Visa - United States visa

United States visa

You may need to apply for a visa when studying at Kaplan International. It is your responsibility to apply for a visa, as visa application is a US government process; however, we may be able to provide you some helpful information and resources to guide you through the process. You can find out more information about the visa requirements to study in the US here.

Part 1: Obtaining an I-20

You can change your start date any time before entering the U.S.; however, you must contact Kaplan International English to confirm your new start date and there must be time for us to send you a revised I-20.  It is required by U.S. law that you enter the U.S. with an accurate I-20 for your studies, failure to abide by this can result in problems at the U.S. Port of Entry and/or U.S. Embassy/Consulate and may result in denial of entry to the U.S.
Once you enter the U.S. you cannot postpone your start date, there are no exceptions to this rule; however, if you want to begin studies before your start date, this may be acceptable.  Please note, U.S. law does NOT permit entry to the U.S. more than 30 days before your I-20 start date.

Last updated: 08 December 2015

You can change your start date any time before entering the US; however, you must contact Kaplan International to confirm your new start date and there must be time for us to send you a revised I-20. It is required by US law that you enter the US with an accurate I-20 for your studies, failure to abide by this can result in problems at the US Port of Entry and/or US Embassy/Consulate and may result in denial of entry to the US.

Once you enter the US you cannot postpone your start date, there are no exceptions to this rule; however, if you want to begin studies before your start date, this may be acceptable. Please note, US law does NOT permit entry to the US more than 30 days before your I-20 start date.

Last updated: 19 April 2021

The I-20 is the document showing you have been accepted into a SEVP-certified school for full-time study.  You will need the I-20 to pay the SEVIS I-901 fee and apply for an F-1 student visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate.  You will also need to bring your signed I-20 with you, when you travel to the U.S.

Last updated: 29 October 2019

Please see Kaplan International’s document called Instructions for F-1 Student Applications for a complete list of documents required to get an I-20 from Kaplan International Languages.

Last updated: 26 March 2020

"Once a completed application is submitted and payment is received, it will take approximately 2 weeks for you to receive your I-20 via courier service. As of April 2020, I-20s may be signed and sent electronically to the student; in these cases, the I-20 will be emailed to the student as soon as it has been created. (Note: This is a temporary flexibility but may become permanent; the electronically-issued I-20 will remain valid for use for at least 12 months however.)

It is very important that you first obtain your I-20 before making a visa appointment and that you refrain from making travel plans until you have your I-20 and have received your passport and visa.

 

Last updated: 19 April 2021

Kaplan International has rolling admissions, which means there are no specific deadlines. However, you should allow at least 2 weeks for Kaplan International to process your application and to issue your I-20. The process may take longer if you originally submit an incomplete application. Once you receive your I-20 you should allow 2 months to receive your F-1 visa.

Last updated: 26 March 2020

The I-20, also called a “Certificate of Eligibility”, confirms that the student has been admitted to a school that is approved by the US government to enrol non-immigrants. The I-20 is issued by the Designated School Official (DSO) at the school where the student intends to study and is required by the US Embassy/Consulate to obtain the F-1 visa. In addition, F-1 students must maintain their status while studying at Kaplan (please see “What are the study requirements of Kaplan International?” for further information), and communicate regularly with their DSO to ensure they do not violate the terms of their F-1 visa.

Last updated: 19 April 2021

Your I-20 is valid for as long as you are enrolled at a SEVIS-certified school in the US and are maintaining your F-1 status.

If you wish to extend your course, you must request this before your last day of study; if approved for the extension, your I-20 will be extended as well. After your last day of study you may be permitted a grace period of up to 60 calendar days to transfer to another school or depart the US; the length of your Grace Period will depend on whether you have maintained your status.

Last updated: 19 April 2021

If you believe you need to continue studies after your current program end date, you must speak to your DSO to see if you qualify for an extension. It is important that you pace yourself during your studies to ensure you meet your academic goals in a timely manner and hence complete your studies with Kaplan International by the end date listed on your I-20.

Please note, all requests for I-20 extensions must be made to your DSO before your last day of study. I-20 extensions will not be granted if requested after your last day of study. There are no exceptions to this policy.

Last updated: 19 April 2021

You may receive your I-20 by regular mail or by courier. In general, there is no additional mailing fee for regular mail service. If you choose courier service then there is a courier fee. We strongly recommend using a courier service over regular mail for international shipments, in order to track your shipment. If you apply to Kaplan International within 4 weeks or less of your proposed start date, then your I-20 will be sent via courier service and you will be charged for this fee.

