The USA M1 visa is for those who want to study in vocational courses in the United States. Among these courses, the following can be mentioned:
- Cooking classes
- Technical courses
- Mechanical classes
- Flight school
Fortunately, there are no restrictions on the annual visa issuance. In other words, if you are eligible to receive an M1 visa, you can apply for this visa without any limitations.
In this article, we intend to explain the requirements of an M1 visa, processing time, interview questions, and the application process.
What is a US M1 visa?
Students who receive an M1 visa can study full-time in the United States. While in the United States, they can obtain a driver’s license, open a bank account, access healthcare, and work under certain conditions. They can also transfer schools within the first six months of their program.
There are differences between M1 and F1 visas. Holders of F1 visas can study at such levels as bachelor’s and master’s degrees. They can also transfer to any school at any time. Students studying under an F1 visa can also enroll in language courses, while M1 students cannot.
Holders of the M1 visa cannot perform the following activities:
- Working full time outside of campus
- Studying and complete the vocational program as a part-time student
- Changing program or institution six months after the start of the program
- Continuing higher education at the undergraduate or other degrees
What are the requirements of the US M1 visa?
Applicants for this visa should consider the following conditions:
Admission from a SEVP institution
The Student Exchange Visitor Program or SEVP contains a list of institutions that offer vocational courses and admit students under the M1 visa. So if you want to qualify for this visa, you must first get admission from one of these institutions. After receiving admission, the institute will issue a Form I-20, Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status.
Foreign students who intend to study in the United States must be able to understand and speak English based on what their educational institution determines. They need to be able to understand lectures well and discuss class concepts. They can take tests such as IELTS or TOEFL to assess their English language proficiency.
Return to home country
As an M1 visa applicant, you must prove that you will return to your home country after completing the course. Therefore, providing documents related to the assets you have in your country, employment commitment, and family ties can prove that you do not intend to reside in the United States.
Financing during the study
You have to prove that you can afford your expenses in the United States. The I-20 form issued by the institute estimates the expenditure for one year in the United States. You must provide proof that you can cover it. If you plan to bring your family members to this country, you must prove that you can finance their stay.
How to apply for an M1 visa?
You must first receive admission from an institution. Then they issue the I-20 Form to you. The steps you must go through to apply for this visa include:
1. Issuance of I-20 Form
The I-20 Form is issued after being accepted by the vocational institute. By receiving this form, your admission process will begin.
2.Complete DS-160 Form
At this step, you must complete the DS-160. All applicants for nonimmigrant visas must complete this form. This form contains questions about your background information and the purpose of your trip to the United States.
3. Pay the application fee
The cost of applying for a USA M1 visa is $160, which must be paid by the applicant. Keep the payment receipt with you. You may also have to pay for visa issuance, depending on the relationship between your country and the United States. Since all international students are registered in SEVIS, $200 must be paid as SEVIS I-901.
4. Schedule the interview
All individuals between the ages of 14 and 79 need to attend a visa interview. You need to schedule your interview. After you have made this appointment, you will obtain a confirmation letter that you need to bring on the day of your interview.
5. Prepare documents
As M-1 visa applicants, provide the following documents:
- A valid passport: Passport validity should be at least six months from the date of visa expiration.
- Applicant Photo
- Form I-20 and a copy of it
- DS-160 Form confirmation page
- Receipts of payments
- Visa interview confirmation letter
- Applicant’s educational qualification, including diplomas, transcripts, the result of the language test, etc.
- Evidence that the applicant can cover his/her expenses:
- Bank statement related to the last three years
- Tax information for the last three years
6. Participate in the interview
It is recommended to have a photo with you on the day of the interview. You will be asked some questions about your background, education, and purpose of your trip to the United States. You have to answer all the questions honestly. In the following, we will address some questions that may be asked in the interview.
What are the most frequently asked questions in a USA M1 visa interview?
The most frequently asked questions in an M-1 visa interview are about your background, the program you plan to attend, and financial support.
You may be asked about your program:
- At which school do you plan to take your vocational course?
- How many schools have you applied for?
- How many schools have you accepted, and how many schools have you rejected?
- What is your language test score?
- What is your field of study?
- Why did you choose this field? Do you have related experience in this field?
Examples of questions about your background include:
- Where did you complete your last course of study?
- Can you tell me your GPA in your previous degree?
- What is your plan after getting a visa? What if your visa is denied?
In order for the consular officer to know how your tuition fees will be covered, he/she will ask the following questions:
- What is your parents’ job?
- What is your family income?
- Do you have a scholarship? Does anyone sponsor your expenses?
- Can I see your bank statement and a tax return?
- Do you have relatives in the US?
- Where will you stay while you plan to participate in the program?
- Do you have a bank loan to pay for your studies?
How long does it take to assess documents and issues an M1 visa?
The processing time of documents and issuing a USA M1 visa is relatively short. In fact, the processing is done before the interview, and on the day of the interview, you will be immediately informed of the result of your application. At the end of the interview, the consular officer congratulates you or explains the reasons for your rejection.
In most cases, the processing time for an M-1 visa is up to 4 weeks. Even if this period is more extended, do not worry, the workload of different embassies varies.
How long is a USA M1 visa valid for?
The validity of your permission depends on the duration of the vocational program. Your visa may be valid for the entire study period or shorter. However, Form I-20 is only valid for one year. This indicates that you must reapply for a Form I-20 at the end of one year.
If you want to apply for a visa extension, you must complete Form I-539, Application to Extend or Change Nonimmigrant Status and submit it to the USCIS.
Can M1 visa holders change their visa status?
Yes, they can change the status of their visa to other nonimmigrant visas, but there are limitations. For example, they cannot obtain a student visa. It is also a bit difficult to change the status of M1 to H1B.
Holders of the M1 visa should be aware that they cannot change their visa status to a Green Card. To receive a Green Card, you must have one of the following features:
- Having extraordinary abilities
- Marry an American citizen or a person who has legal US citizenship
- Economic investment in the United States with a minimum of $500,000
Can the visa holders bring their dependents to this country?
Yes. They can bring their spouse and children under the age of 21 to the United States on an M-2 visa. In this way, family members of M-1 visa holders can be with them throughout their studies. M2 visa applicants must obtain a separate I-20 form.
M-2 visa requirements depend on the conditions of the principal visa holder. Thus, when the M1 visa expires, M2 visa holders must also return to their home country.
Holders of this visa are not allowed to study or work but can participate in recreational training courses such as cooking classes. Children can also complete their primary and secondary education in the United States.
Can visa holders work in the United States?
Holders of this visa are allowed to work under limited conditions. They can only work part-time or full-time on campus. When the school is open, they can work part-time and full-time during breaks. The maximum time they can work is a maximum of six months. To be allowed to work, they must obtain Employment Authorization Document (EAD). To receive this certification, Form I-538, Certification by Designated School, must be submitted to the USCIS. This form must be signed by your Designed School Official (DSO). If your certification is approved, you can work in your field of study.
Let’s sum up …
In this article, we reviewed the requirements, application process, document, duration, interview questions, and processing time for the USA M1 visa. On the Visa Library website, you can learn about other US visas as well as ways to immigrate to other countries. In case you have some experience, please write it down in the comment section. Your comments let the readers choose better and avoid mistakes. Conveying your experiences in comments is a great help for applicants.