F1 visas are called “student visas”, and they give you the ability to attend an English-language school, like the American Institute of English, full-time. Here’s what you need to know.
Depending on how long you plan to be in the United States or the kind of educational program you attend, the visa you need will differ.
An F1 visa is given to temporary visitors who wish to participate in an academic or language program. F1 visas are long-term, and allow you to study at a school you’re accepted into on a full-time basis. This means you are enrolled in a program with more than 18 hours of classes each week.
Once you are given an F1 visa, you can enter the United States with the visa for up to 10 years, but your F1 status most often lasts for the length of your program. The exact length is usually detailed by the 1-20 form you receive from your SEVP-certified school (Student and Exchange Visitor Program). After graduation, you will have 60 days to prepare to return to your home country.
F1 visas are meant specifically for students. But let’s say you arrive in the United States for a short vacation, and while you’re here, decide to take advantage of a local English Language Learning program.
A B1 or B2 visa, or an ESTA exchange program will also allow you to visit the country on a short-term basis and attend a language-learning program. So long as your original reason for entering the United States was not to become a student. Though, the American English Institute (AEI) can help you begin changing your status from B1 and B2 to an F1 visa.
Students should allow 1-6 months to get the F1 visa. The length of time depends on the student and the country they are applying from. Here are all the steps you’ll need to take.
First, you’ll want to apply to American English Institute, a SEVP-certified school. You’ll need to send bank statements and a copy of your passport to the school. You will also have to pay an application processing fee to AEI of $125.
After you’ve been accepted into the school and you’ve received your acceptance letter, you’ll also be sent an I-20 form. For students who are accepted into our programs at the AEI, we send you this I-20 form and enroll you in SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System).
Once you’ve received your I-20, you will arrange an interview with the closest US Embassy in your country to start your visa application. During the interview, you will be asked questions about your education, finances, and work situation.
You’ll also want to bring items, like your acceptance letter, to the interview that show you’ve been accepted into a SEVP school, or documents like bank statements to show you have a connection to your home country.
If you are denied an F1 visa the first time you apply, you can re-apply. Not having all the right documents in order is a common reason applications are denied.
You will also need to be prepared to pay the SEVIS fee for your F1 visa which can cost anywhere from $200 to $400.
Once you are approved and actively taking courses, you can work with an F1 visa, but you are limited to 20 hours a week during the semester.
Lastly, if you are a green card holder, you can study full-time or part-time in any type of program without restriction.
The American English Institute offers both full-time language learning programs for F1 students and short-term programs for visitors traveling with B1 or B2 visas. Contact us today to find out more about our programs.