-1 Visa (Academic Student) allows prospective students 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. They must be enrolled in a program, or course of study that concludes with a degree, diploma, or certificate and the educational institution must be authorized by the United States Government to accept international students.
M-1 Student Visa (U.S.)
M-1 visa (Vocational Student) category includes students in vocational, or other non-academic programs, other than language training.
Study Permit (Canada)
A study permit is the official document issued by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) that allows you to study in Canada. Most students who are planning to study for more than 6 months in Canada must apply for and be issued a Study Permit before arriving in Canada. Depending on where you live, you may be able to get your study permit faster through the Student Direct Stream (SDS).
F-1 students can work on campus in their first year, and off campus after the first year, subject to certain conditions and restrictions, while M-1 students may engage in practical training only after they have completed their studies. Study Permit students can work on or off campus, subject to eligibility requirements including but not limited to: length of course of study, whether the student is in/out of a regular academic session, etc. An attorney at The Bobb Law Firm PLLC can explain distinctions of student visas, in collaboration with the international student office at the school where the applicant is enrolled.