M Visa Law

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8 CFR Sec. 214.2(m) Students in established vocational or other recognized nonacademic institutions, other than in language training programs

(1) Admission of student
(i) Eligibility for admission . A nonimmigrant student may be admitted into the United States in nonimmigrant status under section 101(a)(15)(M) of the Act, if: (Paragraph (m)(1)(i) revised effective 1/1/03; 67 FR 76256 )  
(A) The student presents a SEVIS Form I-20 issued in his or her own name by a school approved by the Service for attendance by M-1 foreign students. (In the alternative, for a student seeking admission prior to August 1, 2003, the student may present a currently-valid Form I-20M-N/I-20ID, if that form was issued by the school prior to January 30, 2003);  
(B) The student has documentary evidence of financial support in the amount indicated on the SEVIS Form I-20 (or the Form I-20M-N/I-20ID); and  
(C) For students seeking initial admission only, the student intends to attend the school specified in the student's visa (or, where the student is exempt from the requirement for a visa, the school indicated on the SEVIS Form I-20 (or the Form I-20M-N/I-20ID)).  
(ii) Disposition of Form I - 20M - N . When a student is admitted to the United States, the inspecting officer shall forward Form I - 20M - N to the Service's processing center. The processing center shall forward Form I - 20N to the school which issued the form to notify the school of the student's admission.  
(iii) Use of SEVIS . On January 30, 2003, the use of the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) will become mandatory for the issuance of any new Form I-20. A student or dependent who presents a non-SEVIS Form I-20 issued on or after January 30, 2003, will not be accepted for admission to the United States. Non-SEVIS Forms I-20 issued prior to January 30, 2003, will continue to be accepted for admission to the United States until August 1, 2003. However, schools must issue a SEVIS Form I-20 to any current stu dent requiring a reportable action (e.g., extension of status, practical training, and requests for employment authorization) or a new Form I-20, or for any aliens who must obtain a new nonimmigrant student visa. As of August 1, 2003, the records of all current or continuing students must be entered in SEVIS. (Added effective 1/1/03; 67 FR 76256 )  
 

(2) Form I - 20 ID copy 
The first time an M - 1 student comes into contact with the Service for any reason, the student must present to the Service a Form I - 20M - N properly and completely filled out by the student and by the designated official of the school the student is attending or intends to attend. The student will be issued a Form I - 20 ID copy with his or her admission number. The student must have the Form I - 20 ID copy with him or her at all times. If the student loses the Form I - 20 ID copy, the student must req uest a new Form I - 20 ID copy on Form I - 102 from the Service office having jurisdiction over the school the student was last authorized to attend.  
 

(3) Admission of the spouse and minor children of an M-1 student 
The spouse and minor children accompanying an M-1 student are eligible for admission in M-2 status if the student is admitted in M-1 status. The spouse and minor children following-to-join an M-1 student are eligible for admission to the United States in M-2 status if they are able to demonstrate that the M-1 student has been admitted and is, or will be within 30 days, enrolled in a full course of study, or engaged in approved practical training following completion of studies. In either case, at the time they seek admission, the eligible spouse and minor children of an M-1 student with a SEVIS Form I-20 must individually present an original SEVIS Form I-20 issued in the name of each M-2 dependent issued by a school authorized by the Service for attendance by M-1 foreign students. Prior to August 1, 2003, if exigent circumstances are demonstrated, the Service will allow the dependent of an M-1 student in possession of a SEVIS Form I-20 to enter the United States using a copy of the M-1 student's SEVIS Form I-20. (In the alternative, for dependents seeking admission to the United States prior to August 1, 2003, a copy of the M-1 student's current Form I-20ID issued prior to January 30, 2003, with proper endorsement by the DSO will satisfy this requirement.) A new SEVIS Form I-20 (or Form I-20M-N) is required for a dependent where there has been any substantive change in the M-1 student's current information. (Paragraph heading and introductory text revised effective 1/1/03; 67 FR 76256 )  
(i) A properly endorsed page 4 of Form I - 20M - N if there has been no substantive change in the information on the student's most recent Form I - 20M since the form was initially issued; or  
(ii) A new Form I - 20M - N if there has been any substantive change in the information on the student's most recent Form I - 20M since the form was initially issued.  
 

