M-1 Student Visa

The M-1 Visa is a nonimmigrant US Visa for international students (foreign students) wishing to pursue nonacademic or vocational studies, other than language training. To receive and M-1 classification you first must apply to study at an USCIS-approved school in the United States. When accepted, the school issues a Form I-20 M-N/ID (Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (M-1) Student Status – for Vocational Students). You should also be prepared to prove that you have the financial resources required for your education and stay in the United States.

Dependents of M-1

Spouses of M-1 students and their dependent children under 21 can either accompany or later join the M-1 student in the US during the same time period as the principal M-1 on an M-2 visa. Children on M-2 visas can attend public elementary and secondary school.


  • You may come to the U.S. as a full-time vocational or nonacademic student enrolled in a program leading to a degree or certificate.
  • You can transfer from one school to another, though it becomes more difficult after your first six months of study.
  • You may get permission to work for up to six months after your studies are done. The job must be considered practical training for your field of study.
  • You may travel in and out of the U.S. or remain there until the completion of your studies, up to a maximum of one year. If you have not completed your program in a year or by the time indicated on your I-20M form, whichever is less, you must apply for an extension.
  • Visas are available for accompanying relatives.


  • You must first be accepted by an approved school.
  • You are restricted to attending only the specific school for which your visa has been currently approved. You can transfer from one school to another only if you apply for and receive permission from the INS to do so. Once you are six months into the program of studies, you are prohibited from transferring except under truly exceptional circumstances.
  • You are never permitted to change your course of study.
  • You may not work during your studies.
  • Accompanying relatives may stay in the U.S. with you, but they may not work.

Contact our office for a free consultation with an immigration attorney to see if you qualify for an M-1 visa.

Aside from obtaining a new M-1 visa, Mr. Galstyan, an experienced immigration lawyer will assist you to change your non-immigrant status to M-1 status when you are already in the U.S. in another non-immigrant status (example B-1/B2 or J-1) if you are going to pursue non-academic or vocational studies.

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