Visas explained

Do you need a visa? That depends on your nationality or country of residence, where you want to study and how long you will be staying. Here's a brief overview.

USA visa applications

When to apply?

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement website recommends students contact the US Embassy or Consulate in their country 90 days in advance of their arrival in the USA. Please consider this when applying for a course at one of our schools in the USA.

What is the I-20 form and why do you need one?

The I-20 form proves you have been offered a place at a language school and have enough funds to support yourself during your time in the USA. You need the I-20 form when you apply for a Student Visa for the USA.

Embassy English can issue your I-20 form, but before we can do this, we need:

  • Your course application
  • USD 1,000 or more towards the costs of your course (this ensures we only provide the document to genuine students.)
  • A copy of a current bank statement as proof that you can support yourself

What is the Sevis fee?

The Sevis fee is paid to the US Department of Homeland Security. It’s required of all foreign nationals coming to the USA to study, except those arriving under the visa waiver program or on a Tourist Visa. The Sevis fee is separate from and additional to any visa application fees.

Students can pay the fee by one of two means:


Complete the form I-901 at the FMJ Fee website and supply the necessary Visa, MasterCard or American Express information. Your name must be typed exactly as it is appears on the I-20 form. Print a copy of the online receipt

By post

Either download and print out the form I-901 from the FMJ Fee website or request it by phone at 1-800-870-3676. Alternatively,contact us and request a copy.

Other points to note about Sevis

  • Complete the form, writing the name exactly as it appears on your I-20.
  • Send your cheque, international money order or foreign draft (US bank only) made payable to "The Department of Homeland Security" along with your form to the address detailed.
  • A form I-797 receipt notice will be mailed back within 3 days of processing the fee.
  • Students will not be given a visa interview unless they have paid the fee.
  • Take the receipt to the interview.  Embassies / consulates will be able to verify the fee payment without a receipt in most cases if the fee is paid far enough in advance of the interview (they suggest more than 3 days).
  • For more information see US Immigration and Customs Enforcement website.

UK visa applications

Find out if you need a visa on the UK Border Agency website.  In most instances, you will apply for a Tier 4 (General Student) visa or a Visitor visa.

Tier 4 (General Student) visas

  • If you're applying for a General Student Visa from outside the EU, you'll  be given a CAS number (Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies number). 
  • The UK Border Agency need this number to find out more about you, and we charge £14 to cover the cost of obtaining this.
  • Once we receive your CAS number from the Border Agency, we send you a CAS statement containing your number. It can take up to 48 hours to receive the number but it is usually quicker than this. In emergency cases when the student has their visa meeting the same or next day, we can request the CAS number to be issued immediately.  Please note this does not apply if you're enrolling on courses for less than 26 weeks: you will need to apply for a Student Visitor Visa in this case.

Visitor visas

Student Visitor Visas

Study in the UK for up to 6 months with these visas, for applicants aged 16+.

Extended Student Visitor Visas

Study in the UK for up to 11 months with these visas, for applicants aged 18+.

Note: If travelling to the UK on a different type of visitor visa, such as tourist, academic or business visa, you can study English for up to 6 weeks.  If, however, your main reason for coming to the UK is to study, then you need to apply for the relevant student visitor visa, see above.

Watch the video on this page created by the The UK Border Agency International Group (see right).

Unsure about what type of visa you will need to apply for?

Please Contact us or for detailed advice please contact the consulate or embassy of the country where you will be studying.

Consulate/embassy websites