F1 Student Visa
An F1 student visa enables you to study at an accredited college or university or at an English language institution in the United States. This type of student visa is the most popular category of U.S. study visas for Canadian citizens.
Before you can apply for an F1 student visa, you will first need to apply and be accepted by an institution of higher education in the U.S. that has a Student Exchange and Visitor Program (SEVP) certification and is approved by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The Council for Higher Education Accreditation and the U.S. Department of Education databases list the accreditation status for educational institutions in the United States.
Once a SEVP-certified educational institution accepts your application, you will be issued a Form I-20 or DS-2019 from the international student office. You will need to submit this form when applying for the F1 student visa. You must also register on the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) and clear the SEVIS fee.
What are the requirements for an F1 Student Visa?
To qualify for the F1 student visa, you will need to satisfy the following criteria:
- Foreign Residence. You must have a residence in Canada and prove you intend to return there once you’ve completed your studies. As an F1 student visa holder, you are allowed to remain in the U.S. for up to 60 days following completion of your studies.
- Sponsoring Institution. As an F1 visa holder, you can only study at the school through which the student visa was granted.
- Financial Support. You must demonstrate that you have sufficient financial support.
- Ties to Canada. You will need to prove that you have strong ties to Canada through assets, job offer letters after completing your studies, bank accounts, and family ties.
What is the application process for an F1 Student Visa?
You can apply for an F1 student visa at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in Canada. It’s possible to apply at a U.S. Consular office abroad. However, it’s challenging to qualify for a student visa outside Canada. You will need the following items when you apply for your F1 visa:
- Form DS-160 (Online Application for a Nonimmigrant Visa) (All student visa applicants must complete and submit this online form)
- Valid passport
- Digital color photograph
- Non-refundable visa application fee
An F1 student visa interview conducted at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in Canada is necessary to determine eligibility for this visa category. You must have all the required documents and receipts for the interview. F.I. visa interview questions usually involve inquires about your choice of school, academic qualifications, financial capabilities, and obligations that guarantee your return to Canada.
M1 Student Visa
The U.S. government issues M1 student visas for non-academic and vocational studies. The courses eligible for this category of U.S. study visas for Canadian citizens include flight schools, mechanical classes, cosmetology, culinary classes, and other vocational courses. Note that you cannot enter the U.S. under an M1 visa for general study.
You have to undertake a full course of study, and your program must have a goal. A full course of the study refers to at least 12 semester or quarter hours in a junior or community college. This can also refer to studying at a vocational or business school that grants Associate and other degrees.
Alternatively, if your school of choice demonstrates at least three higher learning institutions have accepted its credits, it can qualify. Different institutions have different admission policies. Your school of choice will inform you of the requirements to determine eligibility for an M1 student visa.
You must also demonstrate that you have the financial capability to pay for your tuition and living costs during your stay in the U.S. Once your school determines your academic eligibility and you complete your application, you will receive an I-20 form that is necessary to apply for an M1 student visa.
M1 Student Visa Application Process
You apply for an M1 Student Visa at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in Canada. You will need the following items to apply for the visa:
- Form DS-160
- Valid passport
- Digital color photograph
- Non-refundable application fee
The rest of the application process for the M1 student visa is similar to that of the F1 student visa. As an M1 visa holder, you are not permitted to gain employment during your studies.
J1 Exchange Visa
The U.S. government issues J1 visas to individuals who are seeking to participate in the country’s study or employment-based visitor and exchange programs. An educational institution or non-profit organizations sponsor these exchange programs. The sponsoring institution must be accredited through the U.S. State Department designated Exchange Visitor Program.
As a J1 visa holder, you can move to the U.S. from Canada to study, receive training, teach, or demonstrate special skills. This visa category is a viable option if you require practical training that’s not available in Canada. The training has to be directly related to your academic program. There are two study options for Canadian students, including the Secondary School Student Program and the College and University Student Program under the J1 exchange visa.
What are the J1 Visa requirements?
To qualify for this U.S. study visa, you must be funded either by the Canadian government, U.S. government, or an international organization of which the U.S. is a member. A designated sponsor organization must accept you into their exchange visitor program before you can apply for a J1 exchange visa for study purposes.
The application process for the J1 exchange visa is the same as the other U.S. study visas. You complete the online visa application following registration in SEVIS and payment of the SEVIS fee. You will then schedule an interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in Canada and bring the supporting documents and receipts. After your interview, a Consular officer will determine if you are eligible for the J1 exchange visa.
Dependents of Canadian Students
With U.S. study visas, your family members in Canada can join you in the United States. The family members you are permitted to bring into the country include your spouse and dependent unmarried children below 21 years of age. You must apply for the appropriate student dependent visas, including:
- F2 Visa (granted to dependents of an F1 visa holder)
- M2 Visa (granted to dependents of an M1 visa holder)
- J2 Visa (granted to dependents of a J1 exchange visa holder)
How can Total Law help students?
If you wish to study in the United States and live in Canada, our team of expert immigration lawyers is here to help. Applying for a student visa can be a complex process, from knowing which visa to choose to meeting the strict eligibility requirements. Our lawyers can act as your step-by-step guide to the student visa application process.
We can advise you about the best type of visa for you and can also assess your eligibility. Once you have decided which visa to apply for, our lawyers will help you complete the relevant application forms and prepare your supporting documents ahead of your visa interview.
For more information about our student visa application services, contact our team today on +1 844 290 6312.
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There are two fees associated with the cost of applying to study in the states, this includes the I-901 SEVIS fee and the visa application fee.
For F1 and M1 students, the SEVIS fee is $444.40 CAD whilst for J1 students it is $279 CAD
The visa application fee for all student visas is $203 CAD.
Whilst you study in the states on a U.S. student visa you can also work on campus for up to 20 hours per week during term time and 40 hours per week during school breaks.
You may be able to do some off-campus work but the requirements for this are more strict, you will need to speak to your designated school official to find out whether you are able to participate in off-campus work.