A student visa for academic study is known as an F-1 Visa. A student visa for non-academic study is known as an M-1 Visa.

To qualify for an F-1 Visa, you must be attending school at least 18 hours a week. In general, you are allowed to work 20 hours a week, and you must maintain a fulltime student status. You will usually be permitted to stay in the U.S. for the duration of your student status, which means that you may stay in the U.S. as long as you are a fulltime student, even if the F-1 visa in your passport expires while you are here. A student who has completed the course of study shown on the I-20 and any authorized practical training is allowed an additional 60 days to prepare for departure from the U.S. or to transfer to another school.

The F-1 Visa also permits you to bring your spouse and children under 21 years old, although they will not be allowed to work in the U.S.

An M-1 Visa provides you the opportunity to study in the U.S. in a non-academic program, such as vocational training. To qualify for an M-1 Visa, you must attend a program that has at least 12 hours a week of study. The M-1 Visa is valid for up to one year. It can be extended up to an additional 2 years for a total of 3 years. At the conclusion of your program, you are allowed 30 days to prepare for departure, provided that you satisfied the requirements of your M-1 Visa. Depending on the length of your study, you are allowed to work up to one year after the conclusion of your program

If you obtain an M-1 Visa, you are allowed to bring your spouse and children under 21 years old, who will enter the U.S. under an M-2 Visa, although they are not allowed to work. Children may attend school, but not beyond high school.