M-1 Vocational Student

M-1 (Vocational or Nonacademic Student) Visa

What is the M-1 visa?

The M-1 visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows you to enter the U.S. as a student in a vocational or other non-academic program, other than language training.

What are the requirements for an M-1 visa?

  • You must be enrolled in a vocational program.
  • Your school must be approved by the Student and Exchange Visitors Program.
  • You must be enrolled as a full-time student.
  • You must be proficient in English or be enrolled in courses leading to English proficiency.
  • You must have enough money to support yourself while you complete your program.
  • You must maintain a home abroad that you do not intend to give up.

What strategic considerations should I keep in mind?

  • You may engage in practical training only after completing your studies.
  • Any off-campus employment must be related to your area of study and must be approved prior to beginning work by the Designated School Official and USCIS.
  • Your spouse and children may enter the U.S. as M-2 visa holders, but their stay ends as soon as you withdraw from your program.

The M-1 visa is given to students who wish to attend technical or vocational institutions, other than a language training program. The student must apply for Form I-20 issued by a designated school official after fulfilling the school’s admission requirements and submission of proof of financial ability to pay for the schooling.

How long can I stay in the US on this visa?

All students are allowed to stay in the United States until the completion of their training program including any optional practical training and a thirty-day grace period not exceeding one year. In some instances, an extension of the program may be allowed while completing a program.

Are students allowed to work?

M-1 students are prohibited from any form of compensated employment while completing a program and are not allowed to change their status to F-1. M-1 students may engage in practical training only after they have completed their studies. For M-1 students any off-campus employment must be related to their area of study and must be authorized prior to starting any work by the Designated School Official (the person authorized to maintain the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS)) and USCIS.