M-1 Visas are intended for students who have been admitted into an authorized school to pursue a full nonacademic course of study, other than a language training program, particularly designated by him and approved by the Attorney General. The student must have a residence in a foreign country and seek to enter the United States temporarily. The M-1 differs from the F-1 in that the F-1 is reserved for those students who intend to pursue academic studies in the United States. The M-1 is either granted for a date certain for the period of study plus 30 days or for one year, whichever is less, and the student must apply for an extension annually. The M-1 student must be enrolled in the program full-time. An M-1 visa holder may generally change status, but is prohibited from changing to H status if the M-1's qualification for H status is based on credentials gained as an M-1. Further, an M-1 cannot change status to an F-1 status. M-1 students may not work except for post-completion practical training.
The dependent spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 of M-1 students may apply for an M-2 visa. If granted, the dependents may remain in the U.S. for the duration of the M-1's valid status, and must apply for extensions annually along with the M-1 holders. M-2 holders may not engage in employment or full-time post-secondary studies. However, an M-2 holder may change to F-1 status.