(4) Temporary absence
(i) General. An M - 1 student returning to the United States from a temporary absence to attend the school which the student was previously authorized to attend must present either --  
(A) A properly endorsed page 4 of Form I - 20M - N if there has been no substantive change in the information on the student's most recent Form I - 20M since the form was initially issued; or  
(B) A new Form I - 20M - N if there has been any substantive change in the information on the student's most recent Form I - 20M since the form was initially issued.  
(ii) Student who transferred between schools. If an M - 1 student has been authorized to transfer between schools and is returning to the United States from a temporary absence in order to attend the school to which transfer was authorized as indicated on the student's Form I - 20 ID copy, the name of the school to which the student is destined does not need to be specified in the student's visa.  
 

(5) Period of stay .
A student in M nonimmigrant status is admitted for a fixed time period, which is the period necessary to complete the course of study indicated on the Form I-20, plus practical training following completion of the course of study, plus an additional 30 days to depart the United States, but not to exceed a total period of one year. An M-1 student may be admitted for a period up to 30 days before the report date or start date of the course of study listed on the Form I-20. An M-1 student who fails to mainta in a full course of study or otherwise fails to maintain status is not eligible for the additional 30-day period of stay. (Revised effective 1/1/03; 67 FR 76256 )  
 

(6) [Reserved] (Removed and reserved effective 1/1/03; 67 FR 76256 )  
 

(7) [Reserved] (Removed and reserved effective 1/1/03; 67 FR 76256 )  
 

(8) [Reserved] (Removed and reserved effective 1/1/03; 67 FR 76256 )  
 

(9) Full course of study
Successful completion of the course of study must lead to the attainment of a specific educational or vocational objective. A "full course of study" as required by section 101(a)(15)(M)(i) of the Act means --  
(i) Study at a community college or junior college, certified by a school official to consist of at least twelve semester or quarter hours of instruction per academic term in those institutions using standard semester, trimester, or quarter-hour systems, where all students enrolled for a minimum of twelve semester or quarter hours are charged full-time tuition or considered full-time for other administrative purposes, or its equivalent (as determined by the district director) except when the student needs a lesser course load to complete the course of study during the current term;  
(ii) Study at a postsecondary vocational or business school, other than in a language training program except as provided in § 214.3(a)(2)(iv) , which confers upon its graduates recognized associate or other degrees or has established that its credits have been and are accepted unconditionally by at least three institutions of higher learning which are either: (1) A school (or school system) owned and operated as a public educational institution by the United States or a State or political subdivision thereof; or (2) a school accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting body; and which has been certified by a designated school official to con sist of at least twelve hours of instruction a week, or its equivalent as determined by the district director; (Revised 10/29/93; 58 FR 58097)  
(iii) Study in a vocational or other nonacademic curriculum, other than in a language training program except as provided in Sec. 214.3(a)(2)(iv), certified by a designated school official to consist of at least eighteen clock hours of attendance a week if the dominant part of the course of study consists of classroom instruction, or at least twenty-two clock hours a week if the dominant part of the course of study consists of shop or laboratory work; or  
(iv) Study in a vocational or other nonacademic high school curriculum, certified by a designated school official to consist of class attendance for not less than the minimum number of hours a week prescribed by the school for normal progress towards graduation.  
(v) On-line courses/distance education programs . No on-line or distance education classes may be considered to count toward an M-1 student's full course of study requirement if such classes do not require the student's physical attendance for classes, examination or other purposes integral to completion of the class. An on-line or distance education course is a course that is offered principally through the use of television, audio, or computer transmission including open broadcast, closed circuit, cable, microwave, or satellite, audio conferencing, or computer conferencing. (Added effective 1/1/03; 67 FR 76256 )  
(vi) Reduced course load . The designated school official may authorize an M-1 student to engage in less than a full course of study only where the student has been compelled by illness or a medical condition that has been documented by a licensed medical doctor, doctor of osteopathy, or licensed clinical psychologist, to interrupt or reduce his or her course of study. A DSO may not authorize a reduced course load for more than an aggregate of 5 months per course of study. An M-1 student previously authorized to drop below a full c ourse of study due to illness or medical condition for an aggregate of 5 months, may not be authorized by the DSO to reduce his or her course load on subsequent occasions during his or her particular course of study. (Paragraph (m)(9)(vi) added effective 1/1/03; 67 FR 76256 )  

(A) Non-SEVIS schools . A DSO must report any student who has been authorized by the DSO to carry a reduced course load. Within 21 days of the authorization, the DSO must send a photocopy of the student's Form I-20 to the Service's data processing center indicating the date that authorization was granted. The DSO must also report to the Service's data processing center when the student has resumed a full course of study, no more than 21 days from the date the student resumed a full course of study. In this case, the DSO must sub mit a photocopy of the student's Form I-20 indicating the date that a full course of study was resumed, with a new program end date.  

(B) SEVIS reporting . In order for a student to be authorized to drop below a full course of study, the DSO must update SEVIS prior to the student reducing his or her course load. The DSO must update SEVIS with the date, reason for authorization, and the start date of the next term or session. The DSO must also notify SEVIS within 21 days of the student's commencement of a full course of study.  
 

(10) Extension of stay  (Paragraph (M)(10) revised effective 1/1/03; 67 FR 76256 )
(i) Eligibility . The cumulative time of extensions that can be granted to an M-1 student is limited to a period of 3 years from the M-1 student's original start date, plus 30 days. No extension can be granted to an M-1 student if the M-1 student is unable to complete the course of study within 3 years of the original program start date. This limit includes extensions that have been granted due to a drop below full course of study, a transfer of schools, or reinstatement. An M-1 student may be granted an extension of stay if it is established that:  
(A) He or she is a bona fide nonimmigrant currently maintaining student status;  
(B) Compelling educational or medical reasons have resulted in a delay to his or her course of study. Delays caused by academic probation or suspension are not acceptable reasons for program extension; and  
(C) He or she is able to, and in good faith intends to, continue to maintain that status for the period for which the extension is granted.  
(ii) Application . A student must apply to the Service for an extension on Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status. A student's M-2 spouse and children seeking an extension of stay must be included in the application. The student must submit the application to the service center having jurisdiction over the school the student is currently authorized to attend, at least 15 days but not more than 60 days before the program end date on the student's Form I-20. The application must also be accompanied by th e student's Form I-20 and the Forms I-94 of the student's spouse and children, if applicable.  
(iii) Period of stay . If an application for extension is granted, the student and the student's spouse and children, if applicable, are to be given an extension of stay for the period of time necessary to complete the course of study, plus 30 days within which to depart from the United States, or for a total period of one year, whichever is less. A student's M-2 spouse and children are not eligible for an extension unless the M-1 student is granted an extension of stay, or for a longer period than is granted to the M-1 student .  
(iv) SEVIS update . A DSO must update SEVIS to recommend that a student be approved for an extension of stay. The SEVIS Form I-20 must be printed with the recommendation and new program end date for submission by mail to the service center, with Form I-539, and Forms I-94 if applicable.  
 

(11) School transfer  
(i) Eligibility. An M - 1 student may not transfer to another school after six months from the date the student is first admitted as, or changes nonimmigrant classification to that of, an M - 1 student unless the student is unable to remain at the school to which the student was initially admitted due to circumstances beyond the student's control. An M - 1 student may be otherwise eligible to transfer to another school if the student --  
(A) Is a bona fide nonimmigrant;  
(B) Has been pursuing a full course of study at the school the student was last authorized to attend;  
(C) Intends to pursue a full course of study at the school to which the student intends to transfer; and  
(D) Is financially able to attend the school to which the student intends to transfer.  
(ii) Procedure . A student must apply to the Service on Form I-539 for permission to transfer between schools. Upon application for school transfer, a student may effect the transfer subject to approval of the application. A student who transfers without complying with this requirement or whose application is denied after transfer pursuant to this regulation is considered to be out of status. If the application is approved, the approval of the transfer will be determined to be the program start date listed on the Form I-2 0, and the student will be granted an extension of stay for the period of time necessary to complete the new course of study plus 30 days, or for a total period of one year, whichever is less. (Paragraph (m)(11)(ii) revised effective 1/1/03; 67 FR 76256 )  

