Getting your visa
Visas for travel to the U.S.
Do you know which visa is best for you? Learn more about your visa options before you travel to the U.S.
Student Visa (F-1): Study in the U.S. as a full-time student at the ELI at Pace University
- Use the F-1 to study full-time at the ELI.
- Full-time at the ELI equals 18 hours per week (typically 4 classes)
- You cannot use the F-1 to study part-time at the ELI (below 18hrs per week)
- Become a student at the ELI by applying for the Form I-20. Application instructions are online here.
Tourist Visa (B-2, B-1) ,Visa Waiver (ESTA and similar), and other non-immigrant temporary visitor visas: Visit in the U.S temporarily or with restrictions at the ELI at Pace University
- Use the B-2, B-1, or Visa Waiver to travel in the U.S. and register for a part-time study or a short term course at the ELI (3 classes per session, two sessions maximum)
- Do not use the these visas or visa waiver to become a full-time student at the ELI.
- These students may register for 3 classes maximum for 14 weeks in the ELI. If you are staying longer you will need to change your status to F-1.
Other Common Visas/Waivers Information for studying at the ELI at Pace Universtiy
- Do not use the J-1 or VW to study full-time at the ELI unless it is a sponsored program by the ELI at Pace University.
- F2 students may enroll at the ELI for part-time classes. See advisement on Tourist Visas above for maximum hours.
- Permanent Residents may enroll as part-time or full-time students depending on their study plan.
- L1/L2 students may enroll as part-time or full-time students depending on their study plan..
- H1/H4 students may enroll part-time or full-time students depending on their study plan.
- G1/G4 students may enroll part-time or full-time students depending on their study plan.
- K1 students may enroll at the ELI for part-time classes. See advisement on Tourist Visas above for maximum hours.
How to apply for a Student Visa
When you are accepted into the English Language Institute (ELI) at Pace University you will receive a Form I-20. You have to make an appointment with your nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate and apply for your F-1 student visa. Please note that you must go to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your home country.
Before you make an appointment, please read the following:
- Passport: Your passport should be updated before you leave the country. It must be kept valid at least six months into the future at all times. If you have to renew your passport in the U.S., you can go through your country’s Consulate or Embassy.
- Form I-20: Make sure your name, date of birth, country of birth and citizenship are correct. If there is a mistake, please contact ELI immediately! The I-20 is used to obtain the F-1 student visa at the U.S. embassy or consulate in your home country. It is also necessary for entrance into the United States.
- Please make sure that you sign, print your name and date the Form I-20. Also make sure that your Form I-20 is properly endorsed by the Designated School Official (DSO), Daniel Lenkowsky or Lisa Kraft.
- SEVIS Fee: Effective September 1, 2004, the USCIS requires a fee to be paid for maintaining the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). This fee will be required under certain circumstances as outlined in the attached SEVIS Fee Instructions. Please be sure to carefully review the requirements and procedures for paying this fee.
The Day of the Appointment
- Bring your passport, Form I-20, acceptance letter, financial documentation, and SEVIS fee receipt of payment
- At the embassy or consulate you will fill out a Form OF-156 (Application for Nonimmigrant Visa) and possibly pay a processing fee.
- The amount of time it takes to process a student visa varies from country to country, so we suggest that you apply at least three to four weeks before you plan to travel to the U.S.
- Please remember that you are applying for an F-1 visa (Student Visa)
- During your interview, please expect the following questions:
- Why do you want to study in the U.S.?
- Why do you want to study in ELI Pace?
- Why did you choose ELI Pace?
- How will your use English in your home country?
PLEASE BE ADVISED THAT: you must convince the U.S. consular official that you will not reside in the United States. It is very important to show strong ties to your country such as residence, family or social ties, documents showing membership in professional organizations and religious groups, family business, bank accounts, or job offer. Please note that U.S. Government officials like documents. You should also be direct and honest with your answers.
IMPORTANT TO NOTE: Your visa does not determine the length of time you may stay in the United States. It is just permission to enter the country. If your visa expires during your studies, you do not have to be concerned unless you intend to travel outside the United States. If your visa expires and you would like to travel overseas, you have to apply for a new visa. We advise that you renew your visa in your home country.
Port of Entry
When you arrive into the United States, a customs agent may inspect your luggage. Also, your Form I-20, passport, financial documentation, and acceptance letter will be examined. Very Important: Do not leave your passport, Form I-20, and baggage unattended. Also make sure that you bring along contact numbers, the ELI office number, the Pace Pre-Arrival handbook and a U.S. quarter (25 cents) to make emergency phone calls.
As you meet the INS official at the Port of Entry, please make sure that the I-94 card and Form I-20 are marked “D/S” meaning “duration of status.” Before you leave INS at the Port of Entry please make sure that your documents are stamped correctly and you have all your documents.
What if your visa was denied?
If your visa was denied and you felt like you were improperly interviewed, please contact a supervisor. Please note that they have to give you a letter with reasons why you were denied a visa into the United States. Before leaving, ask the U.S. consular official when you can reapply (some countries may ask you to wait as long as 6 months).