Please note that as of April 2020, I-20s may be signed and sent electronically to the student; in these cases, the I-20 will be emailed to the student as soon as it has been created.This method is greatly preferred as it is more secure and faster than either regular mal or courier service. (Note: This is a temporary flexibility but may become permanent; the electronically-issued I-20 will remain valid for use for at least 12 months however.)

Last updated: 19 April 2021

If you have not received your F-1 Student Visa yet, you can change your Kaplan International school location. You must contact us to confirm the new location and to obtain a new I-20 for your new school; note, a change in school location requires a new I-20 with a new SEVIS ID number. If you have already paid the I-901 fee, you must transfer the SEVIS I-901 fee to the new I-20. Your original I-20 will be cancelled which means you cannot use it to obtain a visa or enter the US.

If your visa has already been issued, you can change locations but you will need to consult with the US Embassy/Consulate to find out if you will need a new visa. (US law requires that the name of the school on your I-20 match the name of the school on your visa for successful entry to the US. If the school names do not match, you may be denied entry to the US.) Regardless, Kaplan can issue a Letter of Support to explain the different ID numbers, on request.

For information on how to pay the SEVIS I-901 fee or how to transfer a previously paid fee to a new I-20, go to https://fmjfee.com. Kaplan cannot assist you with the SEVIS fee.

Last updated: 19 April 2021

USA visa information

A non-immigrant visa is an immigration document that permits a citizen of a foreign country to enter into the U.S. for a temporary period of time. It also determines what a non-immigrant is allowed to do while in the U.S. There are many different types of visas, depending on the reason for coming to the U.S. For instance, if your primary purpose for entering the U.S. is to study, it is in your best interest to get an F-1 (student) visa. For more information about obtaining a visa, please visit the US Department of State website.

Last updated: 16 December 2019

Yes, it is your responsibility to apply for and obtain the proper visa to study at Kaplan International, as visa application is a US government process. We may be able to provide you some helpful information and resources to guide you through the process.

Last updated: 19 April 2021

No, we must have a program start date to process your application and issue you an I-20. You should chose a date which will allow you sufficient time to complete your applicaiton, receive your I-20, apply for your visa and travel to the US. visa and secure accommodations before entry to the US

Last updated: 19 April 2021

Part 2: Obtaining an F-1 (student) visa

An F-1 student visa is a travel document that permits a student to travel to a port of entry and request permission to enter the U.S. for the purposes of full-time study for a temporary period of time.  A visa does not guarantee entry to the U.S., as each individual is inspected at the port of entry by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol Officers to ensure that the person is entering the U.S. for the same purpose the visa was issued for.

More information regarding U.S. student visas can be found at: http://travel.state.gov/content/visas/english/study-exchange/student.html/

Last updated: 25 March 2020

No. All visas are issued by the U.S. Department of State at a U.S. Embassy/Consulate abroad.

Last updated: 28 January 2020

First, apply to Kaplan International English.  If you are eligible for admission, Kaplan will issue you a Form I-20.  Second, after you receive the I-20, you must pay the SEVIS I-901 fee online at www.fmjfee.com. Finally, apply for a student visa by contacting your U.S. Embassy/Consulate in your home country.

You may find a list of U.S. Embassies and Consulates here, http://www.usembassy.gov/

Last updated: 25 March 2020

In general, you are expected to visit the U.S. Embassy/Consulate in the country for which you hold citizenship (i.e. the country that issued your passport). If your country does not have a U.S. Embassy/Consulate or if you are currently located in a different country to the one that issues your passport, you should contact the closest U.S. Embassy to see if they can accept your application for an F-1 visa. To learn more about your local U.S. Embassy, visit US Department of State website.

Last updated: 11 January 2016

For a list of items required by the U.S. Embassy/Consulate for an F-1 visa, visit the website for your local U.S. Embassy at US Department of State website.

Last updated: 11 January 2016

The average wait time varies from country to country. See their website to confirm how long it takes at your local U.S. Embassy/Consulate.

Last updated: 25 March 2020

Kaplan International English does not issue your visa and therefore cannot confirm for how long it will be valid. Instead, you should confirm this information with your local U.S. Embassy/Consulate.

