“M” visa designators are for non-academic or vocational studies. M-1 visa holders are not permitted to work during the course of their studies. Furthermore, M-1 visa applicants must be able to demonstrate that sufficient funds exist to pay for their stay before they apply for the visa.
The program you apply for must contain “a full course of study”. A full course of study means taking classes in a community or junior college, with at least 12 semester or quarter hours. You must be considered a full-time student. The only exception is where you need a smaller course-load to complete your course of study.
It can also mean study at a post secondary vocational or business school which grants Associate or other degrees. Alternatively, if a school can demonstrate that its credits are, or have been, accepted unconditionally by at least 3 institutions of higher learning it can qualify. There are other exceptions, but they are difficult to qualify for.
If you would like to have an attorney advise you about applying for an M-1 visa, please contact our experienced immigration lawyers.