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Visa Information

EC English Language Centres

When you book a course at an EC School in the United States, we give you all the help you need to make your visa application go smoothly.

What's a F-1 Student Visa?

The F-1 Visa (Academic Student) allows you to enter the United States as a full-time student. To learn English in America you will need a F-1 student. This depends on the number of weeks you will study, and the program type you choose.

In order to study on this visa you need to take a course of 18 hours (24 lessons) or more per week, i.e. Semi-Intensive (18 hours) or Intensive English (22.5 hours) courses. If you would like to take the General English course of 20 lessons per week you would not be able to study on an F1 visa.

When you have been accepted onto English course with EC, we send you an I-20 form. This is the first step in the student visa application process. With the I-20 form you can apply for a F-1 student visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate. A Form I-20 is a government form that tells the U.S. government that you are eligible for F-1 Student Status.

U.S. Department of State - Student Visas Website

How do I get an I-20 Form?

Before EC sends out an I-20 you must send us:

  • Full or deposit payment for your course and accommodation .
  • A copy of your passport (personal information page).
  • A financial statement (bank statement) from you or a sponsoring business or individual which:  a) shows at least USD$3500 for every four weeks studying (financial proof of funds are only calculated in one month intervals for example, four week course or less = USD$3500, 6 week course = USD$7000, 8 week course = USD$7000) and b) is less than 60 days old.
  • If the statement is not in your name, an Affidavit of Support form signed by the person whose bank statement you provide must also be submitted.

What is the processing time for an I-20?

Once we have received all of the above things we will issue your I-20. Your I-20 will be mailed by express mail service. Depending on your location, it typically takes 4 to 7 days for you to receive your I-20 by mail after we have issued it.

How long may I stay on my visa?

On a student visa you may stay as long as you are a full time student, and maintain your student status, even if the F-1 visa in your passport expires while you are in America. After completing the course of studies, you are allowed to stay for an extra 60 days to prepare for your return home. This 60 day grace period is dependent upon maintenance of student status, and upon completion of your full enrollment.

When should I apply for my visa?

U.S consulates require in person interviews for most visa applicants. You can schedule your visa appointment up to 120 days before your course start date and you will need to pay your SEVIS fee ($350 which can be paid online at https://www.fmjfee.com/i901fee/index.html ) for your I20 prior to the appointment.

When can I enter the USA?

The visa will normally allow you to enter the USA up to 30 days before the reporting date shown on the I-20.

What's SEVIS?

SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) is the internet-based database system which tracks and stores information on the visa status and activities of international students holding F-1 and J-1 visas in the USA.

Please note that the SEVIS fee (which students need to pay in order to apply for a visa) is $200. This money is not collected by EC but is payable directly to SEVIS. This fee is non-refundable even if a visa is denied.

Do I need health insurance?

Yes, it is required by EC that you have coverage for health insurance from your country or obtain insurance coverage from EC at time of enrolment or on your first day at the centre.

Transferring my I-20 to EC within the US

If you are interested in transferring to EC, please contact the EC school you would like to study at so we can confirm your status and give you the appropriate documents.
F-1 students are required to have a valid form I-20 from their current place of study at all times. Students who have been maintaining their F-1 student status at another school in the US may transfer to EC without leaving the US.

To obtain an EC I-20 without leaving the US, you must follow the DHS transfer procedure. DHS regulations require the transfer procedure be completed within the first 15 days of beginning attendance at EC; failure to follow this procedure will render you out of status.

You can begin this process by submitting the required documents and completing your enrolment at EC. Once you have been accepted, you should notify the International Student Advisor at your current school of your intent to transfer to EC, and give them a copy of your acceptance letter and a signed transfer form in order for your SEVIS record to transfer to EC.

The transfer-out procedure must be requested within 60 days of completing your program at your current school.

Once your SEVIS record has been released to EC, we will issue your EC I-20. Students must pick up their I-20 at the school on their first week of class.

How do I maintain my student status?

Students on an F1 visa are required to study a minimum of 18 hours per week (EC’s Semi-Intensive or Intensive courses) and maintain at least 80% overall attendance in order to remain in full status. Students studying with EC will receive three warnings to bring their attendance up to 80% before their I20 is terminated for a failure to maintain status. Students who are terminated are eligible to transfer to another F1 certified school and apply for re-instatement of their student status or must leave the country within 15 days of termination.

Do I need a visa to learn English in the UK?

