How To Get US M1 Visa

The M1 visa is for students who wish to enroll in professional studies in the United States. Cooking courses, technical courses, mechanics courses, flight school and cosmetology are considered professional studies.

There is no cap on the number of students who can be granted an M1 visa; therefore, any student who satisfies the requirements could receive one.

Who can apply for the M1 visa?

Not everyone can apply for and be entitled to an M1 visa to obtain a professional qualification. In order to apply for and be eligible for an M1 visa, you must meet these conditions.

  • Be accepted to a SEVP institution: The Student Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) has a list of graduate and professional institutions where M1 students are accepted. To be eligible to apply for the M1 visa, you must apply and gain admission to one of these institutions. You may have a list of favorite schools you would like to go to, but before applying, make sure they are qualified to make you eligible for the M1 visa. After you are accepted, the school will register you in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) and provide you with a Form I-20, Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status.
  • Have a high level of knowledge of the English language: International students should have a good understanding of the language. Their level of English should be high enough to enable them to understand and speak as required by educational institutions. They should understand the lessons and be able to discuss concepts in class. English proficiency can be demonstrated by taking a standardized English proficiency test such as the TOEFL or IELTS.
  • Demonstrate strong ties to your home country: You should return to your home country after completing your studies. That’s why you should demonstrate that the ties are strong through property deeds, apartment rental, foreign address and family ties. If you do not present sufficient evidence, the U.S. Embassy may deny your visa because it suspects that you want to stay in the United States permanently.
  • Be able to finance your education and remain in the United States: To obtain the M1 visa you must demonstrate that you can cover your expenses while studying and living in the United States. Your Form I-20 contains an estimate of expenses for one year, so you should submit financial documents that demonstrate you have that amount readily available. If your dependents also join you in the United States, your financial situation should be even better, demonstrating that you can also finance their stay in the country.

M1 visa requirements:

The following paperwork needs to be gathered in order to apply for an M1 visa:

  • A passport valid for another 6 months after the visa expires.
  • Your DS-160 confirmation page.
  • Your visa appointment letter.
  • A photograph of the US visa.
  • Receipts showing that you have paid taxes.
  • Your original Form I-20 and a copy.
  • Proof of your educational qualifications such as:
  •     Degrees and diplomas.
  •     Transcriptions.
  •     Standardized test scores, etc.
  • Evidence of your financial stability, such as:
  •     Bank statements for the last 3 years.
  •     Tax data for the last 3 years.
  •     Loans to finance your stay in the United States (if applicable).
  •     Scholarship for your education in USA, please provide all relevant information (if applicable).
  • If you will be supported by an individual in the United States, submit Form I-134, Affidavit of Support, and the individual’s banking and tax filing information for the past 3 years.

How to apply for an M1 visa?

The application process for an M1 visa and an F-1 visa are fairly similar. These are the necessary steps to take to apply for an M1 visa:

  • Get your I-20 form.
  • Submit Form DS-160 online.
  • Pay the visa application fee.
  • Pay the SEVIS I-901 fee.
  • Schedule your interview.
  • Fill out your document file.
  • Attend your interview.

1. Get your I-20 form:

After you are accepted into the trade school of your choice, you will be provided with the I-20 form. With this form you can start the request procedure.

2. Submit Form DS-160 online:

Your Form DS-160 is the first form you must submit online. You should enter all necessary information that is relevant to your background, your goals in the United States, and your program of study. Finally, when you submit the form, you will receive a confirmation code and a page that you will need later for the interview and documentation file.

3. Pay the visa application fee:

The M1 visa application fee is $185. This is a non-refundable fee, which means that even if you don’t get the visa, you won’t get your money back. In addition to this fee, there may be additional costs depending on the embassy you are applying to. If you are from specific countries, you may also have to pay a visa issuing fee or reciprocity fee, which is determined by the US Embassy. Keep receipts that show you have paid all taxes.

4. Pay the SEVIS I-901 fee:

Since all international students in the United States are registered in SEVIS, a fee must also be paid. For the M1 visa, there is a $200 SEVIS I-901 fee. Since you will require the receipt later, you should pay and save it.

