The nonimmigrant visa classification covers a broad range of visas used to enter the U.S. for work, pleasure or study. Some visas are considered 'dual intent'; you may attempt to obtain permanent residency (a green card) while under that classification.
Most nonimmigrant visas, however, require you establish the demonstration of nonimmigrant intent. This means you should demonstrate that you have a permanent residence in your home country that you have no intention of abandoning.
The duration of time you may spend in the U.S. can range from a few days to several years, depending on the visa. In most situations, your spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 may accompany you on a derivative visa.
Many schools in the United States offer great opportunities for students who wish to further their education and training. The intellectual stimulation and social interaction gained by studying in the U.S. can become vital elements of a student's growth and development. Foreign national students who want to study in the U.S. usually apply for the F-1 Visa. Vocational students most often apply for M-1 status. F-2 status allows your spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 to join you in the U.S. Note that you should bring them with you when you visit the consulate to apply for your F-1 Visa. If your spouse and/or dependent children are joining you later, they will need to submit a copy of your USCIS Form (Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F-1) Student Status - for Academic and Language Students) and documents proving their relationship to you to the U.S. embassy staff. The F-2 status of spouse and children is dependent upon your F-1 status. As soon as you are no longer an F-1 student, your family will lose their F-2 status.
The M-1 Visa offers students the opportunity to train in a positive U.S. environment while strengthening their technical and non-academic skills (this visa does not apply to language training). The M-1 Visa is offered to students who wish to pursue full-time study at an USCIS-approved vocational or non-academic school in the U.S. You must apply to and be accepted by a USCIS-approved school before applying for this visa. You will also need to be able to prove to the U.S. consulate that you have the money to afford to both go to school and take care of your expenses while in the U.S. Your spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 may join you in the U.S. if they have nonimmigrant M-2 status. Although M-1 and M-2 Visa holders are not allowed to work, M-1 holders may apply for an extension of up to six months for practical training. If you lose your status, your spouse and children will also lose their status.
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