As an international student, you will need to hold the correct visa for entry into the US. If you are applying for a student visa, you can apply as soon as you receive a confirmation of enrollment from ELS.

Frequently Asked Visa Questions

According to US immigration laws, you must enter the United States on a non-immigrant, student (F-1) visa if you wish to study in our intensive and semi-intensive English programs.

To obtain an F-1 student visa you will need to present to the US Embassy or US Consulate certain documents to demonstrate your intent to study in the United States and, after completion of your studies, return to your home country.

The documents you need for your visa application include:

  • An I-20 obtained from ELS
  • Proof of financial certification
  • A valid passport
  • Evidence of ties to your country

You will also be required to attend a personal interview with a visa officer. We recommend that you make an appointment for your interview at least 60-120 days before the date you intend to begin your studies. More information on how to apply for a student visa, including the required visa application, is available on US Embassy and US Consulate websites, a listing of which may be found at http://www.usembassy.gov/.

Prospective and current F-1 visa students should visit Study in the States https://studyinthestates.dhs.gov/students to learn about the process and rules for studying in the United States as an international student.


The Form I-20 is the Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status and is required to apply for a student visa to enter the United States.

The Form I-20 is an important document that you should keep safe, as you will need it throughout your international student journey.

When applying to most ELS Language Centers programs, you can indicate on your application that you need a Form I-20. You must also supply documentation with your application showing proof of financial responsibility. You must have enough available money to pay for your tuition, living expenses and miscellaneous expenses.

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Once you complete your application, one of our ELS admissions advisors will be in contact with you to discuss next steps.