California M-1 Visa Lawyer

A group of businessmen walking left to right in front of the New York City skyline in the background.Studying in the United States can be a dream come true with the M-1 visa program. The M-1 student visa allows foreigners to attend non-university educational programs, including vocational programs and other forms of trade instruction or non-academic certification.

While still considered a student visa, like the F-1 visa program, the M-1 visa status allows students to study in the United States for short-term, non-degree-earning educational programs. An M-1 program is ideal for those seeking vocational and professional courses that do not accrue credit toward an academic degree in the United States.

Singh Ahluwalia Attorneys at Law has helped many international students obtain M-1 visas. Our California student visa lawyers have years of combined experience assisting students in making their educational goals a reality.

We will provide a confidential and no-obligation case review to discuss the strategies for obtaining your M-1 student visa. Call (559) 878-4958 or Contact us online to schedule your appointment today.

How Can a California M-1 Visa Attorney Help?

International students use two major visa programs when they plan to study in the United States: the F-1 and the M-1 visa. The difference between the two visas is that the M classification is meant for students entering vocational programs, while the F-1 status grants students access to any academic program, from private elementary school to graduate and post-graduate studies at a university in the United States.

Prospective M-1 visa students should know that an M-1 visa program does not allow students to earn credits toward any academic degree program and may also not be applied to certain academic certifications.

Working with a California M-1 visa attorney helps guide students through the process of obtaining their visas. Our attorneys can be at your side during your entire journey, answering any questions and gathering needed information that will be attached to your application.

Working with an attorney can also help determine whether an M-1 visa is the right program for the applicant’s educational goals. Students who want to attend university after their vocational or language program may want to apply for an F-1 visa instead. F-1 visas allow students to pursue higher-level degrees in the U.S., which require more time to complete and are impossible to obtain with an M-1 status.

Call (559) 878-4958 or Contact us online to speak with one of our experienced immigration lawyers today

Who Is Eligible for an M-1 Student Visa?

Like those covered under the F-1 student visa program, students who apply for an M-1 visa come to the States as non-immigrant international students to complete courses in a vocational program or similar. To be eligible, the applicant must complete the following steps.

Receive Acceptance to a SEVP-Approved School

Students must first submit and be accepted into a SEVP-approved school. SEVP stands for Student and Exchange Visitor Information System.

Register for SEVIS

Students accepted by a SEVP school must ensure they are registered for the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System, also known as SEVIS.

Determine and Register Any Family Coming to the U.S. With the Applicant

If the student is accompanied by their spouse or unmarried children under 21 during their visa term, they must be registered for SEVIS and respectively apply and be approved for an M-2 visa. This visa status allows children to attend school (up to high school) and the spouse to pursue certain vocational programs. However, neither M-2 visa holder can apply for or enter university without an F-1 visa.

Applying for an M-1 Visa

Many applicants choose to work with M-1 visa lawyers before beginning their application because of the complexity of its requirements. Prospective students must gather information to meet all their application needs as directed by the Department of State.

Below are the key steps towards securing an M-1 visa once approved for a SEVP-compliant program.

Contact Your Local U.S. Embassy

Prospective applicants should gather the contact information for their local U.S. consulate. This would be the likely location where an applicant would attend their interview.

Submit an Application Online

Whether applying for an M-1 visa, prospective students can begin their application by submitting Form DS-160. This form is the online application students must complete for a student visa and will be provided at their interview.

Submit a Photo

Prospective students are asked to provide a digital photo of themselves that meets the requirements as part of their visa application. However, depending on the country, some embassies may also require a physical photograph.

Prospective students are asked to contact local embassies to confirm whether they require a physical image or will accept a digital version.

Scheduling an Interview With Your Local Embassy or Consulate

Part of the process to complete your application is to visit your local U.S. embassy after scheduling an interview. However, applicants may need more time to schedule an appointment depending on where they live, as interview spots can fill quickly.

The Department of State recommends that prospective students begin their M-1 visa applications early to schedule an appointment with a reasonable wait time. Wait times can be prolonged depending on the applicant’s native country, season, or visa category. It is recommended that students use the online tool to determine wait times before applying.

Gathering Required Documentation Before the Interview

Prospective students will need to have the following documents in hand before their visa interview:

  • Valid passport for travel to the United States — The applicant’s passport must have been issued and remained valid for no less than six months before applying for an M-1 visa. It must also remain valid during their expected time in the United States.
  • A copy of the nonimmigrant visa application, Form DS-160, confirmation page after submission
  • Proof of payment of any applicable fees
  • Photo of Applicant — Will be uploaded in the online application process but may also be required during the interview. Applicants are encouraged to contact and confirm with their local U.S. embassy whether a physical copy of the photo is needed.
  • Additional Documents — The consulate or embassy may request copies of transcripts, diplomas, test scores, degrees, or certificates.
  • Declare an intention to return to their native country — Some offices may request that applicants declare an intent to return to their native country upon completing their visa.
  • Declaring financial ability to live in the States — Applicants may be asked to declare how they will pay for all educational and living expenses.
  • If the applicant is coming to the U.S. with their spouse or children (unmarried and under 21), they must have a visa and Form I-20.

When a Tourist B Visa Might Be Appropriate

Those seeking to complete a short-term program for recreational studies could consider a B nonimmigrant tourist visa. The selected program must not grant credit hours toward a degree program and must be short.

Speaking with a California M-1 visa lawyer at Singh Ahluwalia Attorneys at Law can help determine which visa program fits your educational goals best.

Visa Waiver Qualified Countries

Applicants from specific countries can qualify for a visa waiver to enter the United States without applying for a tourist visa. However, a Visa Waiver does not apply to those wanting to study in most vocational, language courses, or university programs.

These prospective students likely need to seek entry to the United States through student visa programs like the M-1.

Given their unique circumstances, international students should speak with an M-1 visa lawyer to determine which visa program works best for them and how to go through the process.

Ready to Become an International Student? Let a California M-1 Visa Attorney Help You

Even if for a short while, coming to the United States to learn in one of our many education programs can open the door to new learning opportunities. Whether coming to acquire a new skill through a vocational program or master an existing trade through professional certification, you can be assured that Singh Ahluwalia Attorneys at Law will guide you through every step.

Call (559) 878-4958 or Contact us online today for a no-obligation consultation over the phone or in person at our local office. Our immigration lawyers have years of combined experience in helping international student applicants go through the process of attaining an M-1 student visa.