1) Do I need to apply for an F-1 student visa?
If your main purpose of coming to the U.S. is to study, then you should obtain an F-1 student visa prior to entering. To get an I-20 from our school in order to apply for the visa, you should enroll in at least 8 weeks of our full-time Intensive Language Program (20 hours per week) at one of our three main school locations: Midtown, Manhattan; Uptown, Manhattan; or Jackson Heights, Queens.
If you are visiting as a tourist, you are also welcome to engage in part-time, short-term study that is incidental to your main purpose (just “for fun”). We recommend our Semi-Intensive Program (16 hours per week, Mon – Thurs) for this purpose, which is below full-time hours.
A U.S. visa can only be obtained at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad. If you are unsure about which visa you should obtain, you can contact your local U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
2) How long does it take to get the I-20, and when should I apply?
Once we have all of your documents and Initial Fees payment, we will issue your I-20 within 2-3 business days, then it will take about 3 more days for it to arrive if sent by express mail. We recommend applying at least 2 months before you wish to start, in order to give yourself enough time.
3) What documents do I need to submit to get an I-20?
You will need to submit copies of your:
- Signed Application for Enrollment or online application
- Passport biographical page, valid at least 6 months into the future
- Proof of financial support (recent bank statement) and Affidavit of Support form, if sponsored
- $180 Schools Fees + $95 Optional Express Mail fee for I-20 ($275 total)
These documents can be scanned and sent by email to your NYLC advisor, who can create a quote for you for the cost.
4) How long is the program/ F-1 visa?
Our minimum enrollment is 8 weeks (1 session), and it takes about 1.5 years to complete all of our levels from beginner to advanced. We also have “Post-Advanced” levels including TOEFL Prep and Business English.
F-1 students can stay for “Duration of Status”, which means you can stay in the U.S. as long as you have a valid I-20 and are maintaining your full-time F-1 status. The length of your I-20 depends on how many weeks you enroll, and how much proof of financial support you provide, but can be up to 1 year. You can extend the I-20 1 more year for up to 2 years total study, as long as you can benefit from more English training.
The length of the visa is up to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you apply, and could be up to 5 years. Your visa however is only for travel (to enter the U.S.) and does not determine how long you can stay inside the U.S.
5) Can I study for less than 8 weeks?
The minimum enrollment for F-1 students is 8 weeks (1 session). If you cannot stay inside the U.S. for 8 weeks but still need an I-20/F-1 visa, let your advisor know and we can work on an arrangement based on your case.
6) What happens if my visa is denied?
If your visa is denied, you may still reapply if you believe that you can provide additional evidence of ties to your home country (for example work, family, or education). Be careful what you post on social media as well, since they will be reviewing your accounts. Ask your NYLC advisor for assistance if you choose to reapply and if you need a new I-20 with new start date.
Your tuition payment is not due until after you successfully obtain the visa. If you already paid tuition in advance, it is refundable in the case of visa denial.
7) Can I change my school location or start date after receiving my I-20?
Yes, it is possible. To change the location you will need your SEVIS record transferred and to receive a new I-20 from the new branch. Additional fees may also apply depending on the school. Let your NYLC advisor know as soon as possible if you are thinking of changing the location.
To change your program start date, let your NYLC Advisor know and we can issue a new I-20 with new start date free of charge (except for optional $95 Express Mail fee). You must obtain the new I-20 with new start date prior to entering the U.S. since your start date must always be in the future.
8) Can I work in the U.S. or obtain a Social Security Number (SSN)?
F-1 students cannot work inside the U.S. without prior authorization.
NYLC cannot provide work authorization, so any unauthorized employment is done at your own risk. If you attend a U.S. college or university, you may have the option of obtaining authorization for employment related to your course of study, such as internships and other practical training.
9) Can I travel or take a vacation?
Yes – full-time F-1 students are eligible for up to 8 weeks of annual vacation after 26 weeks of study. Speak to the DSO (Designated School Official) at your branch if you want to request a vacation. Also let your DSO know if you plan any travel overseas, so we can make sure your documents are up to date and you have a travel signature on page 2 of your I-20.
10) Can I obtain a driver’s license?
Yes, you can obtain a driver’s license or non-driver’s identification at your local DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) office. You should prepare copies of your I-20, passport, F-1 visa, I-94, proof of address, letter of ineligibility for Social Security Number, and proof of enrollment at the school. Your DSO can assist you with this documentation and you can also check your local DMV website for more information.
For more information, visit https://studyinthestates.dhs.gov/students