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Alien Flight Training


M1 Visa for Vocational Flight Training

The M1 visa is a nonimmigrant visa for international students who wish to pursue an FAA pilot’s license at an approved flight (vocational) school.  Under an M1 Visa, you may enter the US as a fulltime vocational student.  You may freely travel in and out of the US while on a valid visa.  Your dependents may live with you as long as you maintain your M1 status.

To apply for the M1 Visa:

The first step is to obtain from the school or vocational institution the Form I-20M, entitled Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (M1) student status. Mid Island Flight School is authorized under Federal law to enroll nonimmigrant alien students.

Only an approved school may issue the I-20M form which is barcoded.  An M1 visa cannot be processed without the Form I-20M-N. Item 11 at the bottom of page one of the Form I-20M-N must be completed and signed by the applicant and submitted together with the following:

  • DOS Form DS-156, Nonimmigrant Visa Application
  • DOS Form DS-157, Supplemental Nonimmigrant Visa Application, for all male applicants between the ages of 16 and 45
  • A copy of your passport which is valid for at least six months beyond the period of stay in the U.S. and with at least one blank page
  • Two identical color photographs showing full face without head covering against a light background. You may wear a headdress if required by a religious order of which you are a member
  • Evidence demonstrating sufficient funds to cover all expenses including the tuition fee and living expenses. Such evidence may include detailed bank statements of accounts showing that adequate funds are available for transfer, evidence of scholarships and/or combination of finances which will meet the estimated total expenses, including tuition, of your proposed stay in the U.S.
  • Evidence demonstrating that you have a residence abroad to which you intend to return at the end of your stay in the U.S. This is generally established by evidence of family, professional, property, employment or other ties and commitments to some country other than the U.S. sufficient to cause the applicant to return there at the conclusion of your stay
  • Your academic qualifications - such evidence may include complete transcripts of grades and test records for the last four years of school and evidence of TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) scores


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Frequently Asked Questions:

How Can I Change My Nonimmigrant Status to Become a Student if I Am Already in the United States?

You first must apply to study at a SEVP-approved school in the United States who will send you Form I-20 (Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (M-1) Student Status - For Vocational Students). You must submit this form, a copy of your I-94 (Arrival-Departure Record), and a completed Form I-539 (Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status) to the USCIS. You must also prove that you have the financial resources required for your education and stay in the United States. For more information, please see How Do I Get Permission to Change to a New Nonimmigrant Status?

How Do I Apply for Permission to Transfer Schools As an M-1 Student?

To be eligible to transfer to another school, you must currently be a full-time student, and you must intend to be a full-time student at the new school. You must also prove that you have the financial resources required for your education and stay in the United States. In addition, you may only transfer to another school within the first six months from the date you were admitted to the United States to begin your studies or from the date you changed your nonimmigrant status to become an M-1 student. You are not allowed to change your educational objective. For conditions and process, see:

Can I Bring My Spouse and Children with Me to the United States?

Your spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age may come with you to the United States in M-2 nonimmigrant status. They should go with you to the U.S. embassy or consulate when you apply for your student (M-1) visa. They should be prepared to prove their relationship to you. If your spouse or children are following to join you at a later date, they should provide the U.S. embassy staff with a copy of your Form I-20 ID and proof of their relationship to you. The M-2 status of your family will be dependent upon your status as the M-1 vocational student. This means that if you change your status, your family must change their status as well. If you lose your status, your family will also lose their status.

How Long Can I Stay in the United States?

You are allowed to stay in the United States for one year or for as long as you are enrolled as a full-time student in a vocational program (plus thirty days to prepare to leave the country), whichever is shorter. You should be allowed to stay in the United States 30 days beyond the departure date on your Form I-94 (Arrival-Departure Record) and Form I-20 long as your stay does not exceed one year.

You may also apply to stay in the country after the completion of your studies to pursue practical training. If approved, you will be allowed to have one month of practical training for every four months of study you completed. You will be limited to six months total practical training time. Your designated school official (DSO) is able to assist you in the application process.

How Can I Extend My Stay as a Student in the United States?

You should apply to extend your stay in the United States if your studies will take longer than the date listed on your I-20 ID or your vocational program lasts longer than a year. You should complete Form I-539 (Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status) and send it to USCIS at least 15 (but not more than 60) days before your authorized stay in the country expires. You should also submit your Form I-20 ID to the USCIS at the same time.

Will I Be Able to Work?

You and your spouse and children may not accept employment. However, you may apply for practical training after you complete your studies. If approved, you will be allowed to have one month of practical training for every four months of study you have completed. You will be limited to six months total practical training time.

You must also submit Form I-765 (Application for Employment Authorization), and your I-20 ID, signed by the designated school official (DSO). You should send your application to USCIS no more than 60 days before your student status expires and no later than 30 days after your studies are completed. For more information, please see the rules about practical training at 8 CFR § 214.2(m). You may also wish to discuss practical training with the appropriate officials at your school.

Can I Travel Outside of the United States?

Students may leave the United States and be readmitted after temporary absences. When making your travel plans, please remember that you must be a full-time student to keep your M-1 student status. Upon your return to the United States, you should provide immigration inspectors with:

  • A valid passport.
  • A valid M-1 entry visa stamped in the passport (if necessary).
  • A current Form I-20 signed by your designated school official (you should have the designated school official sign your Form I-20 each time you wish to temporarily travel outside the United States).
  • A new Form I-20 if there have been any substantive changes in your course of study or place of study.
  • Proof of your financial support.

How Can I Get USCIS Forms?

Your should be able to pick up immigration-related forms from your designated school official (DSO). Only your designated school official (DSO) can give you a Form I-20 or you may print them at:  https://www.uscis.gov/forms   

Can Anyone Help Me?

Your school will have a designated school official (DSO) to help you with immigration issues. Please note that you (the M-1 student) are solely responsible for following U.S. immigration laws.

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