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Spouses and dependent children of those who hold a U.S. visa for whatever reason have many options to choose from. If a family member holds an M-1 student visa, for example, you may qualify for an M-2. This is often one of the fastest ways to enter the United States for a period of several years.
The M-2 Visa Program is Ideal for Family Members of Enrolled Students
The M-1 visa is the flagship “student visa” program in the United States. It allows someone who has been accepted to a course of study in the country to remain as long as they are making satisfactory academic progress and following all other rules.
An M-1 does not mean you are attending a traditional four-year college program. In fact, someone can obtain an M-1 by entering a recognized vocational program. This is known as the “visa nonacademic student” distinction.
Most accredited colleges and universities can provide the paperwork necessary to qualify for the M-1 visa. Unfortunately, not all nonacademic programs can do so. Still, there are thousands of institutions and programs throughout the United States that can help.
What does it all mean for family members, and what is the M-2?
One of the goals of the U.S. State Department is to ensure families are not broken up by the visa rules. For that reason, there is usually a derivative visa type for spouses and dependent children under age 21 for any type of visa an adult might acquire.
The M-2 is the program the spouse and children of an M-1 holder qualify for.
How to Obtain the M-2: A Quick Overview
Obtaining the M-2 is a relatively fast and easy process once the M-1 has been issued. It simply involves verifying the status of the M-1 holder and your relationship with him or her. The major challenge remains to get and maintain the M-1.
Children holding M-2 may study in elementary or secondary schools. Adults are permitted to study in a vocational school. Should they wish to study at a full-time academic program, they can apply for separate M-2 status. They can also travel freely into and out of the country.
However, M-2 holders may not accept employment in the United States.
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