Yes indeed, studying in the United States with the ESTA visa is entirely possible. However, much has to be understood about this form of entry document to the United States and it begs the question, what is an ESTA visa and what does it entail?
There are 38 countries whose citizens can travel to the United States without getting a visa. These 38 countries fall under the membership of the visa waiver program. This means that the citizens of these countries are permitted to travel into the United States without the need for a visa and they can travel for business and tourism for a period of 90 days or less. The visa waiver program or VWP allows citizens under the program to get what is known as the electronic system for travel authorization (ESTA). Look at more info

The ESTA allows visits which can be multiple as long as the document or the passport it was issued to is still valid. If either of the two is past validity dates then there is a need for renewal before entry can be granted again. However, a bearer must try to put some time between every visit so as to avoid seeming like living in the United States is the goal. This means while entry into the United States is permitted within the validity of the document, the bearer should not abuse the privilege by being in the US all the time.

How does the ESTA affect STUDYING?

Studying in the United States is very promising and for that reason, it is attracting a lot of foreigners every year. The schools are reputable and of good quality and the opportunities upon graduating are numerous. Considering the fact that the ESTA is given to non-US citizens, it is interesting to note how this might affect studies. Usually, those who wish to study in the US get a US student visa which allows them to study for a number of years and graduate with a degree/diploma or a related certificate. The ESTA, on the other hand, does not work exactly as a student visa does and this is due to the fact that there are limitations associated with studying with an ESTA visa.

What are the rules associated with studying for an ESTA visa?

Studying with the ESTA visa means the course has to be a short course. This is because it only permits one to be in the United States for about 3 months at any given time. So the course has to be one that can be completed within that time frame. This automatically rules out any lengthy study or any study that would lead up to a degree conferring ceremony.

The course of study has to be what adheres to the maximal amount of hours per week. The ESTA visa allows the bearer to study for no longer than 18 hours a week and this is why short courses such as language courses are perfect for such a visa. As a matter of fact, a number of schools align their language short courses to meet the requirements of the ESTA visa for those who would be interested. There are different types of study visa which have their specifications on the type of institutes one can attend or the duration one can spend studying. For longer duration of the study, other visa types such as the F-1 visa or the M-1 visa are more applicable. The ESTA visa cannot, however, be used for such long courses; studies can only be for short courses.

Pros and Cons of the ESTA visa:


•Pros of ESTA visa include the freedom to enter the United States during the validity of your ESTA visa and passport. There would be no need to go through the process of getting a visa for entry at any point.
•The process of applying and getting the ESTA visa is also very simple and the form can be filled within minutes. Once the eligibility criteria have been met in accordance with the VWP, then getting the ESTA is not an issue.
•The ESTA visa exempts the bearer from needing a medical insurance on entry into the United States, although it is advisable to have a medical insurance due to the high price of medical care in the US.
•The ESTA visa is also valid for 2 years before it needs renewal; this gives a long period of travels into the United States.
•The ESTA visa permits short course studies
•There is little cost for applying and obtaining the ESTA visa as opposed to getting a normal visa


•Duration is for 90 days or less
•Degrees and diplomas cannot be attained with this visa
•Attending a college or a university for a full degree is not permissible with the ESTA

The pros far outweigh the cons and as such countries under the visa waiver program can use the ESTA visa to their advantage as it has its benefits. Studying short courses in the United States is also a benefit that cannot be undervalued.

So if the goal is to get a short course program in the United States such as a language course, then the ESTA visa is the way to go. For applicants who are curious about their eligibility for this class of visa, the following questions can give more clarity.

First, it has to be ascertained that the applicant belongs to one of the 38 countries under the visa waiver program. Next, it must be decided if the purpose of the visit is for business or tourism. The duration has to also be considered and even if it includes some along-the-side trips to Mexico or maybe Canada, the duration still has to fall under 90 days. More resources for Studying in the USA with an ESTA.

Finally, the passport of the applicant has to meet the eligibility rule. If the answers to the above questions conform to the ESTA rules, then there is no need for a visa, the applicant can get into the US on the strength of an ESTA visa.

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