Have you heard about M-1 visa for students? This is a visa that is
being issued to a full-time vocational or nonacademic student.
There are not too many of those.
M-1 visa has many disadvantages over F-1 visa.
For one, all vocational programs are generally very
short in duration. If you can be expected to stay four years in USA on
a F-1 visa to get a Bachelor's degree, you will probably be staying one
year on this visa. If you did not complete your program of study within
one year, you will have to apply for extension.
It is much harder to transfer from one school to another school if you
are coming here on a M-1 visa. If you want to transfer, you should do
so within the first few months of study. Remember this visa is only for
It is not the only disadvantage of having this
visa. You cannot work during your studies. You cannot change your
program of study. Your immediate relatives can come to USA, but they
cannot work either. In another words, you must have ample financial
funds to last one year.
Some people think they can attend any school.
However, you can only attend school the immigration service has already
If the school has just been built, the good chance is that it has not
been approved. Your best bet will be attending any school that received
a state accreditation and has been in business for years.
We recommend using a US Immigration Lawyer to get
an extension if you need one or any problems you might encounter with
There is one advantage of having a M-1 visa.
You still might get a permission to stay in USA after your graduation.
You can work several months (up to six months) after completion of your
studies. However, your work has to be in the same field you went to
school for. Generally, the immigration service recognizes the fact that
vocational school graduates have to have some experience to become more
employable in their countries. Nevertheless, the immigration officials
will strictly scrutinize your employment prior to granting you a
permission to work.
The main reason for such a strict scrutiny is
because a M-1 visa is a nonimmigrant visa. It means you must have
intent to come back home when you graduate. Any desire to prolong your
stay can mean you would like to stay in USA permanently. Thus, your
request to work after studies' completion must be analyzed.