Students Visas: F1 & J1


Our Nashville immigration attorneys can help you determine which type of student visa is best in your situation.

Business visas provide a way for immigrants to take advantage of opportunities that would not otherwise be available in their own country. This is particularly true for students coming to the United States. In addition to providing them with more advanced or specialized knowledge and skills, an American education can be a springboard for internships and job opportunities. If you are considering applying for a student visa, there are several options available depending on your situation. The following outlines some of the main differences between them.

The Difference Between F1 and J1 Student Visas

The first step for residents of other nations who wish to visit this country and participate in the U.S. education system is to apply at a Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) approved school. The SEVP acts as a bridge between schools and government agencies for high school, seminary, and college students who want to come to this country while they attend school, but who are not necessarily seeking permanent resident status.

Provided you choose an accredited institution, as opposed to a non-accredited school or vocational program, you would need either an F1 or J1 visa. Which one you choose depends on your financial situation, as well as any immediate family members who may be joining you here. Princeton University provides an outline highlighting the differences between these two types of student visas. Factors that will determine which is right for you include:

  • Funding: With an F1 student visa, you use personal funds to pay for your education, or rely on scholarships and help from family or friends. With a J1 visa, at least 51% of your funding must come from external sources, either through the school, a corporate sponsor, or your own country’s government.
  • Home Country Residency Requirement: With a J1 visa, you may be required to do a residency in your own country for up to two years. These is no such requirement for an F1 student visa.
  • Employment: F1 students may obtain Optional Practical Training (OPT), allowing them to work up to 12 months or more in an off-campus position, depending on their field. This is generally after completion of studies. J1 students must be authorized for off campus employment through Academic Training (AT), which allows them to work either the entire time they are in school or for 18 months, whichever is longer.
  • Spouses/Children: While young children of both F1 and J1 students are permitted to attend school, each takes a different approach in terms of spouses. If you have an F1 student visa, your spouse cannot work or go to school without changing their immigration status. If you have a J1 visa, your spouse may apply to either work or pursue their own educational goals.

Questions About Student Visas? Contact Ozment Law, PLC Today

An American education can open doors of opportunity for your family. To discuss your options in terms of obtaining a student visa, contact Ozment Law, PLC and request a consultation with our Nashville immigration attorneys today.

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