M1/M2 Nonacademic Programs

The M-1 visa category includes students in vocational or other nonacademic programs, other than language training.

To obtain an M-1 visa a student must receive a signed Form I-20 from the eligible school. The I-20 is issued by a designated school official, typically the international student adviser, after the student has fulfilled a school's admissions requirements and presented proof of financial resources. M-1student may stay for the length of his training program plus any Optional Practical Training, plus a 30-day grace period at the end of his training. His stay may not exceed one year unless he is granted an extension. If a student violates his status he is not eligible for the grace period.

Students in M-1 status may not work on or off campus while studying. M-1 visa holder cannot change status to F-1. However, this does not apply to M-2s.

M-1 visa holder can transfer schools only in first 6 months unless reason for not being able to remain at present school was “due to circumstances beyond the students’ control.” Cannot change education objectives.

M-1 visa holder cannot change to H status if basis of H visa was training or education received as M-1 student. Nor can student’s request to change nonimmigrant status be granted to M if student is doing it to ultimately qualify for H. However, this does not apply to M-2s.

M-1 visa can be reinstated if out of status if violation of status resulted from circumstances “beyond the students control” or that it would result in extreme hardship.

Optional Practical Training

M-1 students are eligible for one month for every four months of study Optional Practical Training. M-1 student must file an application for employment authorization and application to extend status.

M-2. The M2 nonimmigrant visa allows the dependent spouse and children of a qualified M1 student visa holder to enter into the U.S. To qualify for M2 visa, you must prove your intention to enter the U.S. temporarily; prove that you are the dependent spouse or child below 21 years of the M1 applicant.

On M2 visa, you may study in an elementary or secondary school fulltime, if you are an M2 child; study in a vocational or recreational school; travel in and out of the U.S.

On M2 visa, you may not seek admission in a University if you are an M2 child or spouse; accept employment.

You may stay in the U.S. on M2 visa as long as the principal M1 applicant is in status. This may be for one year or for the period necessary for the principal M1 applicant to complete the course of study plus 30 days thereafter to depart, whichever is less. The 30 days to prepare for departure is permitted as long as you maintain status.