TOURIST OR STUDENT VISA?

The visa you will be traveling with is determined by the intensity of your English immersion.  If your main intention is sightseeing, going shopping, or visiting family, then it is suggested to apply for a tourist visa (B1/B2).  If you wish to pursue an academic route, a student visa (F1) is required. However, student visas are only granted to those who plan to study more than 18 hours per week.  Courses and stays that are under 18 hours per week are considered by the US Government to be solely for leisure, therefore the only possible visa that is attainable is a tourist visa.  All visas grant visa-holders extended periods of stays in the US. Tourist visa holders are allowed to remain in the US for up to 6 months; whereas student visa periods vary depending on course length. Student visas last the length of their studies and in addition, include a 60-day-grace period to remain in the US and travel upon completion of your course.  

Applying for a tourist visa is less complicated.  Be advised that although tourist visas can be valid for up to 10 years.  Tourists are only allowed to stay in the US for 6 continuous months visits and enroll in a course for a maximum of 18 hours per week before having to return home.

On the other hand, applying for a student visa requires more planning.  After enrollment of your language school of choice, you will receive an I-20 document.  This I-20 document will be required when scheduling your appointment with the US embassy in your home country.  You will need to prove that you have sufficient funds to study abroad and you will also need to provide evidence that your entry to the US is solely for academic reasons and nothing more.  Some of the documents that prove this are an employment agreement with an employer from your country, exchange agreement from your current non-US university, assets under your name such as local properties, etc.

Now that you know the difference between a tourist and student visa, you are able to start planning your study abroad trip.  You are always welcome to contact us if you have any questions!