The M1 student visa has become commonplace for a number of students looking to study in the USA. With US immigration restrictions increasing and the demand for the ability to study abroad growing exponentially, the demand for knowledge on the various visas required to enter the US has grown with it.
This visa is essential for students that are looking to enter the United States and is an essential part of the university application process.
What is an M1 visa?
An M1 visa is a visa that is specifically for nonacademic or vocational studies in the United States of America and mainly used by students that are studying at vocational schools or at technical schools.
- You cannot work full-time out of campus.
- Complete your course as a part-time student.
- Change your programme or university after six months of beginning.
- Pursue any other higher education programmes in the US or study a Bachelor’s degree.
The M1 student visa has become commonplace for a number of students looking to study in the USA.
How to apply for an M1 visa
The application process for an M1 visa is very straightforward and is very similar to the process required for an F1 visa.
- I-20 Form: First of all, you will need to get an I-20 form. This is a form that is offered by the United States Department of Homeland Security, mainly ICE and the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SVP) and is issued by SEVP-certified schools, colleges or universities. This is only for F & M visas. Those applying for a J visa need a DS-2019 form.
- Submit a DS-160 form: This is a form that is filled in online. This form will require you to provide information on your background, why you want to go to the US and what course you wish to study.
- Pay the fees: You will need to pay your M1 visa fee, which is $160 (£125). After this, you will be required to pay the SEVIS I-901 fee, which is $200 (£157).
- Schedule your interview: As with most visas, you will need to schedule an interview with the US Embassy for your visa. You will need to book this quite far in advance.
- Bring your documents file: This is all of the documents that are relevant to your application (see below).
- Attend the interview: This will be mainly focused on what you're hoping to do in the US, what your financial situation is like and provide proof of your ties to your home country.
What do I need to bring in my documents file?
There are a number of necessary files that you will need to bring with you to your interview at the embassy. All of these are essential and you will not be granted your interview without them.
An M1 Visa does come with limitations that the Tier 4 Visa, J1 Visa or F1 Visa do not come with.
How long you can stay with M1 visa after the course finished?
Thought he visa can be extended to accommodate the length of your course, however, upon completion of the course, you are required to leave up to thirty days after the completion of your course.
- A passport that is valid for at least six months after your visa expires.
- A DS-160 confirmation page.
- Your visa appointment letter.
- A passport photograph.
- Receipts for specific fees paid.
- The original completed I-20 form and a copy.
- Proof of educational qualifications, such as:
- Proof of grades
- Test scores
- Proof that you're financially stable, such as:
- Bank statements for the last three years
- Tax information for the last three years
- Loans (if you have taken any out)
- American scholarship information
- Any support information
These documents are essential for your application process. And will need to be taken as one to your interview, you will not be able to send your information electronically beforehand.
After completing your course, your stay cannot be extended under the M1 Visa after your course has ended, however, you can stay longer under a different visa depending on what your intentions in the country are, for instance, if you are planning on investing in any US businesses, you will need a B1 Visa.
This visa is essential for students that are looking to enter the United States
How to transfer from an M1 to an F1 visa
It is very difficult to change an M1 visa to an F1 visa. Federal regulations prohibit the visa being upgraded unless the student has been incorrectly classified as an M1 student.
If you have been incorrectly granted an M1 visa, then you may change the visa to an F1 visa by following the following four steps:
- Fill in Form I-20, detailing the school that you wish to attend.
- A copy of your current I-20 form.
- Your I-94 form.
- A letter from the school you’re authorised to attend explaining why you need to have your status changed.
For those that are simply wish to change their visa status will be unable to do so and will simply need to reapply for a J1 visa when their M1 visa has expired.
How much does the M1 visa cost?
The M1 visa fee is $160 (£125), though this is not the only cost you will incur. After paying your M1 visa fee, you will be required to pay the SEVIS I-901 fee, which is $200 (£157).
How long does it take to process my M1 visa application?
This is a bit of a “how long is a piece of string” question, in reality. The application process could be very quick or it could very slow, it depends on the backlog of work that the embassy has to deal with at any one point.
Some people have been known to find out at their interview that they are successful in their application! Though this is somewhat rare.
Can I work in the US with an M1 visa?
Yes, you can, though the employment options are somewhat restricted. You are granted the options of working on your university campus, a part-time job when your university is open and you are allowed to work full-time when your university is on break.
You are only permitted to work in the US for 6 months and you will need to be granted an Employment Authorisation Document (EAD) or an M1 Visa Work Permit prior to travelling to the US.