The M-1 visa category allows students to enroll in a vocational or nonacademic program, other than language training. It’s different from the F-1 student visa because that category allows students to enter the U.S. as full-time students working toward a degree, diploma or certificate.
The M-1 visa is for full-time study, which is defined as at least 18 hours of study per week. You must demonstrate that you have sufficient funds to support yourself for the duration of your course, and that you intend to return to your home country once you’re done with your studies.
If you have an M-1 visa, you can’t engage in practical training until you have completed your studies. However, you can work off-campus provided that your job relates to your areas of study and your work is authorized by the designated school official who maintains the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System, or SEVIS, and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. There’s a different application process for people who are currently visiting the U.S. and want to enroll in school (such as those on B-1 or B-2 visas), so make sure you provide your immigration attorney with your current visa status if you are interested in applying under the M-1 visa program.
If you have a spouse or an unmarried child under the age of 21, he or she can apply for an M-2 visa to join you in the U.S. However, your spouse can’t accept employment or enroll in school without getting an appropriate work or student visa. (Kids are entitled to attend primary or secondary school in the U.S., though.)
Do You Need to Talk to an Immigration Lawyer About an M-1 Visa?
If you have questions about the M-1 visa program or you’d like to apply with an immigration lawyer’s help, call us at 414-383-6700 or 262-650-6700. If it’s easier, contact us online to set up your consultation with a local immigration lawyer who can help.