Can I come to the U.S. to study English?


I live in China. I would like to study in college in United States. But my English not good. Can I get visa to come to U.S. to study only English?


Yes, it is possible to obtain a visa to come to the United States for the sole purpose of learning English. If the English language program you would like to sign up for is a full-time course of study, or lasts longer than one year, you will need to apply for F-1, academic student status. For more information on the eligibility requirements and application process, see “An F-1 Visa to the U.S.; Do You Qualify?” and “Application Process for an F-1 or M-1 Visa.”

Learning English is not considered vocational – in other words, it doesn't consitute practical training in an occupational field -- so applying for an M-1 student visa will not work in your situation.

If, however, you are just hoping to sign up for a short, part-time English language class, there is another alternative. You can apply for a B-2 tourist visa, under which visits of up to six months may be authorized. See, for further information, “A B-2 Visa for Visiting the U.S. as a Tourist: Do You Qualify?”.

After you feel more comfortable in English, you can apply to U.S. colleges and then apply once again for an F-1 visa.  

There is another possibility to consider, however. If your English is almost good enough for American classroom study, you may be able to find a college that will allow you to take English classes as part of your curriculum, with the idea that the classes will enable you to catch up quickly. Some schools offer special programs to get you up to speed, for example in the summer before the start of formal classes.

If, however, it looks like you’re going to be spending so much time learning English that you can’t maintain the rest of your studies, your F-1 visa in that situation is likely to be denied.

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