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Visa Type

Visa Type: WISEdata

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Visa Type denotes which kind of visa the students hold and proof they've been granted permission to study in the U.S.  Any such student participating in a foreign exchange program is treated the same as other students for WISEdata purposes. This field is required for foreign exchange students. International students attend our schools on J1 or F1 visas.

F-1 Visas

F-1 visas are overseen by the federal Department of Homeland Security under the Student Exchange and Visitor Program (SEVP). Students attending Wisconsin high schools under the program are here primarily to obtain a U.S. high school diploma, which many believe will improve their chances to be admitted to a U.S. postsecondary institution.

To receive an F-1 visa, a student must be accepted to a U.S. high school that is certified under the SEVP. View the list of Wisconsin’s SEVP-certified schools.

 In addition, because F-1 students are here primarily for their own benefit, federal law requires that F-1 students pay tuition to cover the full cost of attendance. Federal law is designed to ensure that no federal, state, or local tax dollars subsidize F-1 students.

J-1 Visas

The J-1 visa is issued to traditional exchange students in the United States who are here primarily to participate in a cultural exchange with their host country. J-1 students are sponsored by organizations like American Field Service (AFS), and are rarely charged tuition by the school they attend. A typical high school takes in one, maybe two, J-1 students each year. They live with host families and usually come during their junior year in high school. Under Wisconsin’s general aid formula, as long as they do not pay tuition, J-1 students can be counted for state aid purposes,  J-1 students generally do not receive high school diplomas from U.S. high schools. They are principally here to expand their horizons (and ours). Both F-1 and J-1 visas are limited to one year for international students attending public high schools in the U.S.

M-1 Visas

M-1 visas are not designed for secondary school attendance. They are designed for non-academic vocational programs through which the visa is sponsored. This is not a route for attending a Wisconsin high school.

USES: Visa Type is required for federal and state reporting and documentation.

FAQs, Details, and Points to Note


  1. Reporting Foreign Exchange Students in WISEdata: A school board may permit a foreign exchange student to attend school in the school district without payment of tuition pursuant to s. 121.84(1)(c). Any such student participating in a foreign exchange program is treated the same as other students for WISEdata purposes. (The district of attendance, which may or may not be the district where the foreign exchange student temporarily resides, might also count the student on the PI-1563 membership report.) For WISEdata inclusion purposes, we do not distinguish between students participating in foreign exchange programs and other students. However, schools must check the visa type of all foreign exchange students. Districts must submit a new data element, Visa Type, for all foreign exchange students. If the district does not know the visa type, then they must provide the visa type of F. Refer to the Uncommon WISEdata Situations page on International Students for more information. 

  2. Visa & Length of Study: Federal law limits the J-1 and F-1 visa-holding students' public school attendance to one academic year each. Also, both the J-1 and F-1 programs are limited to high school students. Within Wisconsin there are more F-1 students than J-1 students. School districts with F-1 programs generally take many more students than districts with only J-1 programs, which generally take only 1 or 2. A few districts run back-to-back J-1/F-1 programs because both programs are limited to one year attendance. Under a back-to-back program, students come on a J-1 visa (eligible for state aid) as juniors and switch to F-1s as seniors, giving them two years in a U.S. high school.

  3. Grade Level and Completion: For WISEdata, all foreign exchange students must be placed in the appropriate grade as determined by acquisition of credits. In general, foreign exchange students are expected to be working toward a Regular Wisconsin Diploma. Note, foreign exchange students holding a J-1 visa are here for cultural exchange, and DPI cannot report J-1 visa holders as graduates.

  4. Students in U.S. as Refugees or Under Asylum: A student in the U.S. as a refugee or under asylum may not have a visa. Do not report a visa type for these students in WISEdata.


See also:

District (AKA Submitting District)
Exit Type

Student and Educational Visa Information

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