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If you are applying to the School of Transformation and are a citizen of a country outside of the United States, you will need a student visa to attend the school. Please note that visa costs are separate from the School of Transformation tuition. Also, if you are from a country other than Canada or the United States, you may need weeks or months in order to get an appointment at the embassy, so please plan accordingly.



Student Exchange and Visitor Information System

Link to SEVIS website


A document that has start and expiry dates. These determine when you are allowed to enter or re-enter the USA. They have nothing to do with how long you can stay.

M-1 Visa

  1. The type of student visa that “vocational schools” issue

  2. This is the type that SOT issues


DSO is Designated School Officer, someone who has an account on SEVIS and provides assistance with student visas.


A document issued by the border with an “admit until” date. This is the date that you are allowed to stay in the USA until, or you can file an extension for your visa before this date to get extra time.

M-2 Visa

  1. The type of visa that dependents of M-1 students can get (i.e. student’s spouse, children, etc.)

  2. Process to obtain M-2 happens at same time as process to obtain M-1, or can happen later (say spouse wants to wait before traveling to live with student spouse)

How To Get An M-1 Visa

Outline of steps: link

What To Do:

Outline of steps: link 

  • Before you cross the border

    • From Canada - You do not need an interview at United States embassy/consulate before crossing the border

      • Complete School of Transformation application

      • Provide Designated School Officer with information in order to process I-20

      • Receive email with I-20 and acceptance letter from DSO

      • Receive a phone call from the DSO and be prepared to give information, such as financial information, passport information, and current address.

      • Pay the I-901 fee online to SEVP ($350)

      • Print I-901 receipt (will be emailed to you automatically)


  • Not From Canada/Mexico - Need interview at US embassy/consulate before crossing border

    • Same steps as above but also:

      • ASAP: CONTACT US CONSULATE/EMBASSY to find out the typical wait time for an interview. Interview wait time could be weeks or months depending on the country. 

      • ASAP: Make embassy/consulate appointment

        • TIMING: Should be done as soon as you complete SoT application and are accepted into SoT, or possibly made even before you are accepted. 

          • (It is better to have the appointment and later cancel than to not have one soon enough)

      • Complete online DS-160. This gives your information to the embassy or consulate where you must interview to get your visa.

  • Attend an interview appointment at an embassy or consulate as the last step before crossing the border. The embassy or consulate issues the visa in countries outside Canada. 

    • *** MAKE EMBASSY APPOINTMENT MONTHS IN ADVANCE: These appointments often need to be made weeks to months (can be as much as 6+ months) in advance, depending on the country. 

M-1 and M-2
Overview and Comparison

A dependent is someone related to the student, such as a child, spouse, or other family member who would normally travel and reside with the student. The M-2 visa is for these types of people so they can easily obtain a visa to travel with the student they are dependent on. 


This process is very much similar to the process for getting a student an M-1 visa, with the main differences being no acceptance letter is required from the school for the dependents. An I-20 is created in SEVIS for each of the dependents after the I-20 is created for the student.

How To Use An M-1 Visa For
3 Years Of Schooling

The rule for all M-1 visas is the maximum initial time a student (and dependents) can be approved for is 1 year. Students (and dependents) can apply for as many extensions as they need, with each extension granting a maximum of 1 year additional time, and up to a total maximum of 3 consecutive years past the date they entered the USA with their M-1 visa. It is totally fine to do this for a valid academic reason, such as the student’s program being 3 years’ duration. 


Complete and fill out form I-539 and file online/by mail.

If applying for an extension, students will need to file I-539 with a cost of $370 (base fee) + $85 (biometrics fee).

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