US Visa Information

Applying for the F-1 Visa

CESL will issue the student applicant an I-20 document after we receive your complete application. Use the I-20 to apply for the F1 student visa to come to study in the USA.


If you are applying for a student visa for the first time, an in-person interview is usually required. June, July, and August are often the busiest months, so it might be difficult to get an appointment during this time. Don't wait until the last minute! You are encouraged to apply for your visa as soon as you know when you plan to study. Allow several weeks for planning and getting an appointment for the visa. You can call the embassy or go to the embassy web site for information and instructions. Be sure to allow time to pay the SEVIS fee and print your receipt. Click here to pay the fee online.


When you go to the Embassy for your interview, you must take a receipt for the payment of the SEVIS Fee. For students applying for the F-1 visa, this is $200.00. There is no fee for your dependents. For complete information and instruction about how to pay see

When you fill out the Form I-901 you will need two numbers.

  • Your SEVIS ID number is in the upper right hand corner of your I-20.
  • CESL's school ID number is PHO 214F00092000

if you plan to pay the SEVIS fee with a credit card, CESL can complete Form I-901 for you when we process your application and prepare your I-20. In that case, we will express mail the SEVIS fee receipt to you with your I-20. You may authorize CESL to pay this fee on your CESL application. We will charge you a $25.00 service fee.


Contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate near your home, and make an appointment for your visa interview. Then prepare your documents.

This list includes some documents you will need to apply for the visa.  Always verify the documents you need in order to apply at the consulate or embassy where you are applying for the visa stamp.

  • Form I-20 from CESL and your CESL admission letter
  • A complete DS-160 non-immigrant visa application with a photo of each person applying. These forms are available on the embassy's website.
  • A passport valid for at least 6 months beyond your expected stay in the U.S.
  • A receipt for the visa processing fee for each applicant.
  • Financial documents that show you have sufficient money to pay tuition and living expenses during your time in the U.S. 
  • Proof of your relationships to your spouse and children if you are married and/or have children and will bring them to the U.S. with you.
  • The CESL Fact Sheet
  • Evidence of previous English study.​

Be prepared to show evidence that you have strong economic, social, family, or career ties to your home country. 

  • you have a residence in your home country
  • you intend to return to that residence
  • you will leave the US when your course of study is completed
  • you hope to find a job where English is required


The consular official may ask you many questions regarding your studies and why you want ot come to the U.S.  Below are some questions to think about before going to the interview.

  • Professional development - How will you use English when you get back to your country? Why is it important for you to know English?
  • Do you intend to study another subject once you have finished our English program? What subject? Why do you need English?
  • Talk about learning English more quickly and efficiently by studying in the US with interaction with many native speakers.
  • Talk about your choice of English program. Show that you know about the school you have applied to and be able to explain your choice if you can.
  • We have enclosed a Fact Sheet entitled Why CESL is the BEST CHOICE for you. We have listed the things about CESL that we think are our advantages. Take the Fact Sheet to the interview with you in case the officer asks about our program.


When you apply to CESL, we will send you a Form I-20. You must use the I-20 to secure your F-1 Student Visa at the US Embassy nearest to you. Before your interview you must fill out Form I-901 and pay the $200.00 SEVIS fee.

If you decide to go to another school, you must return our I-20 to CESL.

In order to get your visa the consular official must determine that you need to improve your English skills for a specific reason, such as a better job or higher education. You should show how you have begun to prepare for this goal by already studying English, but that you can learn more quickly and efficiently by first-hand knowledge of the US culture and interaction with many native speakers in an intensive environment. The most advanced teaching methods and technical help in language learning can be found in the US, and CESL at the University of Arizona is a leader in intensive English language teaching. 

Learn where Tucson is and why CESL is the best place for you to study English.

Can you Study full or part-time?

  What kind of visa do you have? full-time? part-time?
F-1 Full- time student yes Only in addition to the full-time program of study
F-2 Dependent of full- time student no yes, up to 10 hours a week
F-3 Commuter visa. Only for Mexican residents on the border no yes
J-1 Visiting or exchange scholar Yes, if this is the primary purpose for the visa yes
J-2 Dependent of exchange visitor yes yes
H/L H or L-1s can only study if it does not interfere with their work; they need permission of employer. H and L dependents can study full or part-time yes yes

Arrival in the U.S.

When you enter the U.S., you must show your passport with visa stamp and I-20.

  • You may not enter the U.S. more than 30 days before the start date on your I-20.
  • You must leave the U.S. within 60 days of the end of your program of study..
  • If you transfer to another program or school before you begin at least one session at CESL, there is a $500.00 non-attendance fee and limited refunds. To initiate the transfer we must receive the fee as well as the admission letter and transfer form from the new school.

Message from Customs & Border Protection regarding the new I-94 System

Customs & Border Protection (CBP) has stopped issuing paper I-94 Arrival/Departure Record cards (the white cards that were stapled in your passport).  Now, instead of the paper I-94s, CBP is using an automated system.

To assist in understanding this change, we would like to present you with the following resources:

We request that all students checking in with our office bring a copy of the print out from the CBP Admission (I-94) Number Retrieval portal.   If there is a mistake, it will need to be corrected immediately.

    "If you come to study here at CESL, I guarantee that you will never regret it."