INTERNATIONAL STUDENT INFORMATION – LA CAMPUS
International Student Enrollment at LSTFI Los Angeles
We warmly welcome international students to the Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute into our full time programs (22 hours or more per week. We will advise you and provide supportive services regarding both US immigration rules and regulations and navigating the ins and outs of living in the US.
The Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute is authorized under Federal law to enroll nonimmigrant alien students. International students who are admitted to one of our full time programs (22 hours or more per week) and have provided the required financial documents will be issued a SEVIS form I-20 Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status, which is required to apply for the F-1 or M-1 student visa.
For more information about attending the Los Angeles Campus, contact [email protected].
LSTFI International Student Application
International applicants (non-US Citizen or Green Card holders) should submit their completed application 6-8 weeks prior to the desired session start date. Application deadlines are set in order to ensure that accepted international applicants have sufficient time to receive immigration documents and obtain an M-1 Vocational or F-1 Academic student visa prior to the session start date.
Programs Eligible for I-20 Issuance:
Additional Requirements for International Students:
English Proficiency Requirements
One of the following English Proficiency exams:
- TOEFL score of 85 or higher or
- IELTS score of 6.5 or higher or
- PTE score of 60 or higher or
- Duolingo English Test score of 110 or higher
In lieu of an English Proficiency exam, one of the following may be submitted:
- IB Diploma in English
- US High School diploma
- Transcripts from a US or UK university or college
- Kaplan English Language Certificate (Proficient)
Proof of Sufficient Financial Funds
US immigration law requires students to prove sufficient funds for tuition and living expenses for the duration of their program of study or 9 months, whichever is shorter. Proof of funds must:
- Be in English
- Show financial institution and account holder names
- Recent (issued within last 3 months)
and can include:
- Bank statement with available balance
- Line of Credit issued
- If you have a financial sponsor, please submit the Affidavit of Support
Student Visa Information (F-1 vs M-1)
All full-time programs require a student visa. Please note that most Los Angeles campus programs require an M-1 Vocational Student visa. The M-1 Vocational Student visa is for non-degree programs that prepare you for a career, such as acting. The Associate of Occupational Studies Degree program requires an F-1 Academic Student visa. For more information on the differences between F-1 and M-1 visas, click here.
In cases where the applicant has another valid visa that permits study, you do not need an I-20 Certificate, do not need to provide financial documentation, and may apply as a Domestic applicant. Please provide evidence of this visa with your application. Please note that full-time study is not permitted on a tourist (B-1/B-2) visa. Attending a program that is not short-term, avocational and recreational in nature is a violation of the tourist visa status.
Steps to Receiving the I-20 Certificate
- First you must submit a complete application package and be interviewed and be fully admitted to a full time program.
- You must have submitted the Affidavit of Support and supporting financial documentation to cover tuition and living costs ($2000 per month).
- You will then pay tuition. For a One or Two year program you may pay only one term or the full program tuition. For the 12 Week, you must pay tuition in full. Tuition is refundable if your visa is denied or you withdraw before attending classes. The $250 Registration fee is non-refundable.
- We will create your I-20 Certificate in the SEVIS system and will email you the information needed (SEVIS # and school code) to make a visa interview appointment for the F-1 or M-1 student visa at a US Consulate.
- You will register and pay the express shipping fee through eShipGlobal and then send the original I-20 Certificate to you.
- You will sign your I-20 Certificate and bring to your student visa interview.
- You will pay the $350 SEVIS I-901 fee before your visa interview, as well as the fee for the visa application.
If you are currently in the US on an F-1 visa then you may be eligible to transfer your SEVIS record to us. Please be sure to pay close attention the rules for transferring and deadlines so that you don’t fall out of status.
Please note that you may not transfer a M-1 SEVIS record to an F-1 school or F-1 SEVIS record to M-1. You must obtain a new SEVIS record and student visa.
Non-immigrants already in the U.S. on a valid non-immigrant visa status may be eligible to apply for a change of status to the M-1 or F-1 visa while in the U.S., but there are restrictions. Contact the International Student Advisor or an immigration attorney for further details about changing from your current non-immigrant status to the M-1 or F-1 visa.
Work Opportunities and OPT
Please note, there are no opportunities to work while you study at LSTFI as the Institute does not offer on-campus employment. You must have sufficient funds to support yourself in the US without employment. Employment without approval from USCIS is a violation of your M-1 or F-1 student status.
AOS Degree students (F-1 visa) are eligible for 12 months of Optional Practical Training (OPT) after completion of studies. During OPT, you may work in jobs only related to your program of studies. M-1 students (Los Angeles non-degree programs) earn 1 month of OPT for every 4 consecutive months of study. To be eligible for OPT, you must successfully complete all program requirements.
The Institute will assist eligible students complete and submit their application for OPT to USCIS.
Find more information about coming to the United States as an International student on Study in the States!
Please note that the Institute is not permitted per Federal regulations to issue an Initial I-20 for classes that are online only. New initial I-20s can be issued for in-person or hybrid classes only. Due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, the Institute does not anticipate offering in-person classes again until Spring 2021 due to local & State restrictions.