The M visa is a temporary visa that is used by students wishing to enter into the United States in order to participate in nonacademic or vocational studies. This is different from the F visa, which is used by foreign students that want to participate in academic or language programs.

Who Qualifies for the M Visa?

Students wishing to obtain an M Visa so that they can participate in a vocational program in the United States must:

  • Be accepted as a full-time student in a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services-approved vocational program
  • Be proficient in English
  • Have sufficient funds to support themselves during the program
  • Have a residence overseas that the student does not intend to give up

What Is the Duration of the M Visa?

The M visa allows the student to stay in the United States for the lesser of either one year or the duration of the program. If the program will take longer than designated on the visa, the student may apply to extend their stay. Once the program is complete, the student may remain in the United States for 30 days to prepare for departure or for six months of practical training.

May the Student Work?

The student is not allowed to work in the United States while using the M visa. However, they may have one month of practical training for every four months of study completed, with a maximum of six months of training permitted.

What about an M Student’s Spouse and Children?

If a student is approved for an M visa, the spouse or children of the M visa holder are permitted to apply for visas to accompany the student to the United States. The spouse and children may not seek employment.

Do I Need a Lawyer to Get an M Visa?

There are many different kinds of visas, each with its own rigid requirements. An experienced immigration attorney can help you determine which visa is best for you. An immigration lawyer can also help you change your visa status or extend your stay if needed.