M-1 Student Visa USA

The M-1 Student Visa would be your choice for entering the United States to pursue a course of non-academic or vocational training. Your purpose would be to master a certain skill rather than obtain an academic degree, diploma or certificate. At the end of course, you may receive a certification of attendance and mastery.

M-1 Student Visa

How Hien Nguyen got her wish and became a pilot with a M-1 Student Visa

The discussion in Hien’s house was whether Hien should even bother with a college education. She was pretty and intelligent and her father, a highly orthodox Vietnamese man, had already received several offers of marriage. Hien’s mother, understanding that her daughter wanted an education, persuaded her husband to let Hien study further.

“Very well,” he said, “but she must study something suitable for a woman, like cooking so that she can be a chef in a hotel.” He suggested a cooking school in Hanoi.

Hien told her mother that she wanted to go to the United States. When her father learned this, he grew agitated. The US felt like another planet.

“Do they have a good Vietnamese cooking school there?” he demanded.

That’s when Hien dropped her bombshell. She wanted to go to a flying school and learn how to fly a plane.

A girl flying a plane? And in the USA? Her father was speechless. But Hien was as strong headed as he was stern, and eventually her father agreed. Hien had already identified a top-class flying school in Florida. She told her father the entire course would cost him only $35,000. Her mother added that he could pay the fees using the dowry money he had saved for her marriage.

And thus began Hien’s search for a visa to study flying in the United States. She needed, she was told, an M1 Student visa.

The M-1 Student Visa is a cousin of the F-1 Student Visa and many people confuse the two. Unlike the F1, however, the M-1 Student Visa is designed for people who want to undergo vocational or technical training and acquire a specific skill.  The F1 is specially designed for those wishing to follow an academic pathway leading to a degree, diploma or a certificate.

Between 9,000 and 10,000 M-1 Student Visas are issued every year on average. In 2019, for instance, 9,227 M1 visas were issued, though the number dropped to around 4,000 in 2020, perhaps because of the pandemic. There are currently 1,169,464 students in the USA on student visas, including M1.

Before she could apply for an M-1 Student Visa, Hien had to be accepted by the flying school in Florida. With her excellent school grades as well as her athletic record, she was readily accepted by the flying school. It might have helped a little that the school’s manager was a Vietnam war veteran.

The flying school sent Hien Form I-20, also known as the Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status. With that in hand, she was all set to apply for her M1 visa.

You can get more information on the M-1 Student Visa from the detailed, user-friendly visa guides you get when you buy one of our Visa Plans.

If you have questions or would like clarifications, please send us an email and we’ll do our best to get back to you within 24 hours with an answer.