What is the Difference Between J-1 and F-1?

For anyone seeking to obtain a visa to come to the United States as a student or for purposes of study or education, you are probably looking at J-1 and F-1 visas. Yet it is important to understand that these are two different types of visas, and F-1 status is distinct from J-1 status. Indeed, whether you seek an F-1 or a J-1 visa will depend upon your circumstances. In some cases, a person who is eligible for an F-1 visa may also be eligible for a J-1 visa, but not in all cases. In addition, some students may be able to request a change of status between F-1 and J-1 in certain circumstances. What do you ultimately need to know about the difference between J-1 and F-1? Our Nashville immigration lawyers have information to help you.

What is an F-1 Visa?

Anybody who is planning to study in the United States will likely need to obtain a student visa. According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), an F-1 visa is for an “academic student,” and this is a particularly category of visa that “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.”

F-1 visas are the type of visa that are used most often for many international students at colleges and universities in the United States. To be eligible for an F-1 visa, all of the following must be true of the visa holder’s plans:

  • Full-time student at accredited institution or program;
  • Program or course of study must culminate in a degree, diploma, or certificate;
  • Institution or program must be authorized to accept international students; and
  • Visa holder cannot work off-campus during the first academic year and may only work on-campus in permitted capacities.

What is a J-1 Visa?

J-1 visas are typically used for students in the U.S. who are coming to study through a specific type of educational exchange program like the Fulbright. These types of visas are also used for students who are coming to the U.S. on short-term study programs in capacities as students who are visiting researchers, for example.

Sometimes full-time, degree-seeking students at a U.S. educational institution will also seek a J-1 visa if the majority of their funding is from sources that are not personal funds. To be clear, to be eligible for J-1 status as a degree-seeking student, more than 51 percent of your funding must come from sources that are not your own personal funding, such as an international organization paying for a portion of your tuition and fees, a scholarship that has come directly from the education institution, or a fellowship from an outside source.

Contact Our Immigration Attorneys in Nashville

If you have questions about obtaining F-1 or J-1 status, or if you need assistance changing status from F-1 to J-1, an experienced Nashville immigration attorney at our firm can speak with you today about your options and how to move forward with your case. Contact Ozment Law, PLC for more information and to speak with one of our lawyers.

We Want You To Be Able To Share In The American Dream