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International Students – LA Campus


The Lee Strasberg Theatre  & Film Institute is authorized under Federal law to enroll nonimmigrant alien students.

We welcome international students to the Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute.  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.

For more information about attending the Los Angeles Campus, contact [email protected].

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.

Full time programs include: Associate of Occupational Studies in Acting, Two Year Conservatory, One Year Conservatory, 12 Week Program (22 hours per week).

All full-time programs require a student visa (except in cases where applicant has another valid visa that permits study), then you do not need an I-20 Certificate and do not need to provide financial documentation.  Please provide evidence of this visa with your application. Note, full-time study is not permitted on a tourist (B-1/B-2) visa.  You may not attend any of our full-time programs while in the US on a tourist visa.

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.

English Proficiency Requirements:

English Proficiency Exam

  • TOEFL score of 85 or higher or
  • IELTS score of 6.5 or higher or
  • PTE score of 60 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)

Please note that the following programs require an M-1 Vocational student visa for enrollment at the LA Campus: 12-Week Full-Time, One-Year Conservatory and Two-Year Conservatory. The Associate of Occupational Studies (AOS) in Acting-Method Acting and all NY programs require an F-1 Academic student visa.

Steps to receiving the I-20 Certificate

  1. First you must submit a complete application package and be interviewed and be fully admitted to a full time program.
  2. You must have submitted the Affidavit of Support and supporting financial documentation to cover tuition and living costs ($2000 per month)
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. You will register and pay the express shipping fee through eShipGlobal and then send the original I-20 Certificate to you.
  6. You will sign your I-20 Certificate and bring to your student visa interview.
  7. You will pay the $350 SEVIS I-901 fee before your visa interview, as well as the fee for the visa application.

TRANSFERRING: 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.

We will be here to advise you throughout the process of obtaining your I-20, applying for the visa and maintaining your student status while you are in the US. 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.


Note, there are no work opportunities while you study at LSTFI.  You must have the funds to support yourself in the US without resorting to work. Employment during your program of studies is a violation of your M-1 or F-1 student status.

AOS students are eligible for 12 months of Optional Practical Training (OPT) after completion of studies to work in jobs related to the program of studies only. M-1 students (Los Angeles) earn 1 month of OPT for every 4 consecutive months of study. To be eligible for OPT, you must successfully complete all program requirements.