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Immigration FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions About Visas & Immigration

F-1 Visas | B-2 Visas | B-1 Visas | Other Visas | Transfers

 

F-1 Visas

Q: How can I apply for admission to the IELI to receive the SEVIS I-20 form?

Q: How long must I wait to receive the SEVIS I-20 application packet by mail?

Q: When must I send the school my application for admission and the I-20 form?

Q: What documents must I send the school to receive the I-20 form?

Q: How can I check if the school has received my application and documents? Will you contact me?

Q: How long does it take for the school to process my application for the I-20?

Q: When must I go to your school to take the placement test and complete my registration?

Q: Why must I go to the school four (4) weeks before my classes begin?

Q: What must I do if I cannot travel to the US before my reporting date?

Q: Can I change my semester starting date if I cannot travel to the US before classes begin?

Q: What can I do if my student visa request is denied? How can I apply for a refund?

Q: How long must I wait for my tuition refund?

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B-2 Visas

Q: Can I change my immigration status to an F-1 in the US if I have a B-2?

Q: How can I apply for an F-1 (student visa) in the US?

Q: Can I study in your program with a B-1, B-2, J-1 or another immigration status?

Q: Is it necessary to use a lawyer when you apply for a change of status in the US?

Q: Can your school help me prepare my request for a change of status?

Q: How long must I wait to receive an answer from Immigration (BCIS)?

Q: Can I begin classes at the IELI while I wait for Immigration to approve my request for the F-1?

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B-1 Visas

Q: Can I change my immigration status to an F-1 in the US if I have a B-1 or B-2?

Q: How can I apply for an F-1 (student visa) in the US?

Q: Can I study in your program with a B-1, B-2, J-1 or another immigrations status?

Q: Is it necessary to use a lawyer when you apply for a change of status in the US?

Q: Can your school help me prepare my request for a change of status?

Q: How long must I wait to receive an answer from Immigration (BCIS)?

Q: Can I begin classes at the IELI while I wait for Immigration to approve my request for the F-1?

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Other Visas

Q: Can I change my immigration status to an F-1 int he US if I have a J-1 or W/T?

Q: How can I apply for an F-1 (student visa) in the US?

Q: Can I study in your program with a J-1, W/T, or another immigration status?

Q: Is it necessary to use a lawyer with a J-1, W/T or another immigration status?

Q: How long must I wait to receive an answer from Immigration (BCIS)?

Q: Can your school help me prepare my request for a change of status?

Q: Can I begin classes at the IELI while I wait for Immigration to approve my request?

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Transfer FAQs

Q: How can I apply for a transfer to the IELI? Do I need a new I-20?

Q: What documents do I need to prepare to receive the SEVIS I-20 form?

Q: Can you accept copies for the financial documents I used for admission to my last school?

Q: Can I still transfer to the IELI if I did not attend my last school?

Q: Can I travel to my country before I begin classes at the IELI?

Q: When can I take the placement test and register for classes?

Q: What is Orientation? Do I need to attend?

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F-1 Visas

Q: How can I apply for admission to the IELI to receive the SEVIS I-20 form?

A: You must complete a SEVIS I-20 application form and send the school proof of financial support from your sponsor. You can be your own sponsor. Click here to download the application information packet.

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Q: How long must I wait to receive the SEVIS I-20 application packet by mail?

A: If you are not in the United States, it may take 3 to 4 weeks for the information packet to arrive. Regular airmail is very slow. Therefore, it is a good idea to apply for a new course at least 4 months in advance.

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Q: When must I send the school my application for admission and the I-20 form?

A: The I-20 information packet indicates the application deadlines for each semester of the academic year. If you do not send us your documents on time, we cannot guarantee that your admission request will be approved for the semester you choose.

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Q: What documents must I send the school to receive the I-20 form?

A: The SEVIS I-20 information packet comes with complete instructions to follow.  Before you send us your application, be sure you and your sponsor include the following documents:

  • I-20 application
  • Sponsor's affidavit
  • Sponsor's proof of salary
  • Sponsor's bank letter
  • Immunization record
  • Tuition check
  • School grades (if you are applying to a university after your ESL studies)

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Q: How can I check if the school has received my application and documents? Will you contact me?

A: You can contact the school 3 weeks after you have mailed your documents to find out the status of your application.  The school will contact you only if there is a problem with your application. Please make sure to write a contact number or email address on your application.

