M-1 Visa & Status

The M-visa & status is for vocational students, and the requirements for this category are codified in INA §101(a)(15)(M), 8 U.S.C. §1101(a)(15)(M); 8 C.F.R. 214.2(m).
The M-visa & status is similar to F-1 except it is used at vocational/ nonacademic institutions. The following requirements must be met:
1. Full Course, which is defined in 8 C.F.R. §214.2(m)(9) as:

  • Study in community/junior college for 12 semester/quarter hours leading to a specific educational and/or vocational objective.
  • Study at a post-secondary vocational/business school, other than language training program which awards a degree or has its credits accepted by 3 accredited academic institutions. Twelve hours of instruction per week or its equivalent are required.
  • Study in vocational or other nonacademic curriculum, including a language training program taken at the school to further vocational training; 18 hours per week if predominantly classroom or 22 hours if predominantly shop/lab. Flight schools, cooking schools and other vocational schools are included. Under section 113 of the Aviation and Transportation Security Act of 2001 flight school trainers are now required to provide to the AG a noncitizen’s identification who wishes to be trained on an aircraft with a maximum certified takeoff weight of 12,500 pounds or more before so that the AG can assess the security risk prior to the training. 28 C.F.R. §105.10-.14
  • Study in vocational or other nonacademic high school curriculum for not less than minimum number of hours for normal progress toward a degree.
  • No Online Courses or Distant education are permitted.
  • Reduced Course Load is permitted, but only for a maximum aggregate of 5 months and only because of medical reasons.