(A) Non-SEVIS school . The application must be accompanied by the Form I-20ID copy and the Form I-94 of the student's spouse and children, if applicable. The Form I-539 must also be accompanied by Form I-20M-N properly and completely filled out by the student and by the designated official of the school which the student wishes to attend. The student must submit the application for school transfer to the service center having jurisdiction over the school the student is currently authorized to attend. Upon approval, the adjudica ting officer will endorse the name of the school to which the transfer is authorized on the student's Form I-20ID copy and return it to the student. The officer will also endorse Form I-20M-N to indicate that a school transfer has been authorized and forward it to the Service's processing center for updating. The processing center will forward Form I-20M-N to the school to which the transfer has been authorized to notify the school of the action taken.  

(B) SEVIS school . The student must first notify his or her current school of the intent to transfer and indicate the school to which the student intends to transfer. Upon notification by the student, the current school must update SEVIS to show the student as a "transfer out" and input the "release date" for transfer. Once updated as a "transfer out" the transfer school is permitted to generate a SEVIS Form I-20 for transfer but will not gain access to the student's SEVIS record until the release date is reached. Upon rece ipt of the SEVIS Form I-20 from the transfer school, the student must submit Form I-539 in accordance with § 214.2(m)(11) to the service center with jurisdiction over the current school. The student may enroll in the transfer school at the next available term or session and is required to notify the DSO of the transfer school immediately upon beginning attendance. The transfer school must update the student's registration record in SEVIS in accordance with § 214.3(g)(3) . Upon approval of the transfer application, the Service officer will endorse the name of the school to which the transfer is authorized on the student's SEVIS Form I-20 and return it to the student.  

(C) Transition process . Once SEVIS is fully operational and interfaced with the service center benefit processing system, the Service officer will transmit the approval of the transfer to SEVIS and endorse the name of the school to which transfer is authorized on the student's SEVIS Form I-20 and return it to the student. As part of a transitional process until that time, the student is required to notify the DSO at the transfer school of the decision of the Service within 15 days of the receipt of the adjudication by the Servic e. Upon notification by the student of the approval of the Service, the DSO must immediately update SEVIS to show that approval of the transfer has been granted. The DSO must then print an updated SEVIS Form I-20 for the student indicating that the transfer has been completed. If the application for transfer is denied, the student is out of status and the DSO must terminate the student's record in SEVIS.  
(iii) Student who has not been pursuing a full course of study. If an M - 1 student who has not been pursuing a full course of study at the school the student was last authorized to attend desires to attend a different school, the student must apply for reinstatement to student status under paragraph (m)(16) of this section.  
 

(12) Change in educational objective 
An M - 1 student may not change educational objective.  
 

(13) Employment .
Except as provided in paragraph (m)(14) of this section, a student may not accept employment. (Revised effective 1/1/03; 67 FR 76256 )  


