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Immigration and Visas
Thank you for your interest in studying at CELOP. Students can study full-time or part-time at CELOP depending on the visa status. Please refer to information on the Program Landing page for your program(s) of interest to determine which category your program falls under.
Students accepted to a CELOP Full-time program are required to get a student visa and will receive an I-20 Certificate of Eligibility which is used to apply for an F-1 student visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your country.
It is recommended that you apply for your visa early to allow for possible delays in processing. Information about visa processing times and other important related topics, can be found at the US Department of State website “Study in the States.” We encourage you to visit this website.
All students applying for an F-1 student visa will also be required to pay a separate SEVIS fee.
According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP): F-1 Visa students can arrive into the United States no earlier than 30 days from the official start of their program. The official start to any CELOP program is the first day of class. For more information about arrival procedures, please refer to the CBP website.
If you have any questions about immigration or visas, please contact CELOP’s Foreign Student Advisor/DSO.
If you are planning to study at CELOP part-time and short-term only, a tourist visa or visa waiver is all you need. Visitors in B-1/B-2 or WB/WB visa waiver status may be able to take non-credit, part-time English classes considered short-term and recreational in nature. If you plan to stay in the US longer-term and for full-time study at an ESL school or university, you should get a student visa.
If you are already in the United States on a B-1 or B-2 visa, and hope to study full-time, you will either have to apply for and be granted a change of status before you can begin studying at CELOP. Alternatively, you could return to your home country to get an F-1 student visa. Please contact CELOP’s Foreign Student Advisor/DSO to schedule an appointment to discuss your immigration options.
How to prepare for your F-1 student visa interview
We recommend that you review US Department of State (DOS) information on the F-1 visa process, including documents required for your visa interview.
Note: The DOS website states that “Some embassies and consulates require visa applicants to bring one (1) photo, which meets requirements, to the interview. Review the embassy or consulate instructions where you will apply to learn more.”
Information on how to pay the required SEVIS fee can be found at the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) website. NAFSA’s Association of International Educators’ website also provides helpful advice about the visa interview that we recommend you visit.
If your visa application is denied, we suggest that you request the reason for the denial in writing. Please read the Visa Denial information on the DOS website and contact the Foreign Student Advisor/DSO for suggestions that may strengthen your next application.
Below please find important information and links to getting a student visa and coming to the US:
- I am in the US as a visitor B1/B2 visa holder. Can I take full-time classes at CELOP?
If you are in the United States on a B-1 or B-2 visa, you will have to apply for a change of status before you can study full time at CELOP. This can be a long process and you may be required to return to your home country to get your F-1 student visa. Please contact the Foreign Student Advisor/DSO to schedule an appointment to discuss your immigration status.
- Can I bring a dependent?
Yes, you can apply for a dependent I-20 if you are planning to have one of the following family members join you during your studies at CELOP:
- Your spouse (husband or wife)
- Your child – under the age of 21
If you wish to have a dependent arrive with you to the US, complete the dependent information on the online application. If you request to add a dependent after you receive your SEVIS record/I-20, it may take up to 2 weeks to issue the dependent I-20. For more questions about bringing a dependent, contact the Foreign Student Advisor/DSO.
- I am conditionally admitted to another program at Boston University (BU), but I have a SEVIS record/I-20 just for CELOP. How do I get a new SEVIS record/I-20 for the other program at BU?
Contact the specific admissions office for the BU program that conditionally admitted you. Once you are fully admitted to that BU program, the admissions office for that program will work with BU’s International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO) to issue you a “level change” SEVIS record/I-20. Contact the specific admissions office for the BU program that conditionally admitted you to find out what document they will need to start the SEVIS/I-20 “level change” for you.
- I will attend a CELOP program before my academic program at another university, which SEVIS record/I-20 should I use for the F-1 visa interview?
If you will attend a full-time program at CELOP before your full-time program at another university, you must first use CELOP’s SEVIS record/I-20 for your F-1 visa interview. After you arrive to CELOP, you can work with CELOP’s Foreign Student Advisor/DSO to transfer your SEVIS record/I-20 to the other university.
- I have finished my CELOP program, what should I do with the I-20 from CELOP?
Please keep all original copies of I-20’s issued to you and organize them by date of issue and make copies for safekeeping. Depending on your situation after CELOP, you may need to submit copies of those I-20’s when applying for visa renewals or future benefits from the US government, such as post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT).