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M-1 : STUDENT

The M-1 visa is suitable for foreign students wishing to attend a full vocational or non-academic course, other than language training, at colleges, universities, or conservatories in the United States.  On M-1 student visa, a person can remain in the country for one year or for as long as he or she is enrolled as a full-time student in the course of study plus 30-days to prepare to leave the U.S. 

The M-1 visa holders are able to apply for change or adjust status to other categories of U.S. temporary visas.  But, they cannot change to H-1B visa or F-1 visa status if the employment offered is based on knowledge gained through studies while in M-1 status. 

Some of the benefits an M-1 visa holder inlcude, travel in and out of the U.S. in between their program; transfer from one college to another, work lawfully on-campus and off-campus with some limitations.  

Note: Once an M-1 holder is 6 months into a program of study, he/she is disallowed from changing his/her course of study, excluding under truly exceptional situation.  

Extension of stay  

After the completion of studies, the M-1 visa holder can apply for extension of stay if he/she wishes to pursue practical training.  In general, a person holding M-1 visa will be authorized to have one month of practical training for every four months of study he/she has finished.  The student will be limited to six months total training time. 

To extend your stay, you must submit completed Form I-539 (application to extend or change nonimmigrant status) to USCIS at least 15 days (but not more than 60) prior to your approved stay in the country ends.  At the same time, you are required to submit Form I-20I-D to the USCIS.