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Q: How long does it take for the school to process my application for the I-20?

A: All I-20 requests take 2 to 3 weeks to be processed if the application is complete. The school will mail the approved I-20 to you or your sponsor by Express Mail, if you have paid the additional $42.00 fee. If you do not pay the express mail fee, the I-20 will be sent by regular airmail (3 to 4 weeks).

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Q: When must I go to your school to take the placement test and complete my registration?

A: Your new SEVIS I-20 has a school reporting date listed under Section #5. This reporting date is approximately 4 weeks before classes begin. On this day, you must come to the IELI Student Services Department with your new I-20 so that the school can activate your student record.  A student counselor will also tell you how you can make an appointment for the placement test.  

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Q: Why must I go to the school 4 weeks before classes begin?

A: Testing and registration at the IELI take place approximately 4 weeks before a semester begins. If you do not report early to the school you will not find a good program schedule. You are also required to attend an orientation seminar for new students.

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Q: What must I do if I cannot travel to the U.S. before my reporting date?

A: If you cannot travel to the U.S. before the reporting date on your I-20, you must contact the school immediately. If there is still space available for testing and registration, the school will approve an extension of your reporting date. In general, reporting dates cannot be extended by more than one week.

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Q: Can I change my semester starting date if I cannot travel to the U.S. before classes begin?

A: You are permitted to change your school starting date twice (2 times) if you cannot begin classes in the semester you have chosen. You must return the I-20 you received from the school and request a new semester starting date.

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Q: What can I do if my student visa request is denied? How can I apply for a refund?

A:  If your student visa is denied, you have up to 1 year to apply for a refund of your tuition. During this time, you may also request a new I-20 to apply again for the student visa. Be sure that you read carefully the IELI refund policy on the application form. To request a refund, you must return the I-20 form with a copy of your receipt of payment.

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Q: How long must I wait for my tuition refund?

A: The refund request takes between 6 to 8 weeks to be processed. The check will then be mailed to the address you or your sponsor indicated on the application form. All checks are sent by regular airmail (3 to 4 weeks). If you paid your registration online, your tuition refund will go directly to your credit card approximately 2 weeks after it has been processed.

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B-2 Visas

Q: Can I change my immigration status to an F-1 in the U.S. if I have a B-2?

A: It is possible to apply for a change of immigration status to an F-1 in the U.S. However, there is no guarantee that it will be approved by the Immigration Department. The most important thing is to make sure that your B-2 has not expired.

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Q: How can I apply for an F-1 (student visa) in the U.S.?

A: First, you must bring your passport and I-94 (Arrival/Departure card) to the IELI Student Services Department. If you are eligible to apply for a change to an F-1 in the U.S., you will receive information about the steps to follow and what documents to prepare.

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Q: Can I study in your program with a B-1, B-2, J-1 or another immigration status?

A: If you intend to become a full-time student at the IELI, you must apply for the F-1. You are permitted to take a short part-time English course with your B-1, B-2 or J-1 if doing so does not interfere with your primary activities as a tourist or exchange scholar/student in the U.S.

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Q: Is it necessary to use a lawyer when you apply for a change of status in the US?

A: It is not necessary to use an immigration lawyer to change your status in the U.S. However, if you decide to use the services of a lawyer, he/she must write a letter to the school that says you will be represented.

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Q: Can your school help me prepare my request for a change of status?

A: The IELI International Student Advisor can review your documents and immigration forms and help you present your request to the Immigration Department.

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Q: How long must I wait to receive an answer from Immigration (BCIS)?

A: Generally, Immigration takes about 3 months to review and approve a request for a change of status to F-1.

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Q: Can I begin classes at the IELI while I wait for Immigration to approve my request for the F-1?

A: Students are strongly recommended to wait for an approval from Immigration before they begin their full-time studies.

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B-1 Visas

Q: Can I change my immigration status to an F-1 in the U.S. if I have a B-1 or B-2?

A: It is possible to apply for a change of immigration status to an F-1 in the U.S. However, there is no guarantee that it will be approved by the Immigration Department. The most important thing is to make sure that your B-1 has not expired.

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Q: How can I apply for an F-1 (student visa) in the U.S.?

