What is a M-1 Visa?
M-1 visa is a great visa for students that want to come to the U.S. and study at established vocational or other recognized non-academic institutions (other than language programs).
What is the difference between F-1 and M-1 visa?
M-1 visa requirements
You will have to meet the following requirements to qualify for an M-1 visa:
- You must have a Form I-20 issued by a Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)-certified school;
- You must show that you have sufficient funds (in the amount that is indicated on the I-20 form). This means that you must demonstrate that you have immediately available funds (or assurances) to pay all tuition and living costs for the entire period of your program.
- You must pursue a full course of study that will lead to attainment of a specific educational or vocational objective at the school specified on your visa. The immigration regulations define what is a full course of study for different programs. You should make sure that your program complies with this requirement and speak with your Designated School Official (DSO).
- You must intend to leave the United States at conclusion of your studies
The M-1 visa is a non-immigrant visa, meaning that at your M-1 visa interview you will have to demonstrate that you plan to leave the U.S. at the conclusion of your studies and that you have strong ties to your home country. Please see here for more about non-immigrant intent .
How long can I stay in the U.S. on an M-1 visa?
You can stay in the U.S. for the time necessary to complete the educational program.
Can my family come to the U.S. with me?
Yes. Your spouse and children (unmarried and under the age of 21) can apply for an M-2 visa. Each dependent must have his/her own I-20 form issued by your educational institution. Your spouse may not engage in a full course of study, but your children may engage in full-time study at an elementary or secondary school.
Can I work if I am in the U.S. on an M-1 visa?
If you are in the U.S. on an M-1 visa, you can engage in practical training, but only after you have completed your program and if the practical training meets the following requirements:
- The practical training is recommended by the Designated School Official (“DSO”);
- The purpose of the practical training is related to your course of study;
- Comparable training is not available in your home country.
How do I apply for practical training after I finish my program?
First, your Designated School Official (“DSO”) will have to approve the practical training. After the DSO approves the training and endorses your form I-20, you will be able to file form I-765 (Application for Employment Authorization) with USCIS.
Please note that there are strict deadlines as to when the form I-765 must be filed. It must be submitted prior to the program end date, but no more than 90 days before program end date.
For how long can I participate in practical training?
The rules regarding practical training for M-1 students are quite different from the rules for F-1 students (F-1 students can get 1 year of OPT after they finish their studies). M-1 students can get 1 month of employment authorization for every 4 months of full-time study in the U.S. on an M-1 visa, but only up to 6 months in the aggregate.
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