You need a visa if you are not a European Union (EU) or European Economic Area (EEA) national.

Types of visa:

  • Course is less than six months: Student Visitor Visa (SVV)// Short Term Student (STS)
  • Course is between six and eleven months: Extended Student Visitor Visa (ESVV)/ STS
  • Long term courses leading to university education: General Student Visa (GSV)

Student Visitor Visa (SVV) / Short Term Student (STS):

  • This visa is for non-EEA/EU nationals taking English courses less than 6 months long.
  • Available to students of all levels, including Beginner.
  • You must use the application form VAF 1D, which is available on the Visa Services website.
  • To get a SVV you will need to have a visa support letter from us which we will send you after receiving full payment.
  • This visa cannot be extended from within the UK. You must apply for a new visa from your home country.
  • You cannot work in the UK with this visa.
  • You may transfer to another course/school within the time you are studying provided you do not stay in the UK for longer than your visa states.

Extended Student Visitor Visa (ESVV):

  • Students of all nationalities (including non-visa nationals) who are planning to come to the UK to study an English language course between 6 and 11 months long.
  • Available to students of all levels, including Beginner.
  • You may transfer to another course/school within the time you are studying provided you do not stay in the UK for longer than your visa states.
  • To get an ESVV you will need to have a visa support letter from us which we will send you after receiving the full payment.
  • To get this visa you must have proof that you have enough money to pay your fees and living expenses while you are in the UK.
  • You cannot work in the UK with this visa.
  • This visa cannot be extended from within the UK. You must apply for a new visa from your home country.

General Student Visa - CAS

Another visa is available for long term courses, continuing with university education:

  • Normally intended for long term: Academic Year and Business Year courses.
  • Minimum English language level requirement of: B1 = Intermediate = IELTS 4.0 = TOEFL 53 and above.
  • Secure English Language Test (SELTS) required dated not older than 2 years.
  • This visa can sometimes be extended/changed from within the UK, visit the UK visa services website for more details.
  • You cannot work in the UK with this visa.

You will need a Study Permit (student visa) if you want to take a course of over 6 months.

If you want to study for less than 6 months, you need a Visitor's Visa. You can study English for a maximum of 6 months with a Visitor's Visa.

Tourist Visa

You may attend as a tourist for a maximum 6 months. You must have the following documents when you arrive in Canada:

  • a valid passport
  • a Letter of Acceptance from an EC school
  • a Canadian Temporary Resident Visa (tourist visa) if your country requires this visa to enter Canada 
  • proof of sufficient funds to cover expenses while you are in Canada
  • a return airline ticket to your country or some other destination

Study Permit

If you’ve been accepted to study at a Canadian designated learning institution, plan ahead!

Apply as early as possible for your study permit and make sure you understand the requirements for travelling while studying in Canada. A study permit is not an entry document.

Depending on your country of citizenship, you will automatically be issued a visa or an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) when your permit is approved.

Please note that if you extended or renewed your study permit before May 1, 2017, you may need to apply separately for an eTA.

If you plan to travel outside of Canada while on a study permit, before your trip, always make sure that you have the proper, valid documents to re-enter the country.

 For more deatails visit: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/visit/eta.asp

More information is available at the Canadian government website www.cic.gc.ca/english/study/study.asp

Visiting the USA

If you want to visit the USA during your stay in Canada and require a visa from the USA you should obtain the visa before leaving home.

Fees and Payment Methods at EC Montreal

When you apply for your CAQ for studies, a fee is charged to examine your file.

Fee for foreign students in effect since January 1, 2019 - $114 CAD.

Courier Charges

Charges for sending a Letter of Acceptance by courier must be paid by the student. Courier charges will be included on the invoice. At the latest, courier charges can be paid by the student on the first day at school. Courier charge is $90 CAD.

Custodianship Declaration Form

Some younger students require a Custodianship Declaration Form when they are coming for longer than 24 weeks and require a Study Permit: At EC Vancouver: students who are less than 19 years of age. There is a charge for the Notary to sign the Form. Plus there is a second charge if it needs to be sent by courier.

Accreditation and Memberships

EC schools are fully accredited by leading accreditation bodies and authorities. Accreditation means that we have been assessed by international organisations and found to have high levels of quality service

Whether you need a visa to learn English in Malta depends on your nationality and the length of your stay.

Check out this list of nationalities which need a visa to enter Malta for 90 days or less and those nationalities which do not need a visa to enter Malta for 90 days or less.

