Verifying Full-Time or Part-Time Statuses of International Students
Q How do I verify student status of an international student who attends school full time but receives zero credits? Schools generally confirm student status by the number of credit hours taken, so it is possible that the college may verify a student’s status as part time. Should I consider these students full time or part time?
A For international students coming to the United States, there are three different student visas that may be issued to them: F1 visa, J1 visa, or M1 visa. The F1 and J1 visas allow for the possibility of employment in the U.S. during their stay, while the M1 visa does not.
Generally, international students are almost always considered full-time students. This is because their student visa specifically requires these students to attend school full time to remain in the United States. The “F” visa is for academic studies. An F1 visa is issued to students who are attending an academic program or English Language Program. F1 visas are by far the most common form of international student visa in the U.S. F1 students must maintain the minimum course load for full-time student status.
An M1 visa is issued to a student who’s going to attend a non-academic or vocational school. M-1 visa holders for technical and vocational programs are not permitted to work during the course of their studies. One cannot enter as an M1 to just study “generally”; the program must have a goal and the student must be involved in a “full course of study.” A full course of study means study in a community or junior college, with at least 12 semester or quarter hours. It must be in a school where anyone attending for at least 12 semester or quarter hours is charged full tuition, or considered full time.
The J-1 visa in the United States is for people who wish to take part in work-and-study-based exchange and visitor programs in the U.S. These programs are sponsored by an educational or other nonprofit institution, which must be accredited through the Exchange Visitor Program designated by the U.S. State Department. J-1 exchange visitors come to the United States to teach, study, receive training, or demonstrate special skills.