Last updated: 11 January 2016

 No, Kaplan International Languages and its representatives are not permitted to assist you with completing any government documents.  You are solely responsible for submitting your U.S. visa application.

Last updated: 26 March 2020

Kaplan International English does not issue visas and therefore cannot confirm the likelihood of approval. However, you should note that visa issuance is not guaranteed.

Last updated: 13 September 2017

If you are denied a visa, you should ask the Consular Officer for the reason for your denial, in writing, before you leave the Embassy/Consulate.  You have the right to request the denial in writing.

If the reason for the denial or delay in obtaining your visa was caused by a mistake on your I-20, please contact us immediately and we will revise your I-20 to assist you in getting your visa. 

If no reason is stated or a different reason is stated, then it is unlikely that Kaplan International English can provide any further assistance.  Remember, visa acquisition is a U.S. government process, Kaplan is not involved with these decisions and cannot change their decision.   

If you are unable to obtain a U.S. visa, you may want to consider learning English in your home country using Kaplan online courses.

Last updated: 26 March 2020

You will be refunded in full minus the courier fee and application fee. Please provide the letter of visa denial from the Embassy.

Last updated: 04 February 2020

Other requirements: Evidence of financial circumstances

Yes, US law requires that we collect documentation to verify you are able to support your studies and stay in the US for the duration of your program before an I-20 can be issued. This can be any of the following: 1. Payment in full (including Kaplan-arranged accommodation); 2. Bank Statement (no more than 6 months old, in your name, and converted to USD); 3. Government Sponsor Financial Guarantee; 4. Letter of Support and Bank Statement from Sponsor (e.g. spouse, employer, relative); and 5. Letter from bank verifying sufficient funds (must be in English and not more than 6 months old).

Note, the US Embassy/Consulate will also ask you for similar proof of financial resources when you go to your visa appointment.

Last updated: 19 April 2021

Yes. You can show funds through multiple accounts and/or multiple sponsors, if necessary.

Last updated: 26 March 2020

If the amount paid to Kaplan International is equal to the cost of study (= tuition & fees as well as living expenses) as indicated on your I-20, you will not be required to submit separate Proof of Financial Resources (POF). If the amount paid is less than the cost of study, you will be required to submit separate Proof of Financial Resources. This means that if you do not have Kaplan-arranged accommodation, you will need to provide Proof of Fincial Resources of at least $1000USD for every month you will be at Kaplan to cover your living expenses. If you have dependents, you will also need to show Proof of Financial Resources for the living expenses of any dependents you will bring with you (e.g.. spouse or child).

Last updated: 19 April 2021

You must show an amount equal to your full cost of study including living expenses, whether you are in Kaplan-arranged accommodation or not, for yourself and any dependents. We require all students to pay in full before their start date.

Last updated: 19 April 2021

Entry into the USA

You may enter the US with your I-20/ F-1 visa no more than 30 days before the start date listed on your I-20; the earliest date for admission is listed on your I-20.

Last updated: 19 April 2021

If you are unable to arrive in the US by the start date listed on your I-20, you should contact us before you enter the US and ask to postpone your start date. We will send you a revised I-20 with your postponed start date. If there is not enough time for us to send you the updated I-20 (e.g. delayed arrival due to flight cancellation), we can issue a Letter of Support on request.

Last updated: 19 April 2021

In general, be prepared to show the US Customs and Border Patrol Officer the documents listed below. Do not pack these documents in your luggage. If these documents are incomplete or missing, this can result in being detained and/or denied entry. US Customs and Border Patrol may ask you for other documents as well.

  • Your signed Form I-20 (If you are under 18, then you parent/guardian must also sign your I-20)
  • The signed I-20s for any Dependent's
  • Your Kaplan International Letter of Acceptance
  • A valid (non-expired) F-1 Visa (F-2 Visas for all dependents)
  • A valid (non-expired) Passport (depending on your country of citizenship, your passports may need to be valid for 6 months beyond your course end date)

 

Last updated: 19 April 2021

The I-94 is also called the “Arrival/Departure Document.” Entry and status for visitors to the US arriving by air or sea is electronically recorded online. Before departing the Port of Entry area, you should immediately check your “Electronic I-94” record to confirm your entry and status were correctly recorded. If it not correct, go back to the Customs and Border Officer and ask for it to be corrected. Students entering the US through other means, such as by land border, may receive a paper I-94 attached to your passport/visa. Regardless of whether your I-94 is paper or electronic it should always state the correct date you entered the US, your visa type (e.g. F-1, F-2, B1/B2), and how long you are able to stay (for F-1s this should say “D/S” or “Duration of Status” meaning you are able to stay in the US as long as you remain a student.).