(14) Practical training
(i) When practical training may be authorized. Temporary employment for practical training may be authorized only after completion of the student's course of study.  
(ii) Application . A M-1 student must apply for permission to accept employment for practical training on Form I-765, with fee as contained in 8 CFR 103.7(b)(1) , accompanied by a Form I-20 that has been endorsed for practical training by the designated school official. The application must be submitted prior to the program end date listed on the student's Form I-20 but not more than 90 days before the program end date. The designated school official must certify on Form I-538 that ­ (Introductory text revised effective 1/1/03; 67 FR 76256 ) (Amended 6/3/95; 60 FR 21973 )  
(A) The proposed employment is recommended for the purpose of practical training;  
(B) The proposed employment is related to the student's course of study; and  
(C) Upon the designated school official's information and belief, employment comparable to the proposed employment is not available to the student in the country of the student's foreign residence.  
(iii) Duration of practical training. When the student is authorized to engage in employment for practical training, he or she will be issued an employment authorization document. The M-1 student may not begin employment until he or she has been issued an employment authorization document by the Service. One month of employment authorization will be granted for each four months of full-time study that the M-1 student has completed. However, an M-1 student may not engage in more than six months of practi cal training in the aggregate. The student will not be granted employment authorization if he or she cannot complete the requested practical training within six months.  
(iv) Temporary absence of M - 1 student granted practical training. An M - 1 student who has been granted permission to accept employment for practical training and who temporarily departs from the United States, may be readmitted for the remainder of the authorized period indicated on the student's Form I - 20 ID copy. The student must be returning to the United States to perform the authorized practical training. A student may not be readmitted to begin practical training which was not authorized prior to the student's departure from the United States.  
(v) Effect of strike or other labor dispute. Authorization for all employment for practical training is automatically suspended upon certification by the Secretary of Labor or the Secretary's designee to the Commissioner of Immigration and Naturalization or the Commissioner's designee that a strike or other labor dispute involving a work stoppage of workers is in progress in the occupation at the place of employment. As used in this paragraph, "place of employment" means wherever the employer or joint emplo yer does business.  
(vi) SEVIS process . The DSO must update the student's record in SEVIS to recommend that the Service approve the student for practical training, and print SEVIS Form I-20 with the recommendation, for the student to submit to the Service with Form I-765 as provided in this paragraph (m)(14). (Added effective 1/1/03; 67 FR 76256 )  
 

(15) Decision on application for extension, permission to transfer to another school, or permission to accept employment for practical training.
The Service shall notify the applicant of the decision and, if the application is denied, of the reason(s) for the denial. The applicant may not appeal the decision. (Amended 6/3/95; 60 FR 21973 

 
(16) Reinstatement to student status . (Paragraph (m)(16) revised effective 1/1/03; 67 FR 76256 )  
(i) General . A district director may consider reinstating a student who makes a request for reinstatement on Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status, accompanied by a properly completed SEVIS Form I-20 indicating the DSO's recommendation for reinstatement (or a properly completed Form I-20M-N issued prior to January 30, 2003, from the school the student is attending or intends to attend prior to August 1, 2003). The district director may consider granting the request only if the student:  
(A) Has not been out of status for more than 5 months at the time of filing the request for reinstatement (or demonstrates that the failure to file within the 5 month period was the result of exceptional circumstances and that the student filed the request for reinstatement as promptly as possible under these exceptional circumstances);  
(B) Does not have a record of repeated or willful violations of the Service regulations;  
(C) Is currently pursuing, or intends to pursue, a full course of study at the school which issued the Form I-20M-N or SEVIS Form I-20;  
(D) Has not engaged in unlawful employment;  
(E) Is not deportable on any ground other than section 237(a)(1)(B) or (C)(i) of the Act; and  
(F) Establishes to the satisfaction of the Service, by a detailed showing, either that:  
( 1 ) The violation of status resulted from circumstances beyond the student's control. Such circumstances might include serious injury or illness, closure of the institution, a natural disaster, or inadvertence, oversight or neglect on the part of the DSO, but do not include instances where a pattern of repeated violations or where a willful failure on the part of the student resulted in the need for reinstatement; or  
( 2 ) The violation relates to a reduction in the student's course load that would have been within a DSO's power to authorize, and that failure to approve reinstatement would result in extreme hardship to the student.  
(ii) Decision . If the Service reinstates the student, the Service shall endorse the student's copy of Form I-20 to indicate that the student has been reinstated and return the form to the student. If the Form I-20 is from a non-SEVIS school, the school copy will be forwarded to the school. If the Form I-20 is from a SEVIS school, the adjudicating officer will update SEVIS to reflect the Service's decision. In either case, if the Service does not reinstate the student, the student may not appeal the decision. The distric t director will send notification to the school of the decision.  
 

