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I'm a Portuguese citizen and I'm thinking to participate in a 14-week (98 days) computer science bootcamp in the US (Coding Dojo). Portugal is a country included in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) however this program is only valid for stays of 90 days or less without first obtaining a visa and is not valid when you want to study there.

What visa should I get to go there?

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  • @pnuts Will a bootcamp qualify? – lambshaanxy Dec 17 '16 at 21:14
  • I would call the CBP (US border police) and ask if I were you: 1-202-325-8000 – Crazydre Dec 19 '16 at 11:28
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According to the Department of State website, you will need a M-1 visa. Indeed, it sounds like your training matches the following description:

Vocational or other recognized nonacademic institution, other than a language training program

Note that if it is your main purpose of travel, the VWP program is not the right choice. The B visa might or might not be the right choice, the website is unclear (and @Dennis comment shows it might be the right choice):

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.

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.

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    My nephew has attended a 3 week coding boot camp in each of the past several summers and has entered as a B visitor for that purpose without difficulty. If the camp is not SEVP-accredited he can't get an M-1 and a B visa is the only possibility he has. – Dennis Dec 19 '16 at 16:57
  • @Dennis is your son a citizen of a Visa Waiver Program participating country? – Vince Dec 19 '16 at 17:07
  • The entire point of the system is that they want international students to attend certified programs. That's why the certification program exists. Whether or not you can get away with doing it on a tourist visa is not for me to say, but it's certainly not how this is supposed to work. – Zach Lipton Dec 19 '16 at 17:12
  • No, my nephew is visa-exempt and hence is treated more or less like he has a B visa in his passport at the border. The OP would need to apply for a B visa for a 14 week stay in any case, so he wouldn't be relying on the VWP either. – Dennis Dec 19 '16 at 17:26
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    @Dennis Sure. "I want to come as a tourist and see New York and while I'm there I'm going to take a short flower arranging class for fun" is very different from coming for the primary purpose of taking a 14 week course that costs tens of thousands of dollars designed to get you a job. It is, of course, possible they let it slide, but it's also possible to have your visa application refused because you're coming to study and not for tourism and then never be eligible to use the VWP again. which would be rather inconvenient. – Zach Lipton Dec 19 '16 at 19:33

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