Visa Information

The information provided here is a summary of important immigration information for students applying to the Program for Intensive English (PIE). It is not legal advice.

Anyone may study at the Program for Intensive English. International students on an F-1 visa must study full-time. Students with an F-2 visa can study part-time only. Visitors on a B-2 (tourist) visa can study part-time only. People with a J, K, H, or L visa may study full time or part time. U.S. citizens, permanent residents, refugees, asylees, and those without status can study full-time or part-time.

How to get an F-1 student visa

1. Apply for admission to the Program for Intensive English (PIE)
Students must apply for admission to the PIE to begin the process of applying for their F-1 student visa. All international students must submit a PIE application and required supporting documents, including financial documents demonstrating proof of financial support to cover their tuition and living expenses for the duration of their study in the PIE.

2. We send you a Form I-20, the "Certificate of Eligibility for an F-1 Student Visa"
After you complete and submit your application, we will admit you. We will then send you a Form I-20 and a letter of acceptance. When you receive the Form I-20, read it carefully and then sign it. By signing it, you agree to abide by the U.S. immigration regulations for F-1 student visa holders.

3. How to bring family members with you
In order to bring immediate family members (wife, husband, and/or children) to the United States, you must show enough financial resources to support their stay in the U.S. After we receive and review your financial documents, the PIE will send you a Form I-20, Certificate of Eligibility for an F-2 Visa, for your dependents (wife, husband, and/or children). F-2 visa applicants will follow the same visa application procedure as F-1 students. F-2 visa applicants are NOT required to pay the SEVIS I-901 fee. F-2 dependents are not permitted to work in the United States, and are not permitted to study full time. F-2 dependents may study on part-time. They should study just to improve their English, not to get ready for university. Classes taken by an F-2 dependent cannot be part of a formal study plan or program of study (except for minor children enrolled in kindergarten through grade 12).

4. How to pay the SEVIS I-901 fee
After you receive your Form I-20, you must pay the $200 SEVIS fee to the U.S. government. SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) is the national database maintained by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Every F-1 student visa holder has a record in SEVIS, and this system is used to create your Form I-20. You can pay the SEVIS fee online with a credit card. Print the fee payment receipt and attach it to your I-20. This fee must be paid before you go to your visa appointment. See for more detailed information.

5. Visa application and interview 
After you receive your Form I-20 and pay your SEVIS fee, you must complete an online application for an F-1 student visa using the Form DS-160. After you fill out the online visa application form, contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate in your country to make a visa interview appointment. At the time of your visa interview you will be required to show proof of payment of the SEVIS fee (see above).