If you require a visa in order to enter Malta, then you must apply for one of the following:

a) a long term/national visa (Schengen Type D) from Malta's diplomatic missions or consular posts which will cover the full duration of your stay. Students on a type D visa cannot extend their stay once in Malta.


b) a short-stay visa (Schengen Type C) when applying at representations, where Malta has no consular post. Students on a type C Visa staying for a period longer than the maximum 90 days must then apply for a Temporary Residence Permit once in Malta in order to continue their studies.

All embassies will ask you to provide some documents when applying for a visa. Below is a list of what is generally asked for but please note that this may vary from embassy to embassy:

  • Passport
  • Copy of the main page of the passport
  • One passport-size photograph
  • Application form
  • Invitation letter in original (no email, no fax) mentioning personal and passport details of the applicant/s, duration of the stay, duration of the course, cost and whether the fee of the course has been paid or not
  • Confirmation of payment of the course
  • Confirmation of the place where the applicant will stay (hotel, family, friends...)
  • Flight reservation from your country to Malta
  • Declaration from the school
  • Medical insurance
  • Financial guaranty (minimum 28 Euro per day of stay)
  • Certificate of personal address in your country
  • Family information
  • Visa fee: 82USD up to 90 days, 102 USD more than 90 days (approximate)

All documents required from EC will be sent to you only when we have received full payment.

What will happen if the visa is refused?

If the visa is then refused and you let us know in writing at least one week before your arrival date, we will refund the full sum of money (excluding any bank charges).

If the visa is refused and you inform us less than 1 week before your arrival date, a cancellation fee of 1 week accommodation and tuition will apply. Since some embassies require the original documents (not faxed or emailed) we will courier (DHL) the original documents to you. The price for this is of 88 euros – this fee should be included in the original payment of course and accommodation booked.

How to apply for a Temporary Residence Permit in Malta?

If you are following a course which is longer than 3 months, you will then need to apply for a Temporary Residence Permit before the 90 days are over to cover your study period in Malta.

Contact the Department of Citizenship and Expatriate Affairs by sending an email to eresidence.mfa@gov.mt to set up an appointment. The appointment will be confirmed via email. Please note the office is open on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 8.30 to 11.30 am.
You can apply for a long stay permit for a period of up to one year, or for the remaining duration of the course
Your application will be processed over 8 weeks

What documentation is required for a Temporary Residence Permit in Malta?

List of required supporting documents for student national D visas

Submit the following at the Department of Citizenship and Expatriate Affairs in Valletta:

  • The standard Application Form (CEA/20) duly filled-in and signed (available from the EC Reception)
  • Two (2) passport-size photographs
  • A letter of acceptance from EC which will include details on course being undertaken (available from the EC reception)
  • Means of support (foreign transfers, bank account etc.) amounting to the minimum amount of €48 per day for the duration of the course and/or extension
  • A health insurance policy valid for Malta for the duration of the course and/or extension

Documents added to an application which are issued abroad must be translated in English and the authenticity of the translation must be certified by a Notary. Documents issued abroad must be legalised or confirmed by a certificate (apostille), unless otherwise stipulated by an international agreement.

If you are considering visiting Cape Town and the Western Cape , here's some basic information for entry requirements to South Africa .

  • For detailed information on visas you may visit the South African Department of Home Affairs website or visit the South African Department of Foreign Affairs website.
  • Visitors from the following countries all require a visa: Hungary, Poland, Russia, Slovakia, Korea, Thailand, Taiwan and Saudi Arabia.
  • If you need a student visa and are under 21 years of age, you will require guardianship, which costs €50; EC offers this guardianship. (Not applicable for students arriving on a visitor’s visa).
  • Please note that for entering South Africa, immigration requires that all passengers have a valid passport and at least four pages are needed to remain blank for the issuing of stamps. The passport also needs to be valid for the duration of the stay and six months after departure.
  • Visas are not required for European countries if their stay does not exceed 90 days.
  • Namibian passengers are not required to have visas if their stay does not exceed 30 days.
  • Turkish nationals will get a 30 day visa on arrival.
  • If you are not entitled to an entry permit, you will need to get a visa from your local South African Embassy.
  • You will also require a visa if you intend to work or study, take part in a sport event or take up permanent residence.
  • If you are subject to visa requirements, you will need to apply for your visa at least 4 weeks before you depart at your nearest South African Embassy, High Commission or Consulate.
  • You will have to await the outcome of your visa application before you depart.

