M Visa

Are you a nonimmigrant full-time vocational student? Would you like to continue your vocational program in the United States?

If you responded “Yes” to both of the questions above, then the M visa is likely to be an excellent choice for you! The M visa is a nonimmigrant visa and is a part of the U.S. Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP). The M visa is meant for full-time, vocational students who wish to study in the U.S. and intend to return to their home country after the completion of their program. The M visa applicant’s proposed school must be on the list of approved vocational schools issued by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).


1) M-1: The M-1 visa category is the primary category for foreign vocational students entering the U.S. The M-1 visa is limited only to full-time study in the U.S., and the applicant must be working towards a particular degree or academic objective. Full-time study is usually defined as 12 or more academic credits per semester;

2) M-2: This visa is granted to spouses and unmarried children(under the age of 21)of the M-1 visa holder;

3) M-3: The M-3 visa is the alternative visa for Mexican and Canadian vocational students who live in Mexico or Canada and commute to study at a U.S. school. The school must not be more than 75 miles away from the U.S. land border. An M-3 visa holder lives abroad, and therefore, he or she can also be a part-time student. The part-time study usually means less than 12 academic credits per semester.


For both an M-1 and M-3 visa, a person has to show that he or she:

1) Has been accepted by an approved vocational school in the U.S.;

2) Has the financial resources to complete the course of study without working in the U.S.; and,

3) Has the intent to return a broad after the completion of the program.


In general, the process for obtaining an M visa is as follows:

1) The first step is for you to contact the approved vocational school, which you are interested in attending. Admission procedures vary among schools. For a list of approved schools, please visit the official ICE website or view the list of schools directly at http://www.ice.gov/doclib/sevi...

2) If an authorized vocational school accepts you, the school will issue you a certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (M-1), commonly known as an I-20 form. If you are located outside the U.S. when you receive your approved I-20 form, you can apply for the M visa at the American Consulate. If you are already in the U.S. upon receipt of your approved I-20 form, you may be eligible to apply for a change of status and become a nonimmigrant, M-1 student;

3) Once you receive the 1-20 form from the vocational school, you must pay the applicable U.S. visa fees associated with the M visa. Nonimmigrant visa application processing fees vary;

4) When you apply for an M-1 visa or, if applicable, a change of status (if you are in the U.S.), you will have to prove that you have sufficient assets and income to pay for school and all related costs for the entire course of study. You must also show that you have a residence abroad that you intend to return to upon completion of the program;

5) When you are admitted to the U.S. at the port of entry, the immigration inspector will send the relevant part of the I-20 to your approved school to notify them that you have been admitted. The immigration inspector will also provide you with additional.

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