Students who wish to enter United States for educational purposes must acquire a student visa. The M-1 visa is a student visa which is used by the students of vocational and technical schools. There are various rules to be followed to obtain an M1 visa. To obtain an M1 visa, the foreign student must submit a signed form I 120 at the US embassy or consulate at his or her home country. The form I 120 must be sent to the student by the designated school official after the international student has fulfilled the school’s admission requirements and prove he or she has financial support to complete his or her course in the United States without becoming a public charge.
· Student must be enrolled in a non-academic studies or vocational program.
· The school or organization must be approved by USCIS
· Student must prove he or she has enough financial support during the entire period of course
· The student must be proficient in English
· Must maintain a residence abroad which he or she does not intend to give up.
All the international students of M1 visa will be granted a limited time to stay in the United States. When these international students with M1 visa cross the border, their I 94 cards (Arrival Departure record) will be stamped with a date unlike the students who travel with F-1 visa. These M1 visa students may stay in the United States till their training is over plus any Optional Training Program. They will also be granted with a grace period of 30 days at the end of the training period.
All students with this M1 student visa must leave the United States at the end of their grace period unless they are granted an extension based on medical reasons. If the student violates the rules and does not maintain the full course of study, then he or she will not be given the grace period of 30 days. The students of M1 visa will not be able allowed to work in or out of campus while they pursue their course and they are not allowed by the law to change their status to F1 visa.
The M1 student visa holders are eligible for a short Optional Training Program which maybe for a month on every four months of their course. F1 students may apply form I 765 to obtain employment authorization to work in the United States during their course. As M1 students are not allowed to work, they may file form I 539 to extend their status. These applications are adjudicated at various service centers and the rules and regulations may vary according to the service center.
Note: This article is written for Immigration Direct