(17) Spouse and children of M-1 student
The M-2 spouse and minor children of an M-1 student shall each be issued an individual SEVIS Form I-20 in accordance with the provisions of § 214.3(k) . (Paragraph (m)(17) revised effective 1/1/03; 67 FR 76256 )  
(i) Employment . The M-2 spouse and children may not accept employment.  
(ii) Study . (A) The M-2 spouse may not engage in full time study, and the M-2 child may only engage in full time study if the study is in an elementary or secondary school (kindergarten through twelfth grade). The M-2 spouse and child may engage in study that is avocational or recreational in nature.  
(B) An M-2 spouse or M-2 child desiring to engage in full time study, other than that allowed for a child in paragraph (m)(17)(ii) of this section, must apply for and obtain a change of nonimmigrant classification to F-1, J-1, or M-1 status. An M-2 spouse or child who was enrolled on a full time basis prior to January 1, 2003, will be allowed to continue study but must file for a change of nonimmigrant classification to F-1, J-1, or M-1 status on or before March 11, 2003.  
(C) An M-2 spouse or M-2 child violates his or her nonimmigrant status by engaging in full time study except as provided in paragraph (m)(17)(i) and (ii) of this section.  
(18) Current name and address 
A student must inform the Service and the DSO of any legal changes to his or her name or of any change of address, within 10 days of the change, in a manner prescribed by the school. A student enrolled at a SEVIS school can satisfy the requirement in 8 CFR 265.1 of notifying the Service by providing a notice of a change of address within 10 days to the DSO, and the DSO in turn shall enter the information in SEVIS within 21 days of notification by the student. A nonimmigrant student enrolled at a non-SEVIS institution must submit a notice of change of address to the Service, as provided in 8 CFR 265.1 , within 10 days of the change. Except in the case of a student who cannot receive mail where he or she resides, the address provided by the student must be the actual physical location where the student resides rather than a mailing address. In cases where a student provides a mailing address, the school must maintain a record of, and must provide upon request from the Service, the actual physical location where the student resides.(Added effective 1/1/03; 67 FR 76256 ) (Added and reserved 8/27/02; 67 FR 54941 )  
 

(19) Special rules for certain border commuter students 
(Paragraph (m)(19) added 8/27/02; 67 FR 54941 )  
(i) Applicability . For purposes of the special rules in this paragraph (m)(19), the term "border commuter student" means a national of Canada or Mexico who is admitted to the United States as an M-1 student to enroll in a full course of study, albeit on a part-time basis, in an approved school located within 75 miles of a United States land border. The border commuter student must maintain actual residence and place of abode in the student's country of nationality, and seek admission to the United States at a land border po rt-of-entry. These special rules do not apply to a national of Canada or Mexico who is:  
(A) Residing in the United States while attending an approved school as an M-1 student, or  
(B) Enrolled in a full course of study as defined in paragraph (m)(9) of this section.  
(ii) Full course of study . The border commuter student must be enrolled in a full course of study at the school that leads to the attainment of a specific educational or vocational objective, albeit on a part-time basis. A designated school official at the school may authorize an eligible border commuter student to enroll in a course load below that otherwise required for a full course of study under paragraph (m)(9) of this section, provided that the reduced course load is consistent with the border commuter student's approved cou rse of study.  
(iii) Period of stay . An M-1 border commuter student is not entitled to an additional 30-day period of stay otherwise available under paragraph (m)(5) of this section.  
(iv) Employment . A border commuter student may not be authorized to accept any employment in connection with his or her M-1 student status, except for practical training as provided in paragraph (m)(14) of this section.  
 

(20) Remittance of the fee 
An alien who applies for M-1 or M-3 nonimmigrant status in order to enroll in a program of study at a DHS-approved vocational educational institution is required to pay the SEVIS fee to DHS, pursuant to 8 CFR 214.13 , except as otherwise provided in that section. (Added effective 9/1/04; 69 FR 39814 )    

This information can be found in the Code of Federal Regulations.

Nonimmigrant Visas: