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How Long Can an M-1 Student Initially Stay in the United States?

November 3, 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.  To kick off the series we answer the question:

How long may an M-1 student initially stay in the United States?

M-1 students are only admitted into the United States for the period of time that is needed to complete their course of study as indicated on their Form I-20, “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status,” plus any practical training (PT) needed after they complete their program.  This time cannot exceed one year.  After an M-1 student completes their program or PT, they are allowed an additional 30 days to depart the country.  All of these actions should be completed within the initial one year admittance period.

When an M-1 student first comes to the United States, an officer from Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will indicate on the passport and in the Form I-94,”Arrival/Departure Record” database, how long they may stay. CBP provides each traveler with an admission stamp that is annotated with date of admission, class of admission and admitted until date.

However, what happens if an M-1 student needs more than one year to complete their program of study or PT? Check back in tomorrow, for the answer to this question!

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