Nonimmigrant Visas: Study & Exchange

The Student (F-1/M-1) Visa provides opportunities for qualified applicants to study at accredited postsecondary institutions in the United States. With thousands of academic programs, world-class institutions, and unmatched flexibility, the United States offers a wealth of higher-education opportunities. Visit the Department of State’s EducationUSA website to learn about educational opportunities for undergraduate and graduate study, opportunities for scholars, admissions, and more.

The Exchange Visitor (J-1) Visa program provides countless opportunities for international candidates looking to travel and gain experience in the United States. The multifaceted programs enable foreign nationals to come to the United States to teach, study, conduct research, demonstrate special skills or receive on the job training for periods ranging from a few weeks to several years. To learn more about exchange visitor visa programs, program sponsors, and more, please visit

Citizens of Visa Waiver Program (VWP) participating countries who intend to study cannot travel on the VWP or on visitor (B) visas, except to undertake recreational study as part of a tourist visit. Students must travel to the United States with student (F-1 or M-1) visas. For more information on the VWP, see Visa Waiver Program.

For short periods of recreational study, a Visitor (B) visa can be used. Enrollment in a short recreational course of study, which is not for credit toward a degree or academic certificate, is permitted on a visitor (B) visa. Learn more about Visitor Visas.

Study leading to a U.S. conferred degree or certificate is not permitted on a visitor (B) visa, even if it is for a short duration. For example, distance learning which requires a period of time on the institution’s U.S. campus requires an F-1 visa.

Please Note: 

Due to reduced staffing and support for APEC 2018 in Papua New Guinea, the Consular Section at the U.S. Embassy in Port Moresby will have limited operating hours as outlined below, and requests that all visa applicants apply for their visa interview a minimum of two weeks prior to their desired departure travel date. We sincerely regret we will be unable to process emergency cases during this time.

Temporarily Adjusted Hours:

  • September 10-28 – Visa interviews will only be held on Tuesday mornings (with pass-back on Wednesday morning, barring unforeseen circumstances).
  • November 5-16 – No Consular Services will be available for the entire two week period.
  • Normal services will resume on Monday, Nov. 19.

If you have any questions regarding any part of the U.S. visa process, please contact the Consular section at