M-1 Vocational Student Visa

M-1 Visa The M-1 visa (Vocational Student) category includes students in vocational or other nonacademic programs, other than language training. Cooking classes, technical courses, mechanical classes, flight school and cosmetology are considered vocational studies.

M-1 students are only admitted into the United States for the period of time that is needed to complete their course of study as indicated on their Form I-20, “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status,” plus any practical training (PT) after they complete their program. This time cannot exceed one year.

However, if an M-1 student needs more than one year to finish their program or any relevant PT, that student may work with their designated school official (DSO) to request an extension of stay (8 CFR 214.2(m)(10)).

The following rules apply for M-1 extensions of stay:

  • M-1 students may only request extensions in one year maximum increments at a time.
  • An M-1 student’s record is only eligible for an extension within a very specific time frame.
  • The cumulative time of extensions that can be granted to an M-1 student is limited to a period of three years from the M-1 student's original start date, plus 30 days.
  • This three-year maximum limit includes extensions granted due to school transfer or reinstatement to lawful status.

M-1 visa holders are not permitted to work during their studies. After their vocational studies are over, however, they are able to work full-time in a practical training setting. This means that they can work in a role related to their vocation, in order to gain training in your field, after they complete their studies.

For every 4 months of study, M students are permitted 1 month of practical training. There is a maximum of 6 months. To do this, the foreign national must apply for the Designated School Officer’s permission.