Visa TypeDescriptionStudyRestrictions on Employment
F-1StudentMust study full-time;
Part-time study only for acceptable cause and if authorized
On-campus 20 hours/week while school is in session. FT during breaks, including summer. Off-campus very limited and must be approved by USCIS (EAD card) before one can start work.
F-2Dependents of F-1 visa holders May study part-time.
Must change to F-1 if wish to study full-time.
Not permitted to work in the U.S. under any circumstances.
J-1Exchange Visitor (Student) Must study full-time;
Part-time study only for acceptable cause and if authorized.
On-campus 20 hours/week with prior written authorization from Responsible Officer. May work off-campus under limited circumstances with prior written authorization. Employment does not require additional permission from USCIS or an EAD card. Eligible for up to 18 months of Academic Training following completion of degree program (36 months for Post-Doctoral training).
J-1Exchange Visitor (Scholar, Professor, or Researcher) May study if incidental to the primary purpose of stay;
May not do formal degree granting academic program.
May be employed only by the Exchange Visitor Program sponsor or appropriate designee. Under limited circumstances, may receive compensation from other institutions with prior written authorization from the Responsible Officer. No EAD card is required.
J-2Dependents of J-1 visa holders. May engage in part-time or full-time study. Eligible to apply to USCIS for work authorization. Must have EAD before beginning employment. May work for any employer. Must re-apply for employment authorization to continue working after expiration date on the EAD card.
H-1BTemporary Worker in a Specialty Occupation May study if incidental to the primary purpose of the stay while maintaining valid status. Employment permitted only with the petitioning organization through whom the visa classification was obtained. Prohibited from receiving payments from other organizations.
H-4Dependents of H-1B visa holders. May engage in full-time or part-time study. Not permitted to work in the U.S. under any circumstances.
B-1 Visitor for BusinessIndividuals in the U.S. for a short period of time to engage in business activities. May not enroll in a course of study. Foreign visitors present in the U.S. on a B-1 visa are not permitted to be employed in the U.S. An academic institution may pay honoraria and associated incidental expenses for a usual academic activity lasting not longer than 9 days in any single institution.
B-2 Visitor for TourismIndividuals in the U.S. for travel, tourism, and recreational purposes. May not enroll in a course of study. Same as B-1 Visitor for Business.

Other Possible Visa Types

VWB Visa Waiver for Business and
VWT Visa Waiver for Tourism
Less than 90 days. Only available to citizens of countries designated by the U.S. State Department. Laws regarding study and employment are identical to their B- 1 and B-2 counterparts listed above. Not permitted to extend the length of stay or change visa status within the U.S.
TN Trade NAFTA: Canadians and Mexicans

O-1 Extraordinary Ability
Performs professional services for a sponsoring employer in a specific position for a fixed period of time. Like H-1B, may engage in study if incidental to the primary purpose of the stay in the U.S. while maintaining a valid visa status.
TD (Dependent of TN)
O-3 (Dependent of O-1)
May engage in part-time or full-time study. Not permitted to work in the U.S. under any circumstances.