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M-1, Vocational Students



A person who wishes to pursue vocational studies or some other nonacademic program (apart from language training) in the United States will need to obtain an M-1 visa. A prospective student must first apply to and be accepted by a school, which has been approved by the Student Exchange and Visitors Program (“SEVP”). To find out if a school is SEVP-certified, please search for it in the database at http://studyinthestates.dhs.gov/school-search/#.

Once a student has been accepted by a SEVP-approved school, the school will issue a Form I-20, generated by the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (“SEVIS”). The student can apply for an M-1 visa upon receipt of the Form I-20. However, an M-1 visa cannot be issued unless the school’s start date or registration date is not more than 120 days away. In addition, the student cannot enter the U.S. on an M-1 visa unless the school’s start date or registration date is not more than 30 days away.

In order to be issued an M-1 visa, the following criteria must be met:

  • The student must be enrolled full-time in a vocational program or some other nonacademic program.
  • The student must be proficient in English.
  • The student must have sufficient funds available to be self-supported during the entire proposed course of study.
  • The student must maintain a residence abroad which he or she has no intention of abandoning.

The Visa Application
In addition to meeting the criteria outlined above, a student will need the following items when applying for an M-1 visa:

1. A DS-160, Nonimmigrant Visa Application, which must be completed and submitted online. A passport-style photograph must also be scanned and uploaded when completing the DS-160.

2. A valid passport. There should be at least six months of unexpired validity and at least one blank page to insert the machine-readable visa.

3. The SEVIS-generated Form I-20 provided by the SEVP-approved school.

4. A Form I-901 SEVIS Fee Receipt Notice, which shows that the SEVIS Fee of $200 has been paid.

5. Evidence that you plan to remain in the U.S. for a temporary, specific, limited period, that you have sufficient funds to cover your expenses while you are in the U.S., and that you have compelling social and economic ties to the country in which you apply for the visa, ensuring that you will return to that country at the end of your M-1 studies.

6. Payment of the visa issuance fee, where required. Please contact Ferman Law which can advise as to which nationalities must pay a visa issuance fee and the fee amount.

All nonimmigrant visa applicants between the ages of 14 and 79 must attend a personal visa interview at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad.

How We Can Help You
At Ferman Law, we will schedule your visa interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate, prepare the necessary visa application forms for you and your dependents, and assist you with the collection of the supporting materials. We will then prepare you for the visa interview. If you are already in the United States in some other nonimmigrant status, we can help you with an application to change your status to M-1.