- M-1 visa
The M-1 visa is a type of student visa reserved for vocational and technical schools. To obtain an M-1 visa for traveling to the
United States, a student must present a signed Form I-20 at a United States embassyor consulatein his home country. The I-20 is issued by a designated school official, typically the international student adviser, after the student has fulfilled a school's admissions requirements and presented proof of financial resources.
M-1 students are admitted into the United States for a fixed time period. When they cross the border, their I-94 departure cards are stamped with a date, unlike students with an
F-1 visa. They may stay for the length of their training program plus any Optional Practical Training, plus a thirty-day grace period at the end of their training. Their stay may not exceed one year unless they are granted an extension for medical reasons. If a student violates his status by, for example, not maintaining a full course of study, he is not eligible for the grace period.
Students in M-1 status may not work on or off campus while studying, and they may not change their status to F-1.
Optional Practical Training
M-1 students are eligible for a relatively short amount of
Optional Practical Training: one month for every four months of study (as laid out in Title 8, Code of Federal Regulations). While an F-1 student can simply file an I-765 Application for Employment Authorization, an M-1 student must also file an I-539 to extend status. The applications are adjudicated at various USCIS service centers around the country, which sometimes have varying interpretations of the regulations. An application for OPT should include:
* cover letter explaining the student's situation
* Form I-765
* $100 filing fee made out to Department of Homeland Security
* signed I-20 with OPT request (copies are not accepted)
* copy of visa and passport photo page
* 2 passport photos
* copy of original I-20 and original financial documents
* current bank statement
* Form I-539
* copy of I-94 card, front and back
It is also advisable to include a copy of each application, since the I-765 and I-539 will be adjudicated separately at the service center. The result of an approved I-765 will be an OPT card (also known as an employment authorization document). The result of an approved I-539 will be a new I-94 departure card, which the student surrenders upon leaving the United States, to prove that he has left. A student may begin paid work upon receiving the OPT card (and applying for a
social security number) even if the I-94 card has not arrived.
If USCIS requires more information for either application, they will send a request for evidence. Occasionally these requests are for items that were sent in originally; nevertheless, it is best to send them in again immediately. Approvals or denials will arrive separately and after different amounts of time.
* [http://www.uscis.gov/propub/template.htm?view=document&doc_action=sethitdoc&doc_hit=1&doc_searchcontext=jump&s_context=jump&s_action=newSearch&s_method=applyFilter&s_fieldSearch=nxthomecollectionid|SLB&s_fieldSearch=foliodestination|8cfrsec2142m&s_type=all&hash=0-0-0-8979 8 CFR 214.2 (m)] : Link to Title 8, Code of Federal Regulations.
* [http://www.ice.gov/sevis/becoming_nonimmigrant_student_52007.htm ICE] : Becoming a nonimmigrant student in the United States
* [http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/types/types_1268.html State Department] : Student visa information
* [http://educationusa.state.gov/ educationUSA] : A guide to being a foreign student in the United States
* [http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/wait/tempvisitors_wait.php Visa wait times] : Visa wait times at consulates around the world
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