Immigration Requirements For Study Abroad Programs | Berlitz US | Language + Culture = Berlitz
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Immigration Requirements

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Below you will find the most Frequently Asked Questions with regards to the Form I-20 for the F-1 Student Visa.

Who needs a Student Visa?

It is always recommended that students, whose main objective is to study, should enter the United States with an F-1 Student Visa.Students taking 18 clock hours or more per week should enter the United States with an F-1 Student Visa.Student should not apply for a B-1/B-2 (tourist) visa. If their main objective is to study, students will not be able to study full time on a B-1/B-2 visa.Once in the U.S. it is almost impossible to change to an F-1 visa status from B-1/B-2 visa. For more information and guidelines refer to the U.S. Department of State website:

How do students apply for an F-1 visa?

Once Berlitz Study Abroad (BSA) receives the application and all required documents, sales agent will receive the students Form I-20 (Certificate of Eligibility for Non-immigrant (F-1) Student Visa Status) along with an acceptance letter and course confirmation.Students are then responsible to pay the online SEVIS Fee at:http://www.fmjfee.comOnce the payment has been made, it is important to print a payment receipt.Students can then contact the United States embassy or consulate nearest to them in their home country and request an appointment.To find the United States embassy or consulate closest to you:

Can an I-20 student take vacation or break in study?

It is important for students to know the rules and regulations of their F-1 Student Visa. Students can request information at the US Embassy or online: Students must be reminded that Berlitz is neither a University nor a College – therefore Berlitz programs do not stop for summer vacation nor do they close for long religious holidays.Berlitz does close for National Holidays – classes will be made up, students will be informed of how the schedule will be arranged in order to make up for lost lessons. It is important to inform students that vacations or breaks in study at Berlitz are only approved after a student has taken at least 3 months of full study. If students leave the country they can take up to 5 months leave. If they stay in the United States, they are only allowed to take 2 to 4 weeks. All vacations must be approved by the BSA Department – students should not make any vacation arrangements without receiving written approval from the BSA Department.

What documents will be required at the visa interview?

Once the student has confirmed the visa interview – make sure they have all the necessary documents – the same documents submitted to BSA:
  • Passport – make sure it has not expired or close to expiration
  • Form I-20 (Certificate of Eligibility for Non-immigrant (F-1) Student Visa Status)
  • BSA course confirmation
  • Berlitz Admission/Acceptance Letter
  • Current financial statement (in English)
Why do you want to study in the United States?

Can a student’s family come to stay in the United States?

Only the student’s immediate family (husband or wife and children under the age of 18) can come with them. Family members will need to apply for the F-2 visa; BSA needs to receive the same documents in order to issue the Form I-20 for the dependents of the F-1 Student. Dependents have to provide the documentation to the United States embassy or consulate – financial resources must support the family while they are in the United States with the student. Dependents of the F-1 Student are NOT permitted to work in the United States.

When can a student enter the United States?

Students can enter the U.S. only 30 days before their start date – the start date that is on Form I-20.

How long can a student stay in the United States?

Once a student has completed their program they are allowed to stay in the U.S. for a 60-day grace period. It is the responsibility of the student to be aware of the date that the port of entry office indicated on the Form I-20.

Can a student work in the United States?

Students studying at Berlitz cannot work.Once a student completes their program and wishes to transfer to a university or college that offers on-campus work the student could apply for that type of program.

Are all Berlitz centers authorized to issue I-20s?

NO, not all Berlitz centers have authorization to issue the Form I-20 (Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F1) Student Status). All BSA locations are authorized by Federal law to enroll non-immigrant alien students.

Can a student transfer to Berlitz?

Yes, students can transfer into or out of another I-20 authorized institution. Student will need a transfer form and an acceptance letter from the institution to which they are transferring. The BSA Department must be informed and will assist the student.

Student will need to provide the following:

  • Completed and signed BSA application
  • Completed Transfer Form with release date and signed by  Designated School Official (DSO)
  • Copy of valid passport – picture page
  • Copy of Student Visa
  • Copy of Form I-94 card which is stapled to their passport
  • Current financial statement show sufficient funds for the program and living expenses

How long does it take to transfer a student?

Once BSA receives all the necessary documents and all pending issues with both institutions have been completed the actual transfer of the I-20 only takes 1 business day.

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