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Can I study in the U.S. on a B-2 tourist visa?

By August 17, 2020March 24th, 2021Questions & Answers

B-2 visa is a non-immigrant visa for temporary visitors who want to visit the United States for pleasure. Please note that if you qualify for ESTA, you can come to the U.S. as a Visa Waiver Visitor and you do not have to apply for a B-2 visa at a Consulate.

Our clients often ask us whether they can enroll in a short course while they are here on a B-2 tourist visa or as an ESTA visitor.

The short answer is that it will depend. B-2 visa visitors can engage in studying/course that is of an avocational or recreational nature.

You can enroll in a short course if:

  • The course/study is not for credit
  • The course/study is not leading towards a degree or certificate
  • The purpose of the course is recreational/avocational

For example, if you are in the U.S. as a B-2  visitor and you want to take a 5 day pottery/painting/cooking class, that is completely fine as long as the course is incidental to your visit and is recreational in nature.

Also, if you are in the U.S. primarily for tourism but you also want to take an English language course for couple weeks, that is fine as long as the course is below 18 hours per week.

Please click here to find out what visa you should apply for in case you want to attend a professional conference/seminar.

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