The M-1 visa is a non-immigrant visa issued by a U.S. consulate abroad to an individual who intends to come to the U.S. to pursue a full-time course of studies at a U.S. educational school or institution. The M–1 visa is appropriate for students who want to pursue a course of study that is not principally academic in nature, and foreign students who wish to obtain an M-1 visa must intend to pursue a full-course of study at an approved community or junior college, vocational institution, or other nonacademic institution. M-1 visa recipients are typically admitted to the U.S. for the specific duration of the time necessary to complete the particular course of study plus a 30-day grace period, or for 1 year, whichever period is shorter.

M-1 visas bestow valid non-immigrant status to a foreign student pursuing studies in U.S . In order to obtain M-1 visa status, an individual outside of the U.S. must fist submit an M-1 visa application to the U.S. consulate office abroad. A foreign student is in valid M-1 status on the day that he/she is admitted into the United States on an approved M-1 visa. Those individuals already in the U.S. on a different non-immigrant status (B-1/B-2, H, etc.) may apply to change to M-1 status while in the U.S., or he/she can apply outside of the U.S. through Third Country Visa processing.

A spouse or unmarried, minor child of an M-1 holders may be eligible to come to the U.S. on an M-2 Visa.

Eligibility for M-1 status requires that the applicant: 1) has a foreign residence and has no intention of abandoning it; 2) is a bona fide student qualified to pursue a full-course of study; 3) seeks to enter the U.S. as a student temporarily and solely for the purpose of pursuing such a course of study at an recognized place of study in the U.S.; 4) only studies at the institution designated to him/her that has been approved by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and complies with the SEVIS program; and 5) cannot attend a public elementary school or publicly funded adult education program, nor will he/she attend a public secondary school – unless he/she attends the secondary school for a period less than 12 months and can show that he/she has reimbursed the school the full, unsubsidized cost of the education.

Similar to the F-1 status, a foreign student who obtains M-1 status is allowed to remain in the U.S. for the duration of time approved by the U.S. government, which is the time it takes to complete the studies, in addition to any authorized practical training. The M-1 student must maintain a full course of study at an approved institution, or must be engaged in authorized practical training following the completion of these studies.

Contact the attorneys at Gavlin & Associates, P.C. to schedule a consultation, in order to see whether you are eligible to apply for an M-1 visa. Our attorneys and staff are here to help guide you through the process of applying for M-1 status. Our extensive knowledge and experience will help ensure that your application gets approved, and allow you to study in the U.S.