Those who intend to study in the U.S. are generally admitted under the F-1 student visa classification. Under special circumstances, international students may also be admitted on J-1 sponsored student or M-1 vocational or technical student visas. In each of these visa categories, a spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 may accompany the international student to the U.S. Generally, these dependents may not be employed in the U.S. but may attend school as either part-time or full-time students. The prospective F-1 student must complete the Online Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application, Form DS-160. The prospective student must also present the following papers to a U.S Consulate:
- Passport, valid for at least six months
- I-20 form (Some foreign nationals are required to present an I-20 showing acceptance into academic classes at a college or university level. The Culture and Intensive English Program cannot issue such an I-20.)
- Receipt for I-901 SEVIS fee
- A Machine Readable Visa (MRV) Receipt to show payment of the visa application fee
- One 2x2 photograph
- A financial statement or financial guaranty report
- Transcripts or diplomas from current or previous institutions
To retain F-1 visa status, a student must attend a full course of study (20 hours per week) in the Culture and Intensive English Program. Students must complete a year of study or have completed the highest level of the program before being allowed to take time off from study. Failure to be enrolled for a full course of study is considered a violation of the F-1 student status and places the student in a deportable situation.
Employment opportunities are limited for international students. F-1 students are only allowed to work under specific circumstances. On-campus employment is permitted up to 20 hours per week; however, off-campus employment is limited to internship or other work-study programs that may be required for a specific degree.
Prospective students must enter the U.S. on a student visa. Persons with permanent resident status and those already in the U.S. with diplomatic or other visas may also be eligible for the program if study is not the main purpose of their stay in the United States.
Additional information on student visas can be found on the website for the U.S. Department of State.