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Friday, February 21, 2014

EFFECTIVE 11/18/2011: U.S. Department of State halts issuance of ALL F, M, J visas at U.S. Embassies and Consulates.

UPDATE:  F, M, J Visa Issuance Has Resumed!

"Effective immediately, in order to ensure maximum data integrity and consistency, DoS has temporarily halted the issuance of ALL F, M and J visas at all U.S. Embassies and Consulates."

"SEVP plans to circulate additional broadcast messages upon receipt of any updates or changes regarding this issue."

This message impacts anyone seeking an F-1 (academic student); M-1 (vocational student); or J-1 (exchange visitor) temporary visa from a U.S. Consulate or Embassy located outside of the United States.

If you are currently an international student, intern or trainee, in the United States, or wish to become one of these; AND you need an F, M, or J U.S. visa stamp in your passport, this message also means - you will not be getting one of these visas from any U.S. Consulate/Embassy around the world, until DOS is ready to start issuing them again.

After the jump please find summary descriptions of the F, M and J visas.


M-1: VOCATIONAL STUDENTS
Similar to F-1, except at a vocational/nonacademic institution. Full Course Defined: Study in community/junior college for 12 semester/quarter hours leading to a specific educational and/or vocational objective; Study at a post-secondary vocational/business school (other than language training program) which confers a degree or has its credits accepted by 3 accredited academic institutions. Twelve hours of instruction/week or its equivalent are required; Study in vocational or other nonacademic curriculum (including a language training program taken at the school to further vocational training). Flight schools, cooking schools and other vocational schools would be included. No Online Courses – distance education or online courses cannot count toward an M-1 student’s full course of study unless the course requires the student’s physical presence. M-1 visa holders may not change their status to another nonimmigrant status.
J-1: EXCHANGE VISITORS
An alien having a residence in a foreign country which s/he has no intention of abandoning who is a bona fide student, scholar, trainee, teacher, professor, research assistant, specialist, or leader in a field of specialized knowledge or skill, or other person of similar description, who is coming temporarily to the United States as a participant in a program designated by the Director of the United States Information Agency, for the purpose of teaching, instructing or lecturing, studying, observing, conducting research, consulting, demonstrating special skills, or receiving training.
J-1 programs often cover students, short-term scholars, business trainees, teachers, professors and research scholars, specialists, international visitors, government visitors, camp counselors and au pairs. In some cases, participation in a J-1 program will require the beneficiary to spend at least two years outside of the United States before being permitted to switch to a different non-immigrant visa or to permanent residency. A beneficiary may be eligible for waiver of the 2 year home residency requirement that applies to many J-1 visa holders.

F-1: ACADEMIC STUDENTS
An alien having a residence in a foreign country which he has no intention of abandoning, who is a bona fide student qualified to pursue a full course of study through a full-time, non-vocational, academic program at post-secondary institution. Status is granted for duration of status (d/s). Absent prior permission by the school and DHS, the student must be enrolled at school full-time in order to maintain F-1 status. An F-1 student may work pursuant to curricular practical training (CPT) program during school years. In addition, an F-1 student may work pursuant to optional practical training (OPT) program while in school or after graduation for up to one year. OPT must be completed within 14 months of the completion of study. An F-1 student is given a 60-day grace period to depart the U.S. immediately following either completion of study or OPT.


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