Vocational Student Visa (M-1)


The M-1 nonimmigrant visa classification is for individuals who come to the U.S. to pursue a vocational, non-academic program (other than a language training program) in an established institution in the United States. Examples of vocational study are technical courses, mechanical classes, flight school, cosmetology, cooking classes, and other similar programs.

M-1 Procedure & Requirements

  • Be accepted at a Student Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) institution which offers non-degree bearing course.
  • Have a high English proficiency to allow the individual to understand and speak as required by educational institutions.
  • As with other nonimmigrant visas, have strong ties to home country and document bona fide student status.
  • Must be able to document that the individual can cover expenses while studying and living in the U.S.

Related Issues

  • Spouse and unmarried children under 21 of an M-1 can accompany on M-2 status.
  • Spouse and children of an M-1 are not allowed to work or study for a degree.
  • Spouse and children of an M-1 can enroll in recreational courses, and children can only complete their elementary or secondary school (K-1).
  • For an M-1 spouse to engage in a full course of study, an M-2 spouse must apply for and be granted F-1, M-1 or J-1 status. For an M-2 child to study full-time at the post-secondary level, the child must apply for and be granted M-1 or J-1 study.
  • An M-2 child may engage in study at an SEVP-certified school in the U.S. if they are enrolled in less than a full course of study.
  • An M-1 applicant cannot apply for change of status to F-1.