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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Student (F-1) Visa and I-20

Do I need student (F-1) visa to study at your school?

If your primary purpose for coming to the U.S. is to enroll and complete a full course of study in one of our English language training programs, you will need to apply for a student visa. If you are planning to travel to the U.S. primarily for tourism, you may be eligiable to take a short, part-time study in a course that is avocational or recreational in nature such as an English language training. However, we strongly suggest that you inquire at your local U.S. Embassy or Consulate before you travel to the U.S. for updated regulations.

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When do I need to apply for my student (F-1) visa?

You may apply for your student (F-1) visa as soon as you are prepared to do so. But because the waiting time for an interview appointment can vary, TLI strongly encourages you to apply for your student (F-1) visa early to provide enough time for visa processing. However, please note that Embassies and Consulates are not able to issue your student (F-1) visa more than 120 days prior to the begining of your study at TLI. If you apply for your student (F-1) visa more than 120 days prior to your start date, the Embassy or Consulate will not process your application and hold your application until it is able to issue the visa.

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What do I need to apply for a student (F-1) visa?

Generally, as part of the visa application process, an interview at the embassy consular section is required for visa applicants. At the interview, you must provide:

  • A Form I-20, Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F-1) Student Status-For Academic and Language Students. TLI will provide you the Form I-20.
  • A completed application, Nonimmigrant Visa Applicant, Form DS-156, together with a Form DS-158. Some applicants will also be required to complete and sign Form DS-157.
    Quick Link: The electronic version of the DS-156.
  • A passport valid for travel to the United States and with a validity date at least six (6) months beyond the your intended period of stay in the United States.
  • One (1) 2x2 photograph.
  • A MRV fee receipt to show payment of the visa application fee and a visa issuance fee, if applicable.
  • A separate SEVIS I-901 fee receipt (only the F-1 principal must pay the SEVIS fee).
  • Financial evidence that shows you or your parents who are sponsoring you have sufficient funds to cover your tuition and living expenses during the period of your intended study. Financial evidence can be income tax documents and original bank books and/or statements; if you or your sponsor own a business, business registration, licenses, etc., and tax documents, as well as original bank books and/or statements.

Other than those items you should be prepared to provide:

  • Transcripts and diplomas from previous schools attended.
  • Scores from standardized tests required by the educational institution such as the TOEFL, SAT, GRE, GMAT, etc.

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Can I get a Form I-20 from your school?

Yes. The Language Institute is an SEVP-Certified school. We are approved by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement or USICE, which is a bureau of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, to accept and enroll foreign students and to issue 'Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F-1) Student' or I-20 to foreign students through the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System or SEVIS.

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How long can I stay in the United States as an F-1 student?

When you enter the United States on a student (F-1) visa, you will usually be admitted for the duration of your student status. The U.S. immigration allows you to stay in the United States for as long as you are enrolled in a full course of study, maintain your student status and making normal progress toward completing your course of study in an educational program at an SEVP-Certified school such as The Language Institute.

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Can I bring my spouse and/or children to the United States with me?

Yes. If you request, The Language Institute will issue a Form I-20 for each of your dependents to apply for for a dependent (F-2) visa.

At the visa interview, you must also provide a proof of the your relationship to your spouse and/or children (e.g., marriage and birth certificates.) It is recommended that your family apply for F-1 and F-2 visas at the same time. However, if your spouse and/or children must apply separately at a later time, they should bring a copy of your passport and visa, along with all other required documents.

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SEVIS and SEVIS I-901 Fee

What is SEVIS?

SEVIS is an Internet-based system that maintains accurate and current information on non-immigrant students (F and M visa), exchange visitors (J visa), and their dependents (F-2, M-2, and J-2). SEVIS enables schools and program sponsors to transmit mandatory information and event notifications via the Internet, to the Department of Homeland Security and Department of State (DOS) throughout a student or exchange visitor's stay in the United States.

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What is SEVIS I-901 fee and how mush does it cost?

SEVIS I-901 fee is a one-time fee that you are required to pay to the U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement before you apply for (F-1) student visa. For more information about SEVIS I-901 fee please visit their website.

The current SEVIS I-901 fee is $200 per F-1 student.

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When should I pay SEVIS I-901 fee?

You must pay the I-901 fee as soon as you receive your I-20 from us and, of course, before you have a visa interview. The USICE suggests that you pay the I-901 fee at least 4 business days before your scheduled interview, if you pay the fee online. You will need information on your Form I-20 to complete the online form at www.fmjfee.com.

Please be advised that the US Embassies and Consulates will not process your visa application if you have not paid the SEVIS I-901 fee.

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How can I pay SEVIS I-901 fee?

The easiest and most convenient way to pay the I-901 fee is to pay directly online at www.fmjfee.com with a credit card.

If you prefer, you may also pay the fee through The Language Institute. We will not charge you an extra service fee for this, but you must send the I-901 fee ($200) to The Language Institute and make a specific request on your application form.

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Can I pay the SEVIS I-901 fee with check?

Yes, you can pay SEVIS I-901 fee with check, but it must be a draft drawn on a financial institution in the United States and payable in the United States currency. Make your check payable to I-901 Student/Exchange Visitor Processing Fee.

When paying with Cashier’s check or International Money Order, you can fill in the Form I-901 online at www.fmjfee.com, print a payment coupon and mail the payment coupon along with your check payment to:

I-901 Student/Exchange Visitor Processing Fee
1005 Convention Plaza
St. Louis, MO 63101 United States
Phone Number: 1-314-418-8833

We suggest that you use courier service such as FedEx, UPS, or DHL for more reliable and faster service.
We do not recommend sending I-901 fee by mail as it may delay your visa application.

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Application for Admission

How do I apply to The Language Institute?

