Studying in the United States on ESTA US Visa

Studying in the United States on ESTA US Visa

Studying in the USA

Students looking to pursue a short term course in the US can do that on a ESTA US Visa (US Visa Online).

With numerous famous universities and colleges in the USA it is not surprising that international students choose to study in the USA, from pursuing a particular course that is available at a specific US college, to gaining scholarship, or even just to enjoy living in the country whilst studying.

So whether you are planning to study Science and Engineering at Caltech, or find a course at one of the more affordable colleges for international students, such as University of Texas at Austin, you will need to do some research and preparation in order to make the move to study in the US.

While you will need a Student Visa to study in the USA for a long duration course or to study full-time, students looking to pursue a short term course in the US universities and colleges can instead apply for ESTA US Visa (or Electronic System for Travel Authorization) also known as US Visa Online.

Finding the right course

There are so many different universities to choose from that it can be a major challenge to select the one that is right for you. You should also think about the cost of the course and the city you are going to live in, as the cost can vary greatly from one college to another. If you want to search in one particular state or easily find the different courses at different locations a good place to start your research is

If you are still unsure about your choice then it might pay to visit a few colleges in person before you make your selection. You can travel to United States on an ESTA US Visa (US Visa Online) instead of acquiring a student visa whilst you are just visiting. This will give you a much better idea of whether the campus and the local area is the right fit for you before you start your course.

Another advantage of coming on ESTA US Visa (US Visa Online) instead of Student Visa is that you will not have to enroll for medical insurance something that is mandatory when it comes to student Visas.

Which courses can I take with an ESTA US visa (US Visa Online)?

The ESTA US Visa (or US Visa Online) is online and automated system implemented under Visa Waiver Program. This online process for ESTA for United States was implemented from January 2009 by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), with the goal of enabling any of the future eligible travelers to apply for an ESTA to United States. It allows passport holders from 37 Visa Waiver eligible countries to enter the USA without a VISA for a specific period. Like travelers or people visiting the US for a short duration for various work, students seeking short term courses in the USA can also opt for ESTA.

You can enroll on a short course after you have arrived in the US with an ESTA visa, as long as the length of the course does not exceed 3 months or 90 days with less than 18 hours of classes per week. So if you are taking a non-permanent course and meet the weekly hour limit can apply for ESTA US Visa instead of Student Visa.

Studying in the USA with an ESTA visa is only possible at selected schools or any government accredited institution. It is not uncommon for many students to go to USA over the summer months to study English using an ESTA US Visa. There are many language courses which are designed keeping in mind international students coming to United States on ESTA US Visa. There are also other types short courses which can be taken using an ESTA visa.

Applying for ESTA US Visa for Studies

Once you arrive in United States on your ESTA US Visa you can enroll yourself in a short course. The process of applying for ESTA US Visa for studies is pretty straighforward and no different than the regular ESTA US Visa process.

Before you can complete your application for ESTA US Visa, you will need to have three (3) things: a valid email adress, a way to pay online (debit card or credit card or PayPal) and a valid passport.

  1. A valid email address: You will need a valid email address to apply for ESTA US Visa application. As part of the application process, you are required to provide your email address and all communication regarding your application will be done via email. After you complete the US Visa Application, your ESTA for United States should arrive in your email within 72 hours. US Visa Application can be complete in less than 3 minutes.
  2. Online form of payment: After providing all the details regarding your trip to United States in the US Visa Application, you are required to make the payment online. We use Secure PayPal payment gateway to process all payments. You will need either a valid Debit or Credit card (Visa, Mastercard, UnionPay) or PayPal account to make your payment.
  3. Valid passport: You must have a valid passport that has not expired. If you do not have a passport, then you must apply for one immediately since ESTA USA Visa application cannot be completed without the passport information. Remember that US ESTA Visa is directly and electronically linked to your passport.

Information on US ESTA requirements and eligibility for citizens of countries currently included and excluded from the ESTA Visa program. ESTA US Visa Requirements

Passport requirements for traveling to the USA under ESTA

It is important for Students to learn about passport requirements. The passport must have a machine-readable zone or MRZ on its biographic page. Student citezens from below eligible countries under the Visa Waiver Program need to ensure they have electronic passports.

  • Estonia
  • Hungary
  • Lithuania
  • South Korea
  • Greece
  • Slovakia
  • Latvia
  • Republic of Malta

Look on the front cover of your passport for the symbol of a rectangle with a circle in the middle. If you see this symbol, you have an electronic passport.

In case you are experiencing doubts or require further clarification during the process of filling our US Visa Application, please contact US Visa Help Desk.