The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's website “Study in

the States” released an article describing the difference

between the F-1 and J-1 Visas. Both F-1 and J-1 visas may permit

international students to study at a college or university in the

United States. However, there are key differences between the two


F-1 Visas

An F-1 student's primary purpose for coming to the U.S. is

to complete a full-time program of study at any grade level at a

Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)-certified school. For

many F-1 students, this program of study is a postsecondary

education at a SEVP-certified college or university. Because

studying is an F-1 student's primary purpose, students with F-1

visas must be enrolled in a full course of study while in the U.S.

and must follow the rules to maintain their F-1 student status.

While studying in the U.S., F-1 students have a designated school

official (DSO) at their college or university to help guide them

through the international student life cycle and make sure they

maintain their status.


J-1 university or college students must pursue a full course of

study only at a postsecondary, accredited academic institution in

the U.S. to maintain their J-1 status. The J-1 College and

University Student Program offers study in all fields and

opportunities to gain important career-related training as a

student intern in a program that will fulfill the educational

objectives for the student's degree program in their home

country. J-1 university or college students, like all J-1 visa

holders, have a cultural component to their program in addition to

their academic work. This component gives J-1 students an

opportunity to engage more fully with U.S. citizens and share their

cultures with their U.S. host communities. J-1 university or

college students coordinate with the designated program

sponsor's37 Responsible Officer. Program sponsors are

organizations designated by the U.S. Department of State's

Office of Private Sector Exchange. These program sponsors monitor

the health, safety and welfare of J-1 students throughout their

program and ensure they are pursuing a full course of study at a

U.S. postsecondary, accredited academic institution and maintaining

their status.

To learn more about F-1 students, visit the Students page38 on

Study in the States. For additional information about J-1 program

specifics, check out the J-1 College and University Student Program

page39 on the J-1 Visa Exchange Visitor Program website.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general

guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought

about your specific circumstances.

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