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The M-1 visa allows individuals to travel to the U.S. for non-academic or vocational studies.

Individuals who wish to pursue vocational studies or participate in a non-academic program may qualify for an M-1 visa.  An M-1 visa allows an individual to temporarily study in the U.S.  These programs include training in a variety of fields, such as health care technicians, dental hygienists, flight pilots, and culinary professions. An M-3 visa is also available for Canadian or Mexican students commuting to vocational or nonacademic programs in the U.S.

In order to apply for an M-1 visa, you must first be enrolled in a course of study at an approved U.S. vocational or nonacademic school.  Once enrolled, your school will issue a document called a Form I-20, which you may use to apply for an M-1 visa at a U.S. consulate outside the U.S., except for Canadian citizens, who simply apply at the Port of Entry or Pre-Flight Inspection.

Duration of Stay
A designated school official will fill in a completion date on your Form I-20.  You will be allowed to continue your studies and live in the U.S. until this date as long as you remain a full-time student.  If you need additional time to complete your studies, your status may be extended.

Spouses and Children
The spouse and minor children of an M-1 student may also live in the U.S. under M-2 status.  A spouse in M-2 status may not work or study in the U.S.  However, children in M-2 status may enroll in elementary or secondary school.

You will need the following documents from the University:

  • Admission Letter
  • SEVIS Form I-20
    • This is the Certificate of Eligibility for Non-immigrant (F-1 or M-1) Student Status–the school’s statement to the government that you have met the initial admission and financial requirements to attend the university.

Preparing for your visa interview

  • Review the information on the U.S. State Department M-1 Student Visa Information Page and on the website of the consulate for detailed lists of what you will need to bring to your visa interview.
  • Gather all of the documents that you will need.
  • Pay your SEVIS (I-901) Fee before the day of your interview. You will need to bring the receipt with you to your interview.
  • Pay your non-refundable Machine Readable Visa Fee (Visa application Fee) as directed by the U.S. Consulate
  • Be prepared to answer questions honestly and clearly about your program of study, your plans, your finances, and your intent to return after your studies. Remember that your visa interview is a conversation, not just a review of your documents.



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