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How Does an M-1 Student File for an Extension?

November 5, 2015

If you are a current or prospective M-1 student, or a designated school official (DSO) who supports M-1 students, it is important to understand the rules for how long M-1 students may stay in the United States. 

This week we are publishing a three-part series specifically for maintaining M-1 status, which answers questions about an M-1 student’s duration of stay in the United States.  In part one of the series, we discussed how long M-1 students can initially stay in the United States. In part two, we discussed the options that are available if an M-1 student needs more than one year to complete their program. Today, we follow up with the relevant question:

How Does an M-1 Student File for an extension?

After the DSO requests an extension in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), the M-1 student must apply for a program extension by filing a Form I-539, “Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status,” with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).  An M-1 students must send the updated Form I-20, “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status,” which shows the recent SEVIS extension request, with the application. An M-1 student may apply and file for a program extension only during a very specific period of time:

  • Up to 60 days before their program end date listed on the Form I-20.
  • But, no later than 15 days before the program end date listed on the Form I-20. 

An M-1 student who needs to apply for an extension to begin practical training also may need to apply for work authorization from USCIS at the same time they file for their extension. M-1 students should work closely with their DSO to file both applications.  For more information about the steps involved for filing for a program extension, visit the USCIS page for the Form I-539.

Looking for more information about M-1 students? Look at the new Study in the States infographic that illustrates the important differences between F-1 and M-1 student regulations.

Do you have a question you want answered on the Study in the States blog? Ask us on social media by using the hashtag #StudyintheStates. 

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