If you have been provided a paper I-94, you must surrender it to a US Customs and Border Patrol Officer or a representative from your commercial carrier upon departure from the US. To look up your Electronic I-94 record go to: https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/#/home More information regarding the I-94 can be found here, http://www.cbp.gov/travel/international-visitors/i-94-instructions

Last updated: 19 April 2021

Form I-515A is a government form given to travellers who are missing documentation required for entry to the US (e.g. missing or incomplete I-20). If you are given this form by a Port of Entry Officer, you must submit that documentation to the government within 30 days after entry. If you do not meet this deadline, you will fall out of legal status and will have to leave the US immediately. If you are given this form, please speak to the DSO at your school immediately so they can assist you with obtaining the necessary documentation. Students are solely responsible for submitting the required documents themselves. For more information about Form I-515A, go to https://studyinthestates.dhs.gov/2013/01/what-form-i-515a

Last updated: 19 April 2021

Once you have entered the US, you are required to begin your studies no later than the Program Start Date listed on your I-20. There are no exceptions for this. If you do not meet this requirement, your I-20 will be terminated, you will fall out of legal status and you will have to leave the US immediately. If you are outside the US and unable to travel to the US in time for your start date, please contact us and we will update your I-20 by postponing the start date.

Last updated: 19 April 2021

Visa terms questions

Once you have your visa, you may start your course as soon as you are able to travel to the US. Some courses have specific start dates; your Kaplan representative can give you more information. Please plan your travel to allow sufficient time for your application to be accepted, your I-20 to be isssued and your visa appointment to be scheduled.

Last updated: 19 April 2021

No, we must have a program start date to process your application and issue you an I-20. You should chose a date which will allow you sufficient time to complete your applicaiton, receive your I-20, apply for your visa and travel to the US. visa and secure accommodations before entry to the US

Last updated: 19 April 2021

Yes. The student’s spouse and any children under the age of 21 can travel as dependents. The dependent will be issued a “Dependent I-20” under the student's I-20; there is no SEVIS fee for the dependent I-20. Each listed dependent will need to apply for a F-2 visa.

Yes, US law requires that we collect documentation to verify you are able to support your studies and your dependents during your stay in the US for the duration of your program before an I-20 can be issued. This can be any of the following: 1. Payment in full (including Kaplan-arranged accommodation); 2. Bank Statement (no more than 6 months old, in your name, and converted to USD); 3. Government Sponsor Financial Guarantee; 4. Letter of Support and Bank Statement from Sponsor (e.g. spouse, employer, relative); and 5. Letter from bank verifying sufficient funds (must be in English and not more than 6 months old).

In addition to proof of funds, please also provide the following:

  • A copy of each dependent’s passport, and
  • A written statement of the relationship of each dependent to you.

Note: it is recommended that the dependent go to the visa interview with the student and travel with the student.

Last updated: 19 April 2021

As an F-1 student visa holder, you will be required to maintain full-time status for the duration of your program with us; this includes studying full-time (18 or 22 hours/ week depending on your course) and maintaining at least 80% attendance. You will learn more about our attendance requirements on your first day of class.

Last updated: 19 April 2021

If you do not meet our full-time study requirements, you risk falling out of legal status with the following consequences:

  • Your I-20 will be terminated
  • You will no longer be eligible to study with Kaplan International
  • You will no longer eligible for a Certificate of Achievement.
  • You will be required to leave the US immediately, or remain in the US and immediately find a school that will accept your terminated transfer I-20 and sponsor you for reinstatement.
Last updated: 19 April 2021

As an F-1 student, your primary purpose for staying in the U.S. must be for full-time study and you must be able to afford your stay without resorting to work.  In general, F-1 language study students cannot work.   There are very limited exceptions to this rule; if you think you qualify for such an exception, please speak to your Designated School Official (DSO) at the school.   If you are known to be unlawfully employed (without an EAD card and/or DSO approval) then your I-20 will be terminated.

Last updated: 19 April 2021

No. Kaplan International students are not eligible for practical training (OPT/CPT) under any circumstance.

Last updated: 19 April 2021