M-1 Visa Requirements


M-1 Visa Requirements and Restrictions

An M-1 visa is appropriate for individuals who are certain about their career/professional training objectives and their ability to complete them within three years.

Before considering applying for admission to JCCC with the intention of being issued an I-20 to apply for an M-1 visa, it is essential that you understand the M-1 visa.

  1. Three-year Maximum - The M-1 visa is limited to a maximum of three years presence in the U.S. for study.
  2. No Extension beyond 3 years - An M-1 visa cannot be extended beyond three years.
    • Certificate not Completed - If the student is not able to complete the full degree within the maximum period allowed by the M-1 visa, as extensions and changes of status from the U.S. are not allowed, she/he would be required to return to her/his home country to apply for the appropriate visa to re-enter the U.S. to continue her/his studies to complete the degree. 
  3. Change of Status not Allowed - Those on an M-1 visa cannot apply to change their visa status to another status such as F-1 or another visa type from within the U.S.
  4. Optional Practical Training (OPT) - M-1 has a six month maximum limitation on optional practical training.
    • OPT may only be used following the completion of a career/professional training or certificate program.
    • A M-1 may not utilize OPT prior to certificate/program completion.
  5. Employment  Eligibility - M-1 visa holders are not eligible for employment in the U.S., even on campus.
  6. Curricular Practical Training - M-1 visa holders are not eligible for curricular practical training.

Eligible M-1 Programs

JCCC offers more than 50 programs eligible for an M-1 visa. Here are some examples. Please contact the International and Immigrant Student Services Office to determine if you program of interest is eligible.

  • Biotechnology Certificate
  • Practical Nursing Certificate (LPN)
  • Nail Technology Certificate
  • Microcomputer Programmer Analyst Certificate 
  • Mobile Intensive Care Technician Certificate
  • Emergency Medical Technician Certificate

Additional Applications

Even though JCCC admits all applicants to the college, some programs such as cosmetology require an additional application and admit only a limited number of applicants each semester. If you are admitted to JCCC but is not accepted into the program of your choice, an I-20 for an M-1 visa will not be issued until you are accepted for admission into the program in which you intend to study.

M-1 Compared to F-1

You may assume that you would be more likely to be approved for an M-1 visa due to its three-year limitation. However, what is of more significance is whether or not the visa type is appropriate for the type of study the applicant intends to pursue.

You should finalize your plans before entering the US and beginning study on an M-1 visa, given the M-1 visa’s strict limitations. You should wait until you have whether to complete a degree program or career/professional program, before leaving your country.