F-1/M-1 Student Visa
The F-1 visa allows a student to temporarily live in the United States while pursuing an entire course of study at a designated university or college, High school, private elementary school, etc. For training or vocational school, the student must seek an M-1 visa.
In some cases, work authorization is available for students:
- Curricular Practical Training (CPT) – This type of employment is part of the student’s school curriculum, including internships, cooperative education, and any other program offered by employers in association with the school.
- Optional Practical Training (OPT) – OPT is employment-related to the student’s major field of study. It is available during the study, while on school vacation, and after completing all degree course requirements or entire course of study.
- On-Campus Employment – This type of employment allows the student to work on-campus part-time (not exceeding 20 hours per week).
- Severe Economic Hardship – In some cases, if a student can show extreme economic hardship due to unforeseeable circumstances beyond the student’s control, then employment could be available if they are in good academic standing, continue to carry a full-time course load, and show that on-campus employment is not public or insufficient.
Before seeking employment as a student, it is highly recommended that the student consults with the designated school advisor.
The spouse and children (under 21 years of age) may also join the F-1 recipient and be granted lawful status in the U.S. under an F-2 dependent visa.
If the student is not complying with the school’s curriculum or is engaged in unauthorized work, it is crucial to seek legal advice right away. Such acts can ruin the possibility of attaining immigration benefits in the future and put the student at risk of deportation. In some instances, it is possible to reinstate the student’s status to avoid deportation.
M-1 Vocational Students
Like the F-1 visa, the M-1 visa allows students to attend schooling while living in the U.S temporarily. Unlike the F-1 visa, however, the M-1 visa focuses on students attending vocational or nonacademic institutions. The spouse and unmarried children of the student can also be granted lawful status (M-2). Work authorizations are allowed under certain circumstances.