How Long Can I Stay in the U.S. with a Student Visa?

The length of time you are permitted to remain in the United States with a student visa entirely depends upon the type of student visa you have. We take pride in easing the nerve-wracking process of applying for a visa and know all about how to adhere to the time limits applied on every kind of student visa.

J-1 Visas

According to the U.S. Department of State, “The Exchange Visitor (J) non-immigrant visa category is for individuals approved to participate in work-and study-based exchange visitor programs.” This visa is for people hoping to instruct, study, do research, or undergo on-the-job training in the United States as a member of a specific program for periods of time that can span weeks to years. If you are a student with a J-1 visa, you are expected to leave the United States immediately after your program ends, with a grace period of 30 days. Even if your J visa expires during the program, you will not be expected to leave the country or renew your visa, unless you plan to travel outside the U.S. and then reenter to complete the program.

F-1 and M-1 Visas

The M-1 non-immigrant visa category is for long-term students enrolling in vocational schools and non-academic studies in the U.S. The F-1 non-immigrant visa category is for students enrolling full-time in a college, university, seminary, conservatory, academic high school, elementary school, or language training program at an academic institution that will result in a degree, diploma, or certificate.

M-1 and F-1 students will receive or be given electronic access to Form I-94. (If you did not receive this form, you can access it online through U.S. Customs & Border Protection.) In most cases, M-1 students will be permitted to stay one year from the date of entrance in the United States. F-1 students’ I-94, however, typically permits students to stay for what it refers to as “Duration of Status,” which allows you to stay for the entirety of your academic program, along with a grace period of 60 days after the official end of your program, after which point you will be considered illegal.

Stick to the Terms of Your Visa

If you violate any of the terms of your student visa, your right to remain in the United States is instantly revoked, making you an unlawful resident. This can result in deportation. However, the good news is that it isn’t hard to stick to the terms of your student visa, as they are fairly straightforward and primarily require that you attend school as expected and adhere to restrictions on employment and travel as defined by the U.S. Department of State.

What to Do If You Need Help with Your Visa

If you need help renewing your visa, sorting out a complication stemming from alleged violation of your visa, or obtaining an F-1 or M-1 visa, get in touch with your Cleveland immigration attorneys at Sintsirmas & Mueller Co., L.P.A., for all of your student visa needs. Call our office today at (888) 491-8770 or schedule a confidential consultation to find out how we can best serve you.