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After You Receive Your I-20


Getting Your F-1 Visa

Once you have received your I-20, you can apply for an F-1 student visa. Please follow these steps:

  1. Complete the online visa application, Form DS-160. Print the confirmation page to bring to your visa interview.
  2. Pay the SEVIS I-901 fee. Print the receipt to bring to your visa interview.
  3. Schedule a visa interview at your local U.S. embassy or consulate.

Be sure to take all required documents to the interview, including:

  • Passport
  • Visa application confirmation page
  • SEVIS I-901 fee receipt
  • I-20
  • ELI acceptance letter

You may need to provide additional documents, such as:

  • Transcripts, diplomas, or certificates from schools you attended
  • Documentation of strong ties to your home country
  • Bank statements or proof of how you will pay all educational, living and travel costs
  • Scores from English proficiency test, such as TOEFL, IELTS, etc.

The interviewer may ask why you chose to study in the United States, how you will fund your studies, and what you will do after you finish studying. You must also prove that you have strong ties and obligations that would guarantee your return to your home country.

Please visit the U.S. Visa Exchange Website for more information.


You must make your own housing arrangements. ELI students are not eligible to live in the University of Utah dormitories during the spring and fall semesters. ELI students may only live in the dormitories during the summer semester. There are several other housing options, including:

Long-Term Housing:

  • Homestay program offered by OvECS Ltd. You will live with an American host family in Salt Lake City.
  • For off-campus housing, visit the Off-Campus Housing website or advertisements on The Daily Utah Chronicle. The average cost of a one-bedroom apartment is $1100, but it is cheaper if you live with roommates.

Short-Term Housing:

Health Insurance and Immunizations

All ELI students must have health insurance while studying at ELI.  All students with an F1 student visa are required to purchase health insurance through CISI. Students must have a health insurance plan for the entire duration of their studies at the English Language Institutes. See instructions on how to purchase your health insurance.

All international students at the University of Utah must meet certain immunization requirements. You must prove that you have been immunized against measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR). Bring one of these things to the orientation with you:

  1. Documentation that shows you had 2 MMR vaccinations after your first birthday OR results of a blood test (called a titer) proving measles, mumps, and rubella immunity. See more immunization information.
  2. Proof of COVID vaccination. See more information on the U's COVID policies.

Creating a University Email (UMail)

ELI will send important messages, class schedules, grades, and visa updates to your Umail account. Please follow these instructions to create your account:

  1. Log into student portal and enter your username and password. Your username is your student ID number, which is located on your ELI acceptance letter (example: u1111111). Your password is your birthdate in the format MMDDYY. For example, if your birthday is January 3, 1995 then your password will be 010395
  2. When you log in, the page will read: "Your password has expired. Click here to change your password."
  3. Click to change your password and follow the directions. Create a new password that you will remember.
  4. From your new Umail account, send an email to that says “I LOVE ELI.” Then we will know that your account has been activated.

Entering the U.S.

When you enter the United States, you must present these documents to the port-of-entry officer:

  1. I-20
  2. F-1 visa
  3. Passport
  4. Evidence of financial support for all expenses while you are in the United States.

A visa allows a foreign citizen to travel to a U.S. port-of-entry (generally an airport) and request permission to enter the United States. A visa does not guarantee entry into the United States. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials at the port-of-entry have authority to permit or deny admission to the United States. If you are allowed to enter the United States, the CBP official will provide an admission stamp or paper Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record.


You must attend the orientation on Thursday before the first week of class. If you arrive late to the orientation, you may not be able to register for ELI classes. Please review our Program Dates and Costs page for specific orientation dates.

You will take an English placement test at the orientation. This test will help us know your English level so we can place you in the appropriate classes. You will be tested on grammar, reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills. The cost of the test is included in your orientation fee.

New F-1 visa students must also attend a special course called ELI Success Class. This course will help prepare you for your studies at ELI.

The first ELI Success Class occurs on Friday after the orientation. You will get a grade for this class, so it is important that you attend. The fee for this class is included in your orientation fee. You will learn more about the ELI Success Class at the orientation. 

Class Schedule

ELI classes are scheduled Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 8:20 AM – 1:40 PM. There are four seventy-minute classes held each day, with a short break between each class. We will send your individual class schedule to your Umail account after you take the placement test.


New F-1 visa students must pay an orientation fee during their first session at ELI. The tuition and orientation fee are due before 8:20 AM of the second Tuesday of each session. We accept payments by cash or any major credit card (Visa, MasterCard, American Express). There is also a payment plan option for those who qualify. Come to the ELI office during the first week of class and we will help you make the tuition payment.

If you fail to make the tuition payment on time, you will be dismissed from the program. Please review Part 2 of our Student Policy Handbook for more information about tuition.

View the most current tuition prices on our Program Dates and Costs page.

Connect on Social Media

Do you want to meet other ELI students? Do you want to know about living in Salt Lake City? Learn more about life at ELI on our Facebook and Instagram pages.


Last Updated: 6/25/24