Simply send a completed application form, a copy of your passport, high school diploma and financial support documents to us along with the correct amount of fees to us. Read how to apply for more details.

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What is the deadline to apply to your school?

The Language Institute offers open-enrollment program which allows new students to begin their class at any time. There is no specific deadline to send your application to us. However, we suggest you to send your application to us as soon as you can or at least 8 weeks prior to your program start date. That should give us enough time to process your application and send an I-20 to you.

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What do I have to send to you with my application?

Along with a completed application form, a copy of your passport, a copy of your high school (or college) diploma, and financial support documents, you are also required to send your payment which includes the followings:

Application fee - $50 nonrefundable
I-20 processing fee - $100
Express mailing fee - $65 nonrefundable

If you request other service(s), you must also send your payment for the service(s) at the same time:

Housing placement fee - $350 nonrefundable
Airport pick-up fee - $105 nonrefundable

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When will The Language Institute process my application?

Normally, we process your application as soon as we receive your application form and all of the required documents. However, please note that we cannot send your I-20 to you unless payment which includes all service fees is received.

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What is financial support document?

Financial support document is an official letter issued by your bank or financial institution. Financial support document can be a bank statement and/ or verification letter showing your current financial standing. Your financial support documents must show that sufficient funds are available for your tuition and living expenses while study at The Language Institute. Please note that the financial support documents must be written in English and shows available funds in U.S. dollars.

If you have a sponsor, your sponsor must prepare a financial document and also complete our Affidavit of Support.

We suggest that you prepare at least two copies of all financial documents, send one copy to The Language Institute and submit another copy to the U.S. embassy when you apply for student visa.

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How do I make payment after I applied?

You can make payment by using one of these methods: (1) mail bank draft, cashier's check, or international money order to The Language Institute, (2) wire transfer money directly to our bank account or (3) use cardit card (VISA or MasterCard only).

Please read our Payment Policy for more details.

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Can I use credit card to pay fees?

Yes, you can use credit card to pay your fees. The Language Institute currently accepts VISA and MasterCard only. Please note that you will pay 2% additional charge for using foreign credit card. You must also complete credit card authorization form and sent it to us to complete your credit card payment.

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How can you guarantee that I will receive my I-20?

We send I-20 and other acceptance documents to students using expedited mail service courier such as FedEx to most cities around the world. Expedited mail guarantees that you will receive your documents within a short period of time, usually 2-3 business days to most major cities.

However, if you don't live in a major cities, the cost of expedited mail service may exceed the express mailing service fee that you paid ($65) to The Language Institute. In this case we will send your I-20 using express mail service provided by the United States Postal Service (USPS). The USPS express mail is also reliable but it usually takes additional 1-3 business days.

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Housing & Airport Pick-Up Service

What kinds of housing are available?

The Language Institute can arrange an American host family. We can also arrange a dormitory or a hotel for you if you plan to stay for a very short time.

If you plan to stay in Pasadena for at least one year, we can also help you arrange apartment. However, we will help process your application after you already arrive in Pasadena as most apartment require a long-term agreement.

Please read our Housing Placement Service for details.

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Is there a deadline to request housing service?

There is no deadline, but we strongly suggest that you request housing service at least 6 weeks before you arrive in Pasadena. In fact, we prefer you to request housing service at the same time you send your application to The Language Institute.

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Do I have a chance to choose a host family?

Due to a limited number of host families, we do not allow you to choose your homestay family by yourself. However, our housing coordinator will try the best to arrange a host family who can accommodate your requests or preferences you provide on your housing service application form. Therefore, it is very important that you answer all the questions on the application form and provide additional details to us as much as you can.

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What will happen if I cannot get along with my host family?

There may be conflicts between two individuals at any place and any time, especially when those individuals are from different families, cultures, and backgrounds. We ask you to try your best to adjust and adapt yourself to the new environment. However, in case that you and your host family cannot really get along or if there is something that really makes your stay with the host family uncomfortable, it is your responsibility to inform and discuss with school official within the first few days after you moved in.

Our housing coordinator will investigate and try to solve problem and conflict between you and the host family before making decision to move you to the new house. If the problem or conflict cannot be solved, we may choose a new type of housing if there is no homestay family available at that time. You may be placed in a dormitory or a hotel for a short term at your own expenses while our housing coordinator arrange another homestay family for you.

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Can I move to a different host family after my term ends?

The service fee ($350) you paid covers one time housing placement service. You can ask to stay with a different host family to broaden your experience and we can help you arrange the change. However, please note that you will need to pay housing service fee one more time.

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Can your school send someone to pick me up from the airport?

Yes, we can arrange an airport pick-up service from the Los Angeles National Airport (LAX). The service fee ( $105) covers a one-way transportation from LAX to school or to your host family, apartment, or dormitory. You must send your airport pick-up request form and the service fee to The Language Institute at least 2 weeks prior to your arrival.

It is your responsibility to tell us all necessary information at least 48 hours before your arrival.

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Transportation

What kinds of transportation are available around your school?

The Language Institute is located in the financial district of downtown Pasadena. This means that there are many options of transportation. Public buses stop in front of our school and nearby bus stops. Subway (Metro Gold Line) station is only three blocks from our school.

It is also safe to ride bicycle to school. A lot of Americans and many of our students use bicycle as their transportation.

If you choose to drive a car to school, there are several parking structures/lots nearby. You can also park on streets near school. Please note that you are responsible for parking fees and applicable taxes.

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Can I get discount for public bus and subway when I am enrolled in your program?

L.A. Metro's Reduced Fare Programs allow qualified students to obtain special TAP cards and purchase reduced-rate monthly passes. You must be enrolled in a minimum of 12 hours of in-classroom study per week for a minimum of 3 consecutive months. Current monthly pass costs $43.

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