M1 Visa: How To Apply, Eligibility And Benefits

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M1 Visa
M1 Visa

M1 Visa: The M1 Visa is a non-academic visa for students pursuing vocational courses. There are two categories of Visas for International students who want to pursue higher studies at Universities in the USA – M and F visas. Any international student who wishes to study or enter the United States must have a valid Visa approved by their native government authorities. 


Students carrying an M1 visa must carry certain other documents including financial support evidence to cover their academic expenses and cost of living, ID card, etc. This article will provide you will all the information about the M1 visa.

Visa NameM1 Visa
CountryUnited States of America
Visa Fee$160 (INR 13,117)

What is M1 Visa?

The M1 Visa is issued by the American Government to international students who wish to apply for any vocational course or any non-academic studies. There are various vocational courses offered by institutions in the USA including Aviation or Flight School, Professional Makeup Courses, Cooking or Gastronomy Lectures, Cosmetology, and others.

The M1 visa is one of the non-immigrant visas for which eligible candidates can apply. Candidates who want to apply for the M1 visa must know that this visa cannot be used as a replacement for any other academic purposes, like a degree course from any other institution. Students with a valid M1 visa can temporarily stay in the USA for a period of 1 year only.

Also Read: USA Student Visa

M1 Visa: How To Apply

Students who wish to apply for an M1 Visa must know that their various factors which will play a major role in their application process. Institutions in the USA have different admission procedures. The institution to which you are applying will inform you about all the necessary documents you must have to become eligible for admission. You must show the institution or university proof of financial support to cover your academic expenses and cost of living. You must also have health insurance to cover your medical expenses. 

After receiving your offer letter from the university, apply for a student visa. For an American Visa, you need to apply at the US Consulate or Embassy with jurisdiction over your place of native residence. Students are advised to apply for an M1 visa at their permanent residence’s Consulate or Embassy. 

The M1 Visa application process involves the following steps.

  • Submit all the forms
  • Pay the visa application fee
  • Pay the SEVIS I-901 fee
  • Schedule an Interview
  • Compile all the documents
  • M1 Visa cost

All these steps have been mentioned in detail below.

Submit all the forms

The first step in the M1 Visa application process is to fill out the DS-160 form. In this form, you have to write about your educational and family background, the purpose for studying in the USA and the course-related information. After this form is submitted successfully, a confirmation code will be issued for your visa interview and document submission.

Pay the visa application fee

After submitting the application form, candidates have to pay the M2 visa fee, which is $160 (INR 13,117). The mode of payment is online through a debit card/ credit card/ internet banking. Candidates must know that the visa fee is not refundable. Certain additional fees may be applicable, depending on the consulate or embassy from where you are applying.

Pay the SEVIS I-901 fee

The next step in the M1 Visa application process is the payment of the SEVIS I-901 fee. SEVIS stands for Student and Exchange Visitor System. The SEVIS I-901 fee is introduced by the American Congress (House of Commons), which supports the candidate’s course. This fee will ensure that the students shall maintain their status while they are on American soil. The SEVIS I-901 fee is $350 (INR 28,700).

Schedule an interview

The next step in the M1 visa application process is scheduling a visa interview. Candidates are advised to schedule their visa interview in their home country at the US Embassy. Try to book your US visa interview in advance to avoid any issues with the slot. The US Consulate will issue an appointment letter after they have successfully scheduled their interview.

There is a certain age limit for visa interview appointments. Check the table below to know the age limit criteria for visa interview appointments.

Age CategoryInterview Appointment
Below 13 yearsNot Required
14 to 79 years age groupMandatory
More than 80 years oldGenerally not required

Compile all the documents

During the Visa interview process, candidates have to compile all the required documents in the required format. Candidates must compile all their documents and certificates to support their study visa application. Here is a list of all the necessary documents which you have to compile for your visa interview.

  • A Valid Passport
  • Non-Immigrant Visa Application (Form DS-160) confirmation
  • Visa application fee receipt
  • Candidate’s latest passport-size photograph
  • An eligibility certificate or Non-Immigrant (M-1) Student Visa
  • Original interview appointment letter

Also readStudy in USA for Indian Students

M1 Visa: Eligibility Criteria

Before applying for the M1 Visa, there are certain conditions that you must fulfil to avoid any issues with your application process. The M1 visa eligibility criteria are discussed below.

  • Candidates must have an offer letter from a US Institution or University certified by the SEVP (Student and Exchange Visitor Program).
  • The institution will then provide you with an I-20 form, from which you can apply for a visa.
  • For a non-immigrant visa in the USA, like the M1 Visa, candidates belonging to other nations must have permanent foreign residence.
  • Candidates must have proof of their intention to go back to their home country.
  • Candidates must have proof to support their financial stability while they are in the USA.
  • You must have obtained the required score in an English proficiency test (IELTS/ TOEFL).

M1 Visa Benefits

Having an M1 visa will provide you with lots of opportunities and benefits which will depend on the circumstances and the vocational program you want to pursue. Here are all the benefits which you can enjoy with an M1 visa:

  • With an M1 visa, you can pursue a vocational or technical course for a duration of 1 year in the USA.
  • Although the duration of the M1 visa is 12 months, you can stay in the USA for up to 3 months extra, depending on the course and circumstances.
  • With an M1 visa, you will have the opportunity to travel in and around the USA, while you are pursuing your course.
  • You can upgrade your visa status to a different category or can also become eligible for permanent residency (green card) if you fulfil all the requirements.

Difference Between M1 and F1 Visa

F1 visas are used by non-immigrant students for academic and language training courses; they differ from M1 visas in this regard. However, the M1 visa can only be utilized to enrol in non-academic or vocational programs.

After finishing the community vocational program, holders with F1 visas have the option of transferring to a university. An applicant with an M-1 visa, however, is only permitted to enrol in a vocational program for a year before leaving for their place of origin. M1 visa holders are unable to continue their education at the university level.

The approximate cost of the M1 visa is $160 (about Rs 12,000), and it is non-refundable. Depending on the embassy, there can be extra fees. The approximate cost of an F-1 student visa is $510 (about Rs 38,000). Additionally, applicants can be required to pay SEVIS maintenance and processing fees. For the visa interview, they must also save the I-901 SEVIS fee receipt.


What is the M1 visa?

The M1 Visa is a non-academic visa for students pursuing vocational courses in the USA. Candidates with an M1 Visa can pursue a higher education course from any institution in the USA.

How much IELTS score is required for the M1 visa?

The M1 visa application form requires candidates to score at least 6.0 To 7.0 score in the IELTS exam.

How much is the M1 visa application fee?

The application fee for the M1 visa is $160 (INR 13,200). Candidates must know that the visa application fee is non-refundable. If their application form is rejected due to some reason, then the application fee is to be paid again.

What is the duration of the M1 visa?

Candidates with an M1 visa can stay for a period of 12 months in the USA. However, this tenure can be extended up to a period of 30 days, depending on the full-time vocational course you are pursuing.

The M1 Visa is one of the student visas for students who want to pursue their higher studies at institutions or universities in the USA. In recent years, a lot of Indian and other international students have received their M1 and F1 visas, which allows them to study in the USA. 

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