Study English in the United States
What you need to know in order to study English in the United States of America
Pre-requisites for studying in the USA (for all English Courses):
- Minimum linguistic level of ‘Elementary’;
- Sufficient funds to cover all expenses (course, accommodation, transport, food etc.);
- Valid Passport (valid for at least 6 months after the end date of the English Course).
Are you missing any of the above requirements? If yes, you will not be able to follow an English Course in the United States.
Have you got what you need? Read the following…
Courses that DO NOT require a Visa
You can follow an English Course that has a maximum of 20 lessons per week for no longer than 90 days without the requirement of a Visa (such as a General English Course or One-to-One Lessons). You can book your course via full-immersion.com, wait 24-48 hours for the confirmation email, and complete the ESTA form on the US Embassy website.
You do not have to follow the procedure described below.
Courses that require a Visa
All English Courses of 21 or more lessons per week (Group Courses or One-to-One Lessons) require a Study Visa, known as the F1 Student Visa. If you have chosen to take an English Course of 24 or 30 lessons per week (such as the Intensive English Course) and have the above requirements, you can start the procedure for obtaining the F1-Student Visa.
Follow the points on our guide below.
Ready? Let's start with the I-20 FormFollow our step-by-step instructions
Request I-20 Form (2-3 Days)
- Book your English Course at least 5-6 weeks before your desired start date;
- Receive your confirmation email regarding registration and payment;
- Pay for your English Course via bank transfer or credit card and send us the receipt of your payment;
- Send us a scan of your Passport (only the page detailing personal information, expiry date, photo etc.) as well as your work/ home address. This is where you will receive the I-20 Form.
Receiving the I-20 Form (3-7 Days)
- The I-20 Form is sent by the School (for free) via regular mail. You will receive it in about 7 days;
- Express shipping (which takes about 3 days for you to receive the I-20 Form) is available at an extra fee.
Have you not yet received the I-20 Form? If you have not requested express shipping then there could be a delay in the postal service. You can wait a few more days or request a new shipment with express shipping.
Have you requested express shipping? If you have requested express shipping, be sure to keep the tracking number. If the I-20 Form does not arrive within 3 days, kindly wait a further 24 hours and contact us.
We continue with: 'F1 Student Visa'You should have already received the I-20 Form...therefore you're already halfway there!
Request appointment for the F1 Visa
To apply for the F1 Student Visa, you must complete the I-20 Form, contact your nearest US Embassy and make an appointment to meet with them in person. You may find the phone number on their website. They will advise what documents you are required to take with you for the interview. Appointments are normally fixed for 48-72 hours after you call them.
On the day of the interview at the US Embassy
Be sure to attend the appointment on time and with all the necessary documents that have been requested during the phone call. If you do not have a criminal record or have never been denied a Visa in the past, then you will unlikely encounter any problems.
Has the Visa been granted to you? Then you’re all set! Ensure that you have all the necessary documents, visas and your Passport in hand, and off you go!
Have you been denied the Visa? Keep calm. Ask if you are able to fill out the ESTA form instead, as this will still allow you to follow a General English Course in the US. This course does not require an F1 Student Visa, so you may still be able to proceed with your study period abroad.
FAQs about the F1 Student Visa
Q: If I do not want to, or cannot, abide by this procedure, then how can I take an English Course in the US?
A: You can follow a General English Course of 20 lessons per week. This English Course does not require the F1 Student Visa.
Q: Why doesn’t Full-Immersion deal with Student Visas?
A: The US Embassy requires all candidates to apply in person for the F1 Student Visa.
Q: May I send a friend/ relative to the US Embassy to apply on my behalf?
Q: Are there Visa Agencies that look after the entire procedure?
A: Unfortunately not, as the US Embassy will require the interview to be held in person anyway.
Q: If I already have a particular Visa, will I be allowed to apply for the F1 Student Visa?
A: In these circumstances, it is best to contact the US Embassy directly.
General Information for all Courses
Local Currency and ATM Withdrawals
The local currency in the USA is the United States Dollar known as USD, its currency symbol is “$”. You will be able to withdraw cash from ATMs within the city. Keep in mind that in English the word that means “to take money” is “withdraw”. For security and peace of mind, we recommend that you contact your bank before your departure to ensure that you are able to use your card and take out funds and to check what fees apply. Withdrawal fees can typically be between be betweenor € 2.50 and € 5.00 per withdrawal.
SIM Cards and Mobile Phones
You will be able to buy a local sim card in any telephony / mobile phone center. A USA SIM card with Internet, SMS and Voice calls costs on average between $9 and $29. If you have a smartphone, it will be easier to remain in touch with family and friends using WhatsApp, Skype or Facebook and email. When using an American SIM card, if your friends and family wish to call you they will have to use the prefix 001 (or +1), followed by your local SIM card number. To call your family and friends back home you will need to use the specific prefix of the country/ state you are trying to call from, so be sure to double check this.
In the USA electricity flow is at 110 V; 60Hz – 2 pin plugs or round 3 pin plugs are used. You will be able to buy an electrical adapter at the airport. They generally cost around €8-€10.
Generally tap water is potable and drinkable in the USA unless signposted to indicate that it is not.
Minimum Age for Alcohol Consumption
The minimum age for alcohol purchase and consumption in the USA is 21 years. You may be asked to prove your age in bars and clubs so keep documentation to prove your age like an ID Card.
Smoking in public places as well as closed public places is illegal. You need to be at least 18 years old to buy cigarettes and you may be required to show ID to prove your age. Look around you before lighting a cigarette and make sure there are no no-smoking signs around.
Driving a Vehicle in the USA
The legal age requirement to drive in the USA varies state by state . In California its 16, in New york its 18. Most car rental places require that the driver be at least 26 years old, with a valid international driving licence and a credit card or enough cash to leave a deposit in case of damages.
Medical Insurance Information for All Courses
What you need to know about Medical Insurance
Medical Insurance is mandatory in order to study in t he USA. All foreign students who are preparing to take an English Course must be covered by medical insurance for the entire duration of their stay. You may be denied entry into the USA if you do not have proof of coverage, so be sure to contact a medical insurance provider to ensure that you are covered for medical expenses in the US. The European Health Card is not valid in the USA. You may wish to find your own insurance provider, however, you can ask for medical insurance directly when booking your English Course, which costs about $18 a week.
Medical Care and Emergencies
If you are out of school and in an emergency situation you can call 911 (just one number for ambulances, fire brigades and police departments) from any public or private telephone or go to the nearest hospital A&E department. You may have to wait in line for a while. You can also contact the school during office hours should something arise that is not necessarily an urgent situation.
If You Need a Doctor
If you are unwell or feeling sick, you may request help from the school reception, or use the emergency number of the school. You can also contact your health insurance provider to recommend a doctor nearby. You will have to take your medical insurance documents with you to the visit. nSome doctors, clinics or hospitals will require immediate payment. In this case, you will have to pay the fees and send the original invoice issued by the doctor or hospital to the address indicated on your insurance documents for reimbursement.