Applying for a Visa for Ireland

You will need a visa if you are not a European Union (EU) or European Economic Area (EEA) national, or a national of certain selected countries.

Here is the list of countries requiring a visa to study in Ireland:


Types of visa:

To study for less than 90 days: C visa (Visit-Tourist visa)

For courses longer than 90 days: D visa (Study visa)

C visa (Visit-Tourist Visa)

  • This visa is for non-EU/EEA nationals taking English courses for less than 90 days.
  • Available to students of all levels, including Beginner.
  • To get a C visa (Visit-Tourist visa), students will need to have:
    • A visa support letter from us which we will send you after receiving full payment.
    • Evidence of Finances
    • Medical Insurance
    • Evidence of Education/Employment history
    • This visa cannot be extended.
    • Students cannot work on this visa, paid or unpaid.
    • All visa students are required to attend their courses. Students with an attendance lower than 85% may have problems with a future visa extension/renewal.

D visa (Study-Work Visa)

  • This visa is for non-EU/EEA nationals taking English courses for longer than 90 days.
  • Available to students of all levels, including Beginner.
  • To get a D visa (Study-Work visa), students will need to have:
    • A visa support letter from us which we will send you after receiving full payment.
    • Evidence of Finances
    • Medical Insurance
    • Evidence of Education/Employment history
    • After entering the country, students must apply for permission to stay in Ireland and register with Immigration at a registration office before the date stamped on their passport at border control.
    • This visa can be extended in Ireland.
    • Citizens from countries outside the EU/EEA who are registered as full-time students with the Garda Síochána are permitted to work part-time in Ireland (up to a maximum of 20 hours per week, and full-time during specified holiday periods) to support themselves. Holiday periods are: June, July, August and September, and December 15th - January 15th.
    • All visa students are required to attend their courses. Students with an attendance lower than 85% may have problems with a future visa extension/renewal.
    • Students may transfer to another course/school if the other school is a recognised provider on the ILEP.


Students Under 18

Parental consent from all parents/guardians is required.

Details of the person in whose care the minor shall be must be provided with the application. Unless students are under the care of other individuals or organisations (e.g., family members, Embassy) this will be undertaken by EC.

Study visas for students under 18 years do not give any entitlement to any other family member to accompany or join the student.

Long Term Courses D visa (Study-Work Visa) students

Non-EEA students on a course of 25 weeks or longer (to a limit of 32 weeks, which is the total length of the visa) are required to take an external examination at the end of their course.

EC will recommend an appropriate exam (IELTS, FCE, or CAE) based on your level and help you register for an exam at a local external testing centre.

Exam fees must be paid at the time of booking (approx. €200).

EC will keep a copy of your test results. These may be made available to immigration authorities upon request.

Please speak to the school academic team if you have any questions about your exam.

As a member of Marketing English in Ireland (MEI), EC guarantees that all students will be able to complete the courses for which they enrol, as they are covered by a recognised learner protection scheme and will be placed in another MEI school should they be displaced in the event of a school closure. 


Applications for visas from supported countries can be made online at: https://www.visas.inis.gov.ie/avats/OnlineHome.aspx

This website also contains a comprehensive guide to completing a visa application in English, Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian, Turkish and Urdu.

Application forms from unsupported countries can be downloaded from http://www.inis.gov.ie/ and sent to the Irish Embassy or Consulate in, or accredited to, the student’s country of residence.

If there is no Irish Embassy or Consulate in your country, send your visa application to your nearest Irish Embassy or Consulate, or to:

The Visa Office
Irish Naturalization and Immigration Service
13-14 Burgh Quay
Dublin 2

Students who do not require an entry visa to enter Ireland (EU/EEA national or from a non-visa country) should have all documentation relating to their booking with them when going through immigration, including:

  • Booking Confirmation/Receipt
  • Proof of adequate medical insurance

Student visa

With this visa you can:

1) study a full-time course on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS)
2) apply online in or outside Australia

Things to note
You must be enrolled in a course of study in Australia.

You must hold Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) (or fall in one of the exemption categories) for your stay in Australia.

If you are under 18, you must prove you have a welfare arrangement:


for more information visit:


All Students studying in New Zealand on a programme of more than 3 months' duration must have a student visa.

For courses of less than 3 months, you may need a visa, depending on your nationality. For more detailed information, please refer to the New Zealand Immigration website:

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