M-1 student visa:
The M-1 visa is suitable for foreign students wishing to attend a full time vocational or non-academic course, other than language training, at colleges, universities, specialized training schools or conservatories in the United States.
With an M-1 student visa, a person can remain in the country for one year or for as long as he or she is enrolled as a full time student in the course of study plus 30-days to prepare to leave the U.S.
The M-1 visa holder is able to apply for a change of status to other temporary status categories or to adjust status to permanent residence – but he or she cannot change to H-1B status if the employment offered is based on knowledge gained through studies while in M-1 status.
M-1 visa privileges:
The M-1 visa holder can:
- travel in and out of the U.S. (on short trips) or remain in the country continuously until completion of the study program;
- transfer from one school to another by notifying the USCIS (US Citizenship and Immigration Services);
- work lawfully on-campus on a part-time basis;
- work lawfully off-campus on a project study that's related to his or her area of study; and
- apply for an M-2 visa for family members accompanying him or her to the United States. The M-2 visa is issued to the spouse and minor children (under 21) of the M-1 visa holder. These dependent visa holders can stay in the United States as long as the principal visa holder remains in legal status.
Note: Once an M-1 holder is 6 months into a program of study, he/she is generally disallowed from changing his/her course of study.
Extensions of stay:
After the completion of studies, the M-1 visa holder can apply for an extension of stay if he/she wishes to pursue practical training. In general, a person holding an M-1 visa will be authorized to have one month of practical training for every four months of study he/she has finished. The student will be limited to six months total training time.