5. Schedule your interview:

You will need to schedule an interview for your visa appointment. Try to do this as soon as possible, as US embassies have a high workload and it may take a while for them to find you an appointment. After scheduling the interview, you will receive the interview appointment letter which you will need to attach to your document file.

6. Fill out your document file:

Your document file must be completed with all necessary forms. When you go to your visa appointment, you ought to bring it with you.

7. Attend your interview:

Finally, attend the visa interview. Have all your documents ready and be prepared to answer interview questions. The M1 visa interview questions will revolve around your intentions to go to the United States, your financial situation, and ties to your home country. If you bring dependents, such as a spouse or children, you will also be asked to prove your relationship to them.

What can I do with an M1 visa in the United States?

Students on an M1 visa can complete their professional studies full-time and obtain an associate’s degree or other type of degree. They can obtain a driver’s license, open a bank account, change schools within the first six months of the program, have access to healthcare and work under certain circumstances.

However, M1 students are not allowed to do the following:

  • Work full-time out of campus.
  • Complete their programs as part-time students.
  • Change the program or transfer to another institution after six months of starting the program.
  • Continue higher education in the United States to obtain a bachelor’s degree or other type of degree.

There are also notable differences between the F-1 and M1 visas. F-1 visas allow students to enroll in academic and graduate education, such as a bachelor’s or master’s degree. They also give students the freedom to transfer to any school at any time and work on hands-on training off campus. Students on F-1 visas can also enroll in language courses, but M1 students cannot.

Is it necessary to have proof of purchase of the health insurance policy?

To obtain an M1 visa it is not necessary to present proof of health insurance to consular officers. However, due to the high costs of healthcare in the United States, it is strongly recommended that you cover yourself before traveling.

For example, a broken leg or broken arm will cost you $2,500, while staying in an American hospital for one night can cost more than $10,000 on average.

M1 Visa Processing Time:

The processing time for the M1 visa is quite short. Processing takes place before the visa interview. There are cases where you receive a response immediately after the end of the visa interview, with the interviewer congratulating you or explaining the reasons for your rejection. However, in most cases you should expect a processing time of at least four weeks. Even if it takes longer, don’t be alarmed. Most likely, the Embassy had a heavy workload and could not respond so quickly.

How long can I stay in the United States on an M1 visa?

The validity of your visa depends on the duration of your professional training. You may receive a visa for the full duration of your studies or for a shorter period. However, the Form I-20 is only valid for one year. This means you will have to buy a new one every year. The M1 visa and Form I-20 can be extended for up to 3 years.

If your visa is not valid for the duration of your studies, you will need to request an extension. You can do this by completing Form I-539, Application for Extension or Modification of Nonimmigrant Status with USCIS, and Form I-20.

Can I change my status to another US visa?

Furthermore, you can also change your status to another non-immigrant visa. However, you cannot switch to an F visa, and there are also difficulties in switching to an H-1B visa if you will be working with the skills you acquired during your studies as an M1 student.

Many people want to switch from the M1 visa to the Green Card. This can prove quite difficult since to obtain an employment-based green card you must have exceptional skills, get married in the United States, or have at least $500,000 to invest in the US economy. This means that not many people switch from the M1 visa to the Green Card.

Can I work in the United States with an M1 visa?

The M1 visa allows for some restricted employment. You can only work on campus, part-time when school is in session and full-time during breaks. The maximum period of time allowed to work is 6 months. In order to work, you will need to obtain your Employment Authorization Document (EAD) or Visa M1 work permit.

You can do this by filing Form I-538, Certification of Designated School with USCIS. The form must be signed by the Projected School Officer (DSO). Additionally, you should also complete Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization. All the work you do if your EAD is approved should be related to your field of study.

M2 visa for employees:

If the M1 visa holder has a spouse or unmarried children under the age of 21, they may also enter the United States on an M2 visa. The M2 visa allows dependents to accompany the M1 visa holder to the United States for the duration of their studies. M2 dependents receive individual I-20 forms, but as soon as their M1 visa expires, they must also return to their home country.

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