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English Language Institute Blog

How to Get a U.S. Visa

new york grand centralYou've decided to come to New York to study ESL. Great decision!

New York is one of the best places in the United States to learn English. The next step is to get a visa. Getting a visa for the United States can be confusing. Three things to consider are:

#1 Which visa do you need?

getting a visa for US embassy-logoIf you are coming to the United States mostly to be a tourist and to just study part-time for a short-time, you don't need a student visa. You can come on an ESTA visa waiver or a B2 tourist visa, depending on your country.

If you want to study full-time (18 hours/ week or more), then you will need an F1 student visa.

There are many other visa types for the United States that may better suit your purpose, of course, but the most common visa to study English in NYC or Westchester is an F1 visa.

#2 What do you before going to the U.S. Embassy?

You need to get an I-20 from us in order to get an F1 student visa from the US government.

First you need to apply to study with the ELI at Pace University. When you register for a full course of study, we will give you an I-20. When you get this, you can make an appointment with your nearest U.S. Embassy. Don't worry. Here is information on what to do here.

#3 How can you increase your chances of getting a non-immigrant visa?

The most common reason people do not get a visa is because the U.S. official is worried that you won't return home after you finish studying here. You need to prove that you have a good reason to go home/ have strong connections to your country.

The following things can help:

  • if you own any property in your country, e.g. a house, money in the bank
  • if you have close family who will stay in your country
  • if you have strong social connections to your country, e.g. membership in clubs, community organizations or religious groups
  • if you can show professional connections e.g. membership in professional organizations, a letter form your employer saying you are still employed, a job offer, a family business, etc. Reference letters from previous employers can also help.
  • if you are a student in your country, explain how coming to the U.S. to study will help you get a job in your home country when you return

Bring all the evidence you can with you to the interview.

Good luck and we hope to see you soon in New York!

Do you want to come to New York to study English? You can visit the ELI website, contact the ELI or apply here.

Please note that this information is intended as a guide. please consult with official government information for the final word on visa information.