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M-1 Visa

M-1 Visa | Vocational Students

Serving San Antonio, Austin and McAllen, Texas

What is an M-1 Visa?

An M-1 “vocational student” visa is a non-immigrant entry document that permits foreign nationals to study at a “non-academic” school within the United States. Non-academic institutions may include technical colleges, community colleges and trade schools. Some apprenticeship programs may also be acceptable. U.S. Customs and Immigration Services maintains a comprehensive list of all of the American institutions that may accept M-1 visa holders. Like the F-1 visa, this type of visa permits its holders to bring their qualifying spouses and dependent children to the United States under the auspices of the temporary M-2 visa program.


The M-1 visa has several important benefits. Like the F-1 visa, it enables vocational students to remain in the country until the termination of their training or program of study. It also permits these students to enter and exit the country at will during that time. Under certain conditions, the M-1 visa even allows its holders to transfer between approved non-academic educational institutions. Once his or her program of study has terminated, an M-1 visa holder may remain in the U.S. for six months by enrolling in a job-related training program. Finally, non-academic foreign students may seek part-time employment in their areas of expertise. To get a clearer understanding of this visa’s benefits, talk to an M-1 visa attorney at the Gutierrez Law Firm.


Individuals who wish to obtain M-1 visas must meet several qualifications. These include:

  • Demonstrated proficiency in written and spoken English
  • Demonstrated desire to leave the U.S. after graduation
  • Enrollment in a full-time program of study at an approved institution
  • Certification of independent source of income, funding or financial support

All M-1 visa applicants must adhere to a multi-step application process and be prepared to wait several months for approval. The final steps of the process must be completed in person at a U.S. consular office. Get in touch with a M-1 visa lawyer to review the requirements for this type of credential.


The M-1 visa program has certain drawbacks. First, visa holders who graduate successfully from their programs of study may not apply for H-1B work visa status. Instead, these individuals must return to their home countries and reapply for entry. Also, M-1 visa holders’ spouses and dependent children may not work in the United States under any circumstances.

How We Can Help

With nearly a quarter-century of hard-won experience, the hard-working M-1 visa lawyers at the Gutierrez Law Firm are committed to fighting for the rights of each of our clients. We believe that every foreign-national student should have the ability to pursue his or her studies in the United States. Accordingly, we stand ready to assist our student clients with every aspect of the M-1 application process and ensure that their visas are issued in a smooth, expedited manner.

Get in touch with a M-1 visa attorney at 210.225.7114 to get additional information about the “vocational student” visa services we provide.

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