After an alien is admitted into the United States in M-1 status, it is important for him/her to maintain status, so that they do not jeopardize their studies and can legally remain in the United States while they work towards completing their course of study. U.S. Immigration Law outlines the various criteria that must be met in order for an alien to maintain his/her M-1/M-2 status, which will be outlined below.
A full-course of study in a vocational/business or other non-academic curriculum
In order to maintain status, an M-1 student must be enrolled in a full-course of study. Specifically for M-1 students, a full-course of study is defined as:
Online and Distance Education Courses
Generally, distance education or online courses do not count toward an M-1 student’s full course of study unless the course requires the student’s physical presence.
Reduction in a Student’s Course Load
In the case of an illness or medical condition that has been documented by a licensed medical doctor, a designated school official may authorize an M-1 student to reduce his/her course load for a period not to exceed 5 months. An M-1 student who was previously authorized for a reduction of study due to an illness or medical condition for an aggregate of 5 months, may not be authorized to reduce his/her course load on subsequent occasions during the course of study.
Maintaining Status while participating in Practical Training
Practical Training is an important opportunity for many M-1 students; however, it is important for the student to maintain M-1 status for the duration of the training. Through practical training, the student is eligible to work for a maximum of 6 months. In order to maintain status during practical training, the student is required to report each of the following within 10 days to the designated school official:
If the student fails to report this information, he/she will be considered in violation of their M-1 status and may jeopardize their legal status in the U.S.
Electronic Code of Federal Regulations: 8 CFR § 214.2(m)(9)
DOS Foreign Affairs Manual: 9 FAM 41.61 N9.1
(Updated 10/16/2012 by AD)
For more information about M-1 visas, please click on one of the following links: