The M-1 visa offers a great opportunity for students to train in a positive US environment and strengthen their technical and non-academic skills. The M-1 visa is offered to students who wish to pursue full-time study at an USCIS approved vocational or non-academic school in the United States.
These schools are usually community and junior colleges that offer vocational and technical training or vocational high schools. The schools must prove their international students program will reach certain educational objectives and will not be used to make students work.
There is no application filed with the U.S. immigration service in advance. Instead, the prospective student must first obtain a certificate of eligibility (Form I-20) from the academic institution where he or she will enroll on a full-time basis. The I-20, along with a nonimmigrant visa application and supporting documentation are then submitted directly at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in their home country. Once the visa is issued, the foreign national student travels to the U.S. and is admitted in M-1 status.
The spouse and minor children of an M-1 student may enter the U.S. in M-2 status. Separate Forms I-20 for each dependent are required. Such family members are not allowed to work or engage in full-time study, unless it is a child attending primary or secondary school.
Upon completion of study, the M-1 student may obtain permission to work in their field in the U.S. for a period of up to 6 months, depending on the length of their course of study.