Students and Exchange Visitors

ALERT: On May 3, 2019, the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina issued an injunction (PDF) regarding PM-602-1060 and PM-602-1060.1, policy memoranda titled, “Accrual of Unlawful Presence and F, J, and M Nonimmigrants,” issued on May 10, 2018, and Aug. 9, 2018, respectively. Due to the nationwide preliminary injunction, USCIS is preliminarily enjoined from applying the policies in these policy memoranda to F, J, and M nonimmigrants. Until further notice, USCIS will apply the prior policy guidance in AFM Chapter 40.9.2, issued on May 6, 2009: Consolidation of Guidance Concerning Unlawful Presence for Purposes of Sections 212(a)(9)(b)(i) and 212(a)(9)(c)(i)(I) of the Act (PDF, 2.90 MB).

If you wish to pursue full-time academic or vocational studies in the United States, you may be eligible for one of two nonimmigrant student categories. The “F” category is for academic students and the “M” is for vocational students. To learn more, please see the Students and Exchange Visitors Program Web page on the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's website.

If you wish to participate in an exchange program you may be eligible for the “J” category for exchange visitors. The J visa program is for educational and cultural exchange programs. For more information, please see the Exchange Visitor Visa page on the Department of State website.

 

Students: Academic and Vocational (F and M visas)

F-1

Academic students

F-2

Spouses and children of F-1

F-3

Canadian or Mexican national academic commuter students

M-1

Vocational students

M-2

Spouses and children of M1

M-3

Canadian or Mexican national vocational commuter students

Exchange Visitors (J visas)

J-1

Exchange visitors

J-2

Spouses and children of J-1

 

U.S. Federal Tax Information

Aliens temporarily present in the United States as students, trainees, scholars, teachers, researchers, exchange visitors and cultural exchange visitors are subject to special rules with respect to the taxation of their income.

Accruing Unlawful Presence

On Aug. 9, 2018 USCIS issued a policy memorandum (Accrual of Unlawful Presence and F, J, and M Nonimmigrants (PDF, 129 KB) changing how the agency calculates unlawful presence for students and exchange visitors in F, J, and M nonimmigrant status, including F-2, J-2, and M-2 dependents, who fail to maintain status in the United States. Additional information is available on the Unlawful Presence and Bars to Admissibility page

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