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US M-1 Student Visa

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The M-1 visa allows international students to enter the US to study on a full time vocational course at a recognised technical college or other educational institution. This visa cannot be used to study academic courses, such as degrees.


F-1 visa applicants must meet several eligibility criteria to be accepted, these include:

  • Having evidence that you can pay your tuition fees and living costs during your stay, such as bank statements

  • A passport style photograph

  • Having a residence in your home country, and intending to return there when your studies are completed

  • Having strong ties to your home country, such as family, assets, and a job offer on completion of your studies

  • Having a confirmed place at a US technical college or other recognised vocational education institution, as well as a copy of Form I-20

Form I-20

International students wanting to study in the US must have a copy of 'Form I-20 Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status'. The form must be provided by the techinical college or other institution offering a place.

Students can only study at the institution and for the length of time noted on Form I-20.

Type of study

F-1 students may study vocational programs of 18 hours per week or more, which award a recognised diploma or certificate.

Students on this visa may study on a long-term or short-term basis.

Length of stay

Students on this visa may remain in the US for the full length of their studies as noted on their copy of Form I-20, up to a maximum initial period of one year. The visa can then be extended for another 2 years, to a maximum total period of 3 years, if this time is required to complete the course.

Students may arrive in the US 30 days before the start of their studies, and may remain for 30 days after completion.

F-1 students can also apply to extend their visa in order to engage in practical training after their studies have ended. Students are entitled to 1 month's practical training for every 4 months of study, up to a maximum of 6 months.


M-1 students must pay the full cost of their program before commencing their studies.


M-1 students cannot work while they study. However, when their vocational studies have finished, M-1 students can work full time in a practical training role that is related to their vocation.

Students are entitled to 1 month's practical training for every 4 months of study - up to a maximum of 6 months – and must apply for the Designated School Officer's permission, and for a visa extension to cover the training period.

Further information, help, and advice's team of specialists has over 25 years of experience in immigration services, and have helped thousands of people to study and work in the US. All applications for US visas are dealt with in-house by a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA).

For more information and advice on US immigration law and US visa applications please contact us on 0344 991 9222 or at