As a foreign student studying in the U.S., you may already be aware of the number of visa options available to you. While F-1 visas for students are the most popular option, you may choose to undergo technical training, and opt for an M-1 visa. However, no matter which visa you decide on, you must be sure that the school you have chosen qualifies as an accredited institution under USCIS rules.
The following approved institutions may be attended by F-1 nonimmigrant students:
- An institution of higher learning—college, university, etc.—which awards bona fide bachelor's, master's, doctor's, or professional degrees
- A community college / junior college which awards bona fide associates degrees in recognized professions or the liberal arts
- A conservatory or seminary
- An academic high school
- A private elementary school
- An institution which provides training in one or more of these disciplines: language training, instruction in the liberal arts, instruction in the fine arts, or instruction in other recognized professions
The following vocational schools may be approved for M-1 classification:
- A vocational high school
- A community college which provides associate degrees in vocational or technical training
- An institution that provides vocational or nonacademic training—other than language courses
Some schools may even be approved for attendance by both F-1 and M-1 nonimmigrant students if they offer instruction in the liberal and fine arts, language, and religion. Professional, vocational or technical training may also be approved. Students should seek visa classifications at these schools according to their field of study.