I-20 Certificate of Eligibility for Non-Immigrant Student Status
An I-20 is a document that ECI English Language Program will send to you after you complete the application process (ECI English Language Program is authorized by SEVIS to issue I-20's). This form is used to obtain an F-1 student visa. Before the applicant appears for a visa interview at the U.S. Embassy, he/she has to pay the Visa application fee, as well as SEVIS fee (I-901 fee).
Pre-Arrival Letter
This letter will be sent to you, along with your I-20, to show than you have been accepted by the ECI English Language Program.
F-1 Student Status
This is a non-immigrant status for students who attend elementary, secondary, (private high-school), and post-secondary schools (universities - public and private), as well as ESL (English as a Second Language) Schools.
This is a dependent listed on the F-1 student's I-20.
B-1/2 (Visitor/Tourist Visa)
This is a tourist Visa for the purpose of visiting the United States and short cultural programs. If you would like to take language courses while in the U.S. along with your leisure activities, this is permitted only to limited numbers of classes per week (10 classes).
This is a small, white form that you will fill out at the Port of Entry. It will be stamped and stapled to your passport. This form shows how long you are permitted to stay in the United States of America.
Port of Entry
The first airport at which you land and go through customs.
This is what should be stamped on your I-94 and I-20 (in red ink) at the Port of Entry. "D/S" means "Duration of Status." This simply means that as long as you are a full-time student and in good status, you have permission to stay in the United States. If "D/S" is not stamped on your I-94 or I-20, please notify the director of ECI ELP immediately at 1-888-446-5437 (toll free within the United States).
Visa Interview

It is important to check the procedures in your country before contacting the American Embassy or Consulate. Go to travel.state.gov to find out the procedures in your country.

Remember the following when preparing for an interview at the American Embassy or Consulate.
  1. Apply as soon as possible at the American Embassy or Consulate (obtaining a visa can take up to two months in some countries).
  2. Make sure your passport is valid for at least six month into the future.
  3. Make sure you pay the Visa application fee to the bank account provided by the American Consulate in your home country. In addition to the visa application fee, you are required to pay the SEVIS fee (I-901 fee). You can pay the SEVIS fee by going to the website www.ice.gov. You must pay by credit card (Visa, Master, American Express). After you pay your SEVIS fee you will immediately receive a receipt; print the receipt and present it at your Visa interview on the scheduled date.
  4. Take your signed I-20, financial documentation, acceptance letter (this will be sent with your I-20), the receipt of your remittance of the visa application fee, the receipt of your remittance of I-901 SEVIS fee, and your passport to the American Embassy or Consular Offices in your area. Your financial documentation should include bank statements, certified letters of credit, annual salary, and the total available or anticipated assets of your immediate family.
  5. You may have two interviews: one at the American Embassy or Consulate in your country and another at the Port of Entry. Do not pack your I-20, passport, financial information, or acceptance letter in your suitcase. You will need to present your passport when you go through Customs, and you will need all of this information if you have a second interview at the Port of Entry.

Interview Tips

Prove that you will return to your country. The interviewer will always assume that you are not going to return to your country. It is your responsibility to prove that you have strong reasons to return to your country. You can do this by any of the following:
Showing that all of your family lives in your country and not in the United States of America.
Showing that you have a job waiting for you when you return.
Showing that you have assets in your country.

Prove that you have sufficient funds. You will need to show that you have enough money to travel overseas, and all your information will need to be in order.

(Information taken from www.brandeis.edu)

Important Facts to Remember

  1. The earliest a student can enter the United States is 30 days before the program start date.
  2. A student has 30 days to return to his or her country after completion of the program. Any student that is authorized to withdraw before the completion date has 15 days to return to his or her native country. If a student withdraws without authorization, he or she must return to his or her country immediately.
  3. All students must report an address change while in the United States within 10 days of moving (even dependents need to be reported).
  4. The student is responsible to request an extension on his or her I-20 before the completion date expires. Requests should be made to the director of ECI ELP.
  5. To transfer to another school, a student must
    • Apply and be accepted to the transfer school.
    • Inform his/her current school of the transfer by no later than the last day of the current program.
    • Inform the transfer school of transfer date.
    • Complete the transfer process no later than 15 days after the first day of class at the transfer school.
  6. F-2 dependents cannot enroll in a full-time program except for avocational or recreational purposes. F-2 children may enroll in elementary or secondary schools full-time (kindergarten through 12th grade).
  7. An F-1 student may not work during the first year but may apply for employment after one year of study. He or she should check with the student advisor.
  8. ECI ELP is required to report the following to immigration:
    • A student that is not in status or has not reported to the school
    • A student's change of name
    • A student that has finished the program early
    • Disciplinary action against a student for crime
    • Any notice that immigration (SEVIS) requests from the school
    • The student's start date for the next session
    • A student's current address
For additional information or to obtain INS forms, visit www.immigration.com.

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