The M1 visa is a non-immigrant visa that enables international students to travel to the US to pursue professional studies that are not academic in nature.
While on the M1 visa students cannot register for academic courses. If you wish to come to the United States to study at an academic institution, you should consider applying for an F1 student visa.
Those who come to the United States on an M1 visa can study part-time for up to six months but are not allowed to seek employment and work.
To be eligible for the M1 visa, you must be able to demonstrate that you have sufficient funds to cover all expenses during your stay in the United States.
Most of the time, the M1 visa is originally issued for a year.
However, those who wish to stay in the United States longer can request an extension of up to three years.
What are the requirements for the M1 visa?
You need to fulfill the following conditions in order to be eligible to apply for an M1 visa:
- Being admitted to a school on the Student Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) list.
- Be proficient in English: You must be able to understand lectures and courses. You can take a standardized English proficiency exam, such as the TOEFL or IELTS, to demonstrate your understanding.
- Being able to prove your non-immigrant intentions: You can do this by proving that you have significant links to your native country and that you will return when your visa expires.
- You will have to provide bank statements or other documentation to prove that you have enough money to meet your costs while you are in the US.
What documents should I include in my application?
You must provide a number of supporting papers with your M1 student visa application to demonstrate that you fit the prerequisites. Your portfolio must include the following:
- A passport valid for at least six months beyond your intended stay in the United States
- Proof of your educational qualifications
- Proof of your English language proficiency
- Evidence that you have enough money to pay your stay in the country
- Evidence that you have strong ties in your home country, such as an employment contract or a rental agreement for an apartment
A passport-sized photograph.
How to apply for the M1 visa?
- You will receive the I-20 form from your preferred educational institution when they accept you. The form can only be distributed by schools that have received USCIS approval.
- Once received, you can start the application process. Please note that being accepted by a US school does not mean you will be granted a visa.
- You must complete the application procedure and wait for USCIS to make a decision.
- Once you have received approval from the US institution, you must submit Form DS-160 online.
- There, you will be asked to give details about your past, the reason you are visiting the country, and the professional program you want to enroll in.
- You will need to bring the confirmation page to your visa interview, so be sure to print it off after submitting the form.
- The next step is to pay the visa application fee of $160. Depending on the country you are applying from, you may also have to pay additional fees for issuing the visa.
- You will also be required to pay the $200 SEVIS I-901 charge. This is due to the fact that all foreign students who enter the country on an M1 visa are registered in SEVIS.
- Keep track of all of your receipts since you will need them in the future.
- Once all payments have been completed, you may arrange your visa interview and begin assembling the necessary paperwork.
- Last but not least, there will be a physical interview for a visa in which you will be asked questions to determine if you fit the requirements for an M1 visa.
What is the M1 visa processing time?
- Prior to the visa interview, applications for the M1 visa are often handled promptly. This indicates that following the interview, the majority of candidates are informed of their fate.
- Processing an M1 visa often takes four weeks or more. Consider the commencement date of your professional training when you begin your M1 visa application.
- Your M1 visa application may take longer to process if you make mistakes in it or neglect to submit part of the necessary paperwork.
- It is advised to consult with an immigration attorney before to submitting your application, however it is not required.
What can I do with the M1 visa?
- You will be eligible to go to the US to pursue your professional education here full-time if your M1 visa application is approved. Additionally,
- you will be able to get healthcare, create a bank account, and get a driver’s license in the US. If you decide to switch schools after arriving, you can only do so for the first six months of your program.
- However, M1 visa holders who are overseas students are restricted from performing certain tasks. These include:
- I work full-time off-campus
- Participate in the professional program as a part-time student
- Changing schools or programs within six months of arriving in the United States
- Enrollment in a degree course with a qualification
- Enrollment in language courses.
- Enrollment in technical courses
The Employment Authorization Document or the M1 Visa Work Permit must be applied for if you want to work while you have an M1 visa. You will only be permitted to work on campus, part-time when classes are in session and full-time during breaks when there are no sessions, even if you are granted these privileges. Additionally, all of the work you complete while on the M1 visa must be associated with your academic pursuits.
How long does the M1 visa last?
The length of your professional course determines how long the M1 visa is valid for. Some visa applicants obtain their visas throughout the entire time they are enrolled in school, while others only get them for a portion of that time. In most cases the M1 visa is valid for one year.
Your I-20 paperwork is only valid for a year, regardless of how long you are granted a visa. This implies that even if your M1 visa has a longer validity period, you will require a new Form I-20 each year.
The M1 visa and I-20 form have a three-year maximum validity. You will require an extension to complete the course if your M1 visa is not valid for the whole period of the program. Form I-539, Application for Extension or Modification of Nonimmigrant Student Status, should be filled out and submitted to USCIS in order to do this.
Can I travel with my dependents on an M1 visa?
- If your application for the M1 visa is successful, you will be able to bring your dependents (for example, your spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21) with you to the United States.
- In order to accompany you, your family members must apply for the M2 visa. It is a permit intended for dependents of M1 visa holders.
- You will be eligible to remain in the country for the duration of your professional studies once you get your M2 visa.
- They will be given their unique I-20 paperwork, but they must leave the nation promptly and go back to their native country once their M1 visa has run out.
- If your dependents come to the United States on the M2 visa, they will not be able to work or study a course leading to a degree.
- They will still be able to participate in short recreational courses.