A: First, you must bring your passport and I-94 (Arrival/Departure card) to the IELI  Student Services Department. If you are eligible to apply for a change to an F-1 in the U.S., you will receive information about the steps to follow and what documents to prepare.

Back to top

Q: Can I study in your program with a B-1, B-2, J-1 or another immigration status?

A: If you intend to be a full-time student at the IELI, you must apply for the F-1. You are permitted to take a short part-time course with your B-1, B-2 or J-1 if doing so does not interfere with your primary activities as a tourist or exchange scholar/student in the U.S.

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Q: Is it necessary to use a lawyer when you apply for a change of status in the US?

A: It is not necessary to use an immigration lawyer to change your status in the U.S. However, if you decide to use the services of a lawyer, he/she must give you a letter for the school that says you will be represented.

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Q: Can your school help me prepare my request for a change of status?

A: The IELI International Student Advisor can review your documents and immigration forms and help you present your request to the Immigration Department.

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Q: How long must I wait to receive an answer from Immigration (BCIS)?

A: Generally, Immigration takes about 3 months to review and approve a request for a change of status to F-1.

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Q: Can I begin classes at the IELI while I wait for Immigration to approve my request for the F-1?

A: Students are strongly recommended to wait for an approval from Immigration before they begin their full-time studies.

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Other Visas

Q: Can I change my immigration status to an F-1 in the U.S. if I have a J-1 or W/T?

A: You can request permission from the Immigration Department to change your J-1 status to an F-1 (student). However, you cannot change your W/T in the U.S. 

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Q: How can I apply for an F-1 (student visa) in the U.S.?

A: First, you must bring your passport and I-94 (Arrival/Departure card) to the IELI Student Services Department. If you are eligible to apply for a change to an F-1 in the U.S., you will receive information about the steps to follow and what documents to prepare.

Back to top

Q: Can I study in your program with a J-1, W/T or another immigration status?

A: If you intend to be a full-time student at the IELI, you must apply for the F-1. You are permitted to take a short part-time course with your J-1 or W/T if doing so does not interfere with your primary activities as an exchange scholar/student or tourist in the U.S.

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Q: Is it necessary to use a lawyer when you apply for a change of status in the US?

A: It is not necessary to use an immigration lawyer to change your status in the U.S. However, if you decide to use the services of a lawyer, he/she must give you a letter for the school that says you will be represented.

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Q: How long must I wait to receive an answer from Immigration (BCIS)?

A: Generally, Immigration takes about 3 months to review and approve a request for a change of status to F-1.

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Q: Can your school help me prepare my request for a change of status?

A: The IELI International Student Advisor can review your documents and immigration forms and help you present your request to the Immigration Department.

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Q: Can I begin classes at the IELI while I wait for Immigration to approve my request?

A: Students are strongly recommended to wait for an approval from Immigration before they begin their full-time studies.

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Transfers

Q: How can I apply for a transfer to the IELI? Do I need a new I-20?

A: In order to transfer to the IELI, you must first get permission from the school you last attended. Next, you must request a SEVIS I-20 from the IELI in order to transfer officially.

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Q: What documents do I need to prepare to receive the SEVIS I-20 form?

A: You must complete the IELI transfer application form and show the school written proof that you have a sponsor that will support you. You can also be your own sponsor if you meet the IELI's financial requirements for admission.

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Q: Can you accept copies of the financial documents I used for admission to my last school?

A: We recommend that you bring your admission documents to the IELI  Student Services Department. A student counselor will review them and tell you if they can be used for your transfer to the IELI.

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Q: Can I still transfer to the IELI if I did not attend my last school?

A: If you did not report to your previous school or attend classes regularly, you may have a violation of your F-1 status.  To determine if you can transfer to the IELI, you must meet with the International Student Advisor to discuss your situation.

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Q: Can I travel to my country before I begin classes at the IELI?

A: You may be able to travel to your country before you begin classes at the IELI. However, you must first request the I-20 for your transfer and register for classes.

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Q: When can I take the placement test and register for classes?

A: You must contact our school one month before the new semester begins to make an appointment for the placement test. After you take the placement test, you will receive a registration appointment.

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Q: What is Orientation? Do I need to attend?

A: Yes! Orientation is a required part of your registration at the IELI.  At orientation, you will receive very important information about your classes and your responsibilities as an F-1 student. You will also learn about the services that are available to all IELI students.

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