Foreign Students who want to enrol in Vocational and Non-Academic Education in the United States are issued M-1 Visas. The courses under vocational and non-academic education include chef apprenticeship, technical courses, mechanical programs, flight school and cosmetology.
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This type of Visa holder has access to certain privileges such as ownership of a driver’s license, access to health insurance (depending on the school) and permission to work on campus. If you are interested in pursuing a degree in vocational and non-academic education in the US, this article is for you.
All You Should Know About M-1 Visa
Here are the important things you should know about an M-1 Visa.
- The M-1 Visa holders are restricted from working outside the campus during the course of their studies. However, they can work on Campus for a maximum period of 6 months.
- Students with M1 Visa can bring their relatives to live with them in the US as dependents as long as their M-1 Visa status is valid.
- The Validity of an M-1 Visa depends on the duration of their Vocational education.
- Students with an M-1 Visa can change their program or transfer to another institution after six months of beginning their program.
- Unlike F1 Visa holders, Students with M-1 visas are not permitted to enroll in language courses.
Who Is Eligible To Apply For An M-1 Visa?
To be qualified to apply for an M-1 Visa, you must meet the following criteria.
1. Gain Admission into a SEVP Institution
You must apply and get admitted into an institution listed under the Student Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP). When the school accepts you, they will register you into the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) and issue you a Form I-20 and a Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Students.
2 Ability to sponsor your Vocational Education.
If you must qualify to apply for an M-1 Visa, you should have the financial backing to sponsor your vocational education and stay in the US. In fact, you will be required to submit financial documents to attest to them while applying for an M-1 Visa.
3. Excellent use of the English language
To be qualified to apply for an M-1 Visa, you should have excellent use of the English language. You should be able to communicate effectively and understand your teachers during lectures. You can improve your English proficiency by taking tests like the IELTS or TOEFL. Ensure you take any of these tests before you start your M-1 Visa Application.
4. Prove you have strong links to your country
To ensure you’ll go back to your home country after you complete your Vocational education, the US Embassy will request for documents like property deeds, your foreign address, and family bonds. Failure to submit these proofs may lead to rejection of your M-1 Visa Application
What are the Requirements for M-1 Visa
The requirements for M1 Visa Application include,
- A passport valid for 6 months after the expiration of your visa
- Your proof of fees payment
- DS-160 confirmation page.
- Visa appointment letter.
- 2 or more US Visa photographs
- Financial documents to prove you’re capable of sponsoring your Vocational education. The financial documents may include Bank statements for the past 3 years, Tax information for the past 3 years, Loans to finance your stay in the US, Scholarship for your education in the U.S (if applicable). In cases where you’re being sponsored by a person in the U.S, you’ll have to submit Form I-134, Affidavit of Support and the person’s bank and tax return information for the past 3 years.
- Educational certificates such as degrees and diplomas, Transcripts, etc are required.
- The original I-20 form and one duplicate
How Can I Apply for an M-1 Visa?
You should take the following steps to apply for an M-1 Visa:
1. Get your I-20 Form
As stated earlier, before you apply for an M-1 Visa, you must be accepted by a Vocational school affiliated with SEVP. After accepting you, the vocational school will issue you the I-20 form. You can start your application process using the form.
2. Fill and Submit Form DS-160
You are required to fill Form DS-160. You will be required to fill in your personal information and the reason you want to study in the US.
After filling the form with your correct information, you are expected to submit it online and a confirmation code will be displayed on a confirmation page. Ensure you print out the confirmation page because it will be required later for your Visa interview.
3. Pay the visa application fee
The M-1 visa application fee is $160. Just like other Visa application fees, this fee is non-refundable meaning that even if your Visa application is unsuccessful, you will not be refunded.
Be informed that some US Embassies may attach additional fees such as a visa issuance or reciprocity fee. After paying all the required fees, ensure you keep your proof of payments intact.
4. Pay the SEVIS I-901 fee
All foreign students in the US are required to register with SEVIS. The SEVIS I-901 registration fee for the M-1 visa is $200. You should also keep this receipt after making payment.
5. Schedule your interview
You are expected to schedule an interview with a US Consulate. Ensure you schedule your interview as early as possible to avoid any unnecessary delay. You will receive your interview appointment letter after scheduling your interview.
6. Compile your document file
Your documents are needed during your interview for verification. Make sure you compile them before your interview.
7. Go for your interview
Be punctual and properly dressed for your M-1 visa interview. You should expect questions about your financial status and how bound you’re to your home country. If you intend to bring dependents, such as a spouse or children, you will be required to prove your relationship with them.
How Long Does it Take To Process an M-1 Visa?
The processing time for an M-1 visa is relatively short. There are times when you’ll receive feedback immediately after your visa interview. However, on average, it might take up to 5 weeks to process an M-1 Visa.
If you have questions about the M-1 Visa, kindly write to us in the comments section below.