Obtaining an "M-1 Student Visa" in Las Vegas, Nevada


If a foreigner wants to come to Nevada for vocational or technical school, he/she needs to obtain a non-immigrant student visa called an M-1 visa. The requirements are (1) getting accepted to a vocational school in Nevada, (2) applying for a M-1 student visa using a DS-160 form, and (3) going to one's local U.S. embassy or consulate for a visa interview.

If granted, the M-1 visa permits the foreign student to live in Nevada while completing a vocational course of study, but not to engage in any type of employment.

Click below on a frequently-asked-question about M-1 student visas in Nevada to go directly to that topic:

(For information on academic student visas, go to our article on F-1 academic student visas to study in Nevada. Also see our article on J-1 exchange program visas in Nevada.)

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There is no limit to the amount of vocational student M-1 visas the U.S. can grant to international students.

1. What Nevada schools accept M-1 visa holders?

Many of Nevada's junior colleges, community colleges, and career institutes are open to M-1 students under the federal SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Program) program:

1.1 Las Vegas M-1 schools for international students

The following are some of the Las Vegas schools that welcome M-1 visa students:

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Common courses of study for M-1 students in Las Vegas include computer science, medical assistance, casino dealing, and hospitality.

1.2 Reno M-1 schools for international students

The following are some of the Reno schools that welcome M-1 visa students:

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For a full list of Nevada SEVIS schools, click here.

2. what are the requirements for an M-1 student visa?

Prospective M-1 visa holders must have the following qualifications:

  1. Residency in a foreign nation: The applicant's home country cannot be the United States
  2. Acceptance to an approved school: A prerequisite for an M-1 visa is acceptance to a U.S. school that has already been pre-approved by by ICE's Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP). (Some of these Nevada institutions are listed above.)
  3. Sufficient money: Applicants have to show that they have access to sufficient funds to pay for their tuition, room, board, and other living expenses because M-1 visa holders may not work.
  4. Ties to the applicant's home country: Applicants can evince ties to their home countries by having family, bank accounts, assets, and a job waiting in the home country after the M-1 visa expires.
  5. Plans to return to the home after school ends: During the visa interview, the applicant must show he/she intends to go home to the home country and not stay in the U.S. permanently.

There is no limit on the number of students who can be granted M-1 visas in any one year.

3. What is the process to get an M-1 student visa?

In order to be eligible for an M-1 visa, the foreigner first has to apply to and be accepted by the vocational school of the foreigner's choice. Then the foreigner has to show the school that he/she maintains his/her own health insurance, and that the foreigner has enough money to support him/herself as a full-time student.

At that point, the prospective school will provide the foreigner with an I-20 form, which is a certificate of eligibility that allows the foreigner to formally apply for an M-1 visa from the U.S. government. The formal M-1 visa application is the DS-160 form. When attending the visa interview, applicants will also need to produce supporting documentation including:

  • a passport from his/her home country
  • a travel itinerary, if plans have already been made
  • dates of the last five times the applicant traveled to the U.S.
  • a résumé

M-1 visa students are expected to take a full course load and earn the diploma, associates degree, or certificate relevant to their area of study.

4. Can I work while on an M-1 student visa?

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M-1 visa holders may not work while studying.

M-1 visa holders are not allowed to work while studying on an M-1 visa in the United States. In some narrow situations, M-1 visa holders may be able to participate in an Optional Practical Training (OPT) program following the completion of their vocational program. Students should confer with their school's International Office to discuss their employment options.

Note that M-1 visa students may not change their status to F-1 visa students.

5. Can I transfer schools on an M-1 Visa?

Yes, as long as the transfer occurs within six (6) months of the M-1 student's arrival in the U.S. (or if the student switched to M-1 status from another non-immigrant class within the last six months). The M-1 students must continue to sustain a full course load, remain financially solvent, and maintain the same educational objectives as before.

6. Can I study on a visitor (B-1/B-2) visa?

No, not unless the program is short, recreational, and is not part of a degree program. Read further in our article about Nevada B-1/B-2 visas.

7. How soon do I have to leave on an M-1 visa after school finishes?

M-1 visa students may stay in the U.S. for thirty (30) days following their training. But if the student had broken the terms of his/her M-1 status (such as by not having a full course schedule), the student no longer has the thirty-day grace period and must return to his/her home country immediately.

Note that M-1 visas are not a path to U.S. citizenship. Students who wish to explore permanent residency should see an immigration lawyer to explore his/her options. 

8. What if I am arrested while on an M-1 visa in Nevada?

M-1 visa students charged with a crime may be jailed at Las Vegas Immigration Jail and vulnerable to deportation as well as disqualification from future vocational training opportunities in the U.S. Therefore it is vital that M-1 students retain experienced lawyers to defend them against prosecution and safeguard their vocational studies prospects. Read further about the criminal defense of immigrants in Nevada.

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Call 702-333-3673 for a Nevada immigration law attorney.

Need a Nevada immigration attorney? Phone us...

The visa process can be very confusing, and one mistake can jeopardize admission to the U.S. If you or a family member or loved one is seeking to train in Nevada on a vocational student M-1 visa, phone our experienced Las Vegas Nevada immigration law attorneys at 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673) for help.

Go to our Nevada visa lawyers main page. Also see our article on M-1 visas in California.

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