M1 Visa: Student Visa to Study Vocational Courses in the USA
Many overseas students travel to the USA for education. A student visa is required to study in the United States. There are primarily three visa categories — F, J, and M. The M-1 visa has frequently flown under the radar for many students because they prefer F-1 visas. This blog will undoubtedly be useful if you’re interested in learning more about M-1 visas, which are generally rarely talked about.
The M1 visa is a nonimmigrant visa for overseas students who want to pursue a course of study at a reputable vocational or other recognized nonacademic institution. For example, a post-secondary vocational or business school is included within this type of institution. However, these institutions are not primarily of an academic nature. Among these courses, the following can be mentioned:
• Cooking classes
• Technical courses
• Mechanical classes
• Flight School
Similar to other student visas, spouses and/or children under the age of 21 who wish to accompany or join the applicant in the U.S. for the duration of his or her stay can apply for M2 visas.
What can or can’t a student do with an M-1 visa?
Students who receive an M1 visa can study full-time in the United States. While in the United States, they can obtain a driver’s license, open a bank account, access healthcare, and work under certain conditions. They can also transfer schools within the first six months of their program.
Holders of the M1 visa are not allowed to do the following activities:
- Working full-time outside of campus
- Studying and completing the vocational program as a part-time student
- Changing program or institution six months after the start of the program
- Continuing higher education with the undergraduate or other degrees
- Enrolling in language courses
Eligibility to avail M-1 visa
International students who are enrolled in a full program of non-academic study in American schools, universities, or conservatories are eligible for an M1 visa.
To qualify for an M-1 visa, a candidate must prove the followings:
- He or she has been admitted to a course of study at a vocational school approved by the Student and Exchange Visitors Program (SEVP).
- The applicant must be a full-time student.
- He or she is sufficiently proficient in English (or the school the applicant intends to attend has made special arrangements to teach him or her the English language).
- He or she has sufficient funds to cover educational, living, and travel expenses during the course of study.
- The applicant has a permanent residence and ties in his/her home country, which the applicant does not intend to abandon.
Process of filing M-1 visa application:
After admission to a SEVP-approved program at a vocational institution as a full-time student, the institution will issue an I-20. At this point, the student will need to pay the SEVIS I-901 fee. All prospective F and M students from countries where a visa to travel to the United States is mandatory to pay the SEVIS I-901 fee. After completing these preliminary steps, a candidate can apply for an M-1 visa.
Filling the Application:
After receiving the I-20 a candidate needs to fill out form DS-160, the Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application. There is a separate fee for DS-160. After completing the DS-160, the student must print out the confirmation page when finished, as it will be needed at the interview.
Preparing for the Interview:
A candidate must gather the following documents:
• A valid passport: Passport validity should be at least six months from the date of visa expiration.
• Applicant Photo (according to the requirement of the Embassy or Consulate)
• Form I-20, signed by both the applicant and an official from his or her study program. His or her spouse and any dependents should also receive a Form I-120.
• DS-160 Form confirmation page
• Receipts of payments
• Visa interview confirmation letter
• Applicant’s educational qualification, including diplomas, transcripts, the result of the language test, etc.
• Evidence that the applicant can cover his/her expenses:
- Bank statements
- Tax information (if any) for the last three years
- Scholarship documents
Participating in the Interview:
The applicant must participate in the interview with the necessary documents. He or she has to answer all the questions honestly asked by the Visa Officials.
Validity of M-1 visa:
An applicant may enter the USA up to 30 days before the designated registration date on Form I-20. He or she can stay in the US for the period of time it will take to complete the course of study as indicated in the form I-20 plus 30 days, or for one year, whichever is less.
Though applying for an M-1 visa is not a complicated one, consulting an attorney might give you a better idea. Attorney Raju Mahajan and Associates’ expert attorneys will be extremely beneficial to you in your quest for an M-1 visa. Our immigration law firm offers a wide range of legal services, including online consultations from anywhere in the world.