Student (F-1) Visa
If your main purpose for coming to the U.S. is to study, you will need a student visa. A student visa allows you to study full-time, and obligates you to study full-time in order to remain in the U.S. legally. A full-time English student must take at least 18 hours of class per week. (Full-time students at WESLI usually study 20 hours per week.)
In order to get a student visa you must have an I-20!
An I-20 is a document that shows you have been accepted to study at an educational institution in the U.S. WESLI is authorized under federal law to enroll non-immigrant alien students. To receive an I-20, you must complete WESLI’s application.
Once you receive your I-20 and Acceptance Letter from WESLI, you can apply for a student visa at the U.S. Consulate in your country. Before you go to your visa interview, make sure that you pay all the fees required for your visa application, including the SEVIS fee (I-901). You can pay this online at the U.S. government’s website. Click here to read about this and pay online.
When you go to the U.S. Consulate in your country to apply for a student visa, you must take the following documents:
- Your I-20 from WESLI.
- Your Acceptance Letter from WESLI.
- Your SEVIS Fee receipt (Form I-797).
- Proof that you have enough money to live and study in the U.S. This can be a copy of your bank statement, a copy of your parents’ bank statement, or information from the person or organization that will support you.
- Proof that you plan to return to your country after you study in the U.S. This can be evidence that you have a job, or that you will go to school in your country, or that you have family (a husband, wife, or children) in your country, or that you own property or a business in your country.
- Proof that you are a serious student. If possible, bring copies of your high school or university transcripts with you.
- A study plan. Write a letter that describes your plan for study in the U.S. Explain why you want to learn English, and what you plan to do after you learn English.
A Very Important Note About the I-20
- The program start date on WESLI’s I-20 is usually a few days before classes begin to allow time for testing, placement and orientation. Students may NOT enter the U.S. after the start date on the I-20. (If you need to enter later, please tell us so that we can put that date on the I-20, allowing you to enter later.)
- Students may enter the U.S. up to 30 days BEFORE the date on the I-20. For example, if the start date on your I-20 is 5/31/2014, you may arrive in the U.S. between 5/01/2014 and 5/31/2014. (Please be aware that housing may not be available if you arrive more than one week before the beginning of classes. Check with us about your specific situation.)
Study With a Tourist (B-2) Visa
If you enter the U.S. with a tourist visa, your main purpose for being in the U.S. should be tourism. It is not illegal to study part-time with a tourist visa if your main purpose in the U.S. is tourism. It is against U.S. immigration regulations to study full-time with a tourist visa. Part-time study at WESLI is fewer than 18 hours/week of classes.
Study With Other Types of Visas
With many other types of visas (B-1, K-1, K-3, H-1B, H-4, J-1, J-2, Visa Waiver), it is not illegal to study as long as you comply with the regulations governing your immigration status. Please contact us if you have any questions about this.