In general, all non-U.S. citizens must have some type of immigration authorization in order to study in the U.S. Some non-U.S. citizens who are attending schools in the U.S. do so based on some type of derivative status from their parents. For example, a child accompanying a parent on H-1B status, may be in the U.S. on H-4 status, which permits the child to attend school. However, in order for a non-U.S citizen, who has no such derivative status, to study in the U.S., he or she must obtain some type of "student visa". There are basically three types of visas which allow for some type of study in the U.S.:
- F-1 Visa for individuals wishing to pursue academic studies and/or language training programs. The F-1 category includes academic students in colleges, universities, seminaries, conservatories, academic high schools, other academic institutions, and in language training.
- M-1 Visa for individuals wishing to pursue nonacademic or vocational studies. The M-1 category includes students in vocational or other nonacademic programs, other than language training.
- J-1 Visa for individuals wishing to participate in certain specially approved exchange visitor programs.