Main navigation

Also called an “M” visa, this visa is for vocational or nonacademic studies. Holders of an M-1 visa that is for vocational and technical programs aren’t allowed to work throughout their course studies. Applicants for the M-1 visa must show evidence that they have enough money to pay for all living costs and tuition for the length of their stay.

Requirements for M1 Student Visa

If you’re planning to enter as an M1, your primary focus cannot be general study. You must participate in a full course study, and your program must have a defined goal. A study in a junior or community college for at least 12 quarter or semester hours is what would define a full course study. It must also take place inside of a school where 12-semester attendees are considered full time or required to pay full tuition. The only way around this rule is if a smaller course load is needed to complete your course.

Additional Alternatives

An alternative is a school that is able to show its credits are or have been accepted unconditionally by three institutions that offer higher learning. If this isn’t possible, study in a nonacademic or vocational curriculum that is DSO certified is another option. If this option is chosen, the curriculum must require 22 clock hours per week or 18 hours of weekly attendance.

The final option is study that takes place inside of a nonacademic high school or vocational curriculum that is DSO certified and requires class attendance equal to the minimum needed to make normal progress towards graduation. In most cases, on campus jobs don’t offer much pay, and they definitely don’t pay enough to finance a full university education.

Difference Between M and J-1 Student Visas

This type of job shouldn’t be relied on for anything more than supplemental income. The J-1 student status opens the door for similar employment, which also has restrictions that are very similar. However, for J-1 student status, permission must be provided by the exchange visitor program sponsor.

M1 Visa Application Process

There are different admission policies for different universities. To determine if you’re academically eligible for an M1 Visa, your university will tell you what information you need to provide.

First, you must show the university that you have enough money to live on while studying and not having to work. You must also show that you have medical insurance, so if you encounter the need for medical assistance, you have to pay out of pocket.

Tips For The Process

For your own protection, you should make a copy of every document that you send off to the school. These are just some of the many requirements you’ll need to meet. After the school has processed your application and deemed you to be academically eligible, they’ll send you an I-20 form, so you’ll be able to apply for the M1 visa.

Anyone who is trying to apply for a student visa should try to apply at the U.S. Consulate or Embassy that has jurisdiction over their permanent residence. In most cases, this will be your home country. Visa applicants have the option of applying at virtually any U.S. consular office, but they might find it far more difficult to qualify for a visa outside of the country they have a permanent residence in.

What to Do When Applying For Student Visa at the Consulate

First, you’ll need to pay an application fee, which is nonrefundable. If you don’t get approved for your visa, then you won’t get your money refunded. You’ll also need to fill out and send in a DS-160. This is the online application for non-immigrant visa. For males between 16 and 45, a DS-157 form will need to be completed and submitted. A valid passport that can be used for travel to the United States is also needed.

The validity date of the passport must be six months beyond the period of time you intend to stay in the United States. If there is more than one person on the passport, an application is required for each individual wanting to get a visa.

Photo Requirements

You have the option of uploading a digital photo, but it must:
• Have a neutral facial expression
• Show both eyes open
• Taken while directly facing the camera, in full-face view
• Taken using an off-white or plain white background
• Taken within six months of submitting the application
• Be taken in full color
• Sized in a way that ensures the head represents 69 percent of the photo’s total height, from the top of the head to the bottom of the chin

Additional Considerations

When you’re applying for a visa, you’ll need to prove to the consular officer that you don’t intend on leaving your home country and have strong ties to your permanent residence.

You must also prove that you truly plan on leaving and returning to your foreign country after you’ve completed your studies. Before applying, you should make sure to bring as much evidence as possible that shows your strong ties to your home country.

Some examples of evidence to bring:

• Something showing assets you have in your home country, such as a car
• A letter showing that there is a job waiting for you when you return to your home country
• Papers showing you pay a mortgage in your home country
• Proof that you have immediate family in your home country
• Proof that you own property in your home country