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The M1 Visa: An International Student’s Guide

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Home to more than 4,500 degree-granting post-secondary institutions and over 20,000 private and public secondary schools, the U.S offers many opportunities for international students who wish to study abroad. Most prospective international students require one of three types of student visas to study legally in the U.S. The M1 visa is used most commonly by students seeking to study at the U.S, university or institution that results in a degree or diploma. Learn more about the M1 visa below to help you determine if it’s the right one for you.

What is an M1 Visa?

The M1 Visa is a credential issued to foreign nationals who wish to study at a post-secondary school, a private elementary school, or a high school in the U.S that grants degrees or certificates. A visa is necessary to apply for permission to legally enter the U.S to begin your studies.

The M1 Visa is a document that you present at a port of entry to gain permission to enter the U.S. It allows visa holders to attend classes and earn a degree, certificate, or diploma from an approved institution.

The purpose of the M1 Visa is to allow you to receive an education in the U.S and then return to your home country to apply the skills and knowledge you gained in employment there.

What is the difference between an M1 and J1 Visa?

The M1 student visa is for a degree, certificate, and diploma-granting post-secondary programs as well as private elementary and high school programs. To obtain one, you need to be admitted to an eligible program.

A J1 Visa is for students participating in cultural exchange programs. These may be sponsored by educational institutions, nonprofit organizations, and other companies.

What is the difference between an M1 and F1 student Visa?

The F1 Visa is a student visa for foreign nationals who wish to participate in vocational training in the U.S, while the M1 student visa is for degree, certificate, and diploma programs at universities or other accredited schools.

Normally, you can’t convert an F1 Visa to an M1 Visa. You normally need to return home and begin the process again to study in the U.S. under an M1 Visa.

Who is eligible for an M1 Visa?

The following guidelines apply to M1 visa eligibility. Learn more about each requirement below.

Previous acceptance to an SEVP-approved school

The M1 Visa program requires admission to a school approved by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program. Each institution has its own application process, which may involve submitting test scores and transcriptions, writing essays, and taking part in interviews.

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