Frequently Asked Questions

Disclaimer: ICLS sponsors F-1 and J-1 visas; however, we do not process the visa applications. To better understand the process of applying for an F-1 or J-1 visa, please see the frequently asked questions (FAQs) below.

General FAQs

Do you arrange housing?

While ICLS does not provide housing, we refer our students to a homestay organization called Just Like Home. You can arrange your housing by contacting them directly through their website at

How can I pay?

ICLS accepts credit cards, debit cards, personal checks, bank transfers, and cash.

I am enrolled in a private tutorial class. How soon can I start my class?

After we have received all of the registration materials (Registration Form, Enrollment Agreement, Needs Assessment, Scheduling Form) and you complete payment, our staff will contact you to discuss your particular training and scheduling needs. You can usually start your class within one week.

I am a returning student. Do I need to pay the registration fee again?

No, if you are a returning student, the registration fee is waived, although depending on the amount of time away, you may need to undergo additional proficiency testing, for which there is a $30 fee.

What levels of evening group classes do you offer?

Our evening Communicating in Business English and TOEFL Preparation Course require a minimum proficiency level of High Intermediate to join. However, we can open a group class at any level if we have at least four students interested in taking such a class. So, feel free to bring your group of four and we will start a group class just for you!

Do I need to bring my own books?

It is not necessary to bring your own books, as ICLS will be providing the materials needed for your class. The cost of materials ranges between $55 and $100 per session depending on the course and level. However, if there are specific books you would like to continue using, please feel free to bring them to your class. The instructor may be willing to use them as well.

How proficient at speaking English will I be after 30 hours of training?

Although 30 hours is the minimum requirement for our ESL courses, most students enroll for more hours. The level of proficiency you can reach in such a short period of training depends on your prior experience and aptitude for language learning and on how frequently you take classes. We will work with you to determine how long it will take to reach your proficiency goals.

What is the best schedule for a beginning student?

We recommend a schedule of a minimum of 2 two-hour sessions per week to achieve good results. If you are not able to take two sessions per week, you may risk spending valuable class time reviewing rather than moving on to new material.

May I make changes to my schedule?

Yes, you can change your schedule once you have started. Be sure to contact your coordinator about any changes you would like to make but keep in mind that it might not be possible to keep the same instructor, or to begin the new schedule immediately.

F-1 Student Help Center

How far in advance do I need to apply for an I-20 in order to begin studying at ICLS?

We suggest that you apply at least two months before your target class session begins. However, the visa process varies from country to country. Please check with the US Embassy in your home country to find out how long it takes to get an appointment for a visa interview. Please visit for instructions on how to make an appointment for a visa interview.

How long does it take ICLS to issue an I-20 form?

Once you submit all of the fully-completed required documents, it takes two to three business days to issue the I-20 form.

When I receive my I-20, what do I do next?

Please read all of the documents in your acceptance package carefully including the Pre-Arrival Information package. International students need to be familiar with U.S. Immigration regulations, as noted in the I-20, and are responsible for complying with these regulations.

What if I am not granted a visa? Will I receive a refund?

If you are not granted a visa, ICLS will refund your tuition. Keep in mind that the registration fee is NOT refundable. Your refund will be issued by the same method of payment that you used when you submitted your application.

How much do I need to have in my bank account?

Students should take tuition, transportation, housing, and miscellaneous expenses into consideration when financially preparing for study abroad. Depending on whether you will be staying rent-free with a friend or relative, or paying for housing while in the United States, you should plan on having $1,900 to $2,900 for each month you plan on studying.

How is my I-20 sent to me?

Although the I-20 form can be sent via regular US postal air mail at no charge, we strongly recommend using either FedEx International to ensure the secure arrival of the documents. There is a $75 fee for this.

J-1 Participant Help Center

In order to be placed in an internship or traineeship through ICLS, all participants must obtain a J-1 Visa and follow the ICLS sponsorship guidelines determined by the U.S. Department of State’s Exchange Visitor Program (EVP). An Exchange Visitor, which you would be as part of our WIN (Washington Internship Network) in the USA program, is a foreign national who has been selected by a sponsor to participate in an exchange visitor program and who is seeking to enter or has entered the United States for temporary language and business training and cultural experience on a J-1 Visa.

How do I get a J-1 Visa?

In order to receive a J-1 Visa, you must be sponsored by a US-based organization. As a designated sponsor, ICLS issues the DS 2019 Form, Certificate of Eligibility for an Exchange Visitor (J-1 Visa), which is the document you use to apply for your visa at the US Embassy/Consulate in your home country. As an applicant, you must prove you have no intention of abandoning your current country of residency for the United States by demonstrating the presence of strong ties to your home country and willingness to contribute the knowledge you gain in the US to your home country.

Who is eligible for a J-1 Visa?

The J-1 Visa is issued to students, recent graduates, and young professionals in particular fields. These individuals come to the United States to receive hands-on training in organizations that correspond to their specialties.

Are there age restrictions?

Trainees must be at least 21 years of age, while interns must have completed at least two years of tertiary education.

What kind of job experience and education level are required for the WIN in the USA program?

Students must have completed two years of tertiary education to be eligible for the Intern program. Trainees must have either a university degree and one year of work experience in their field, or five years of experience in their field. Education and experience must be from outside the United States.

What is the length of the program?

Programs can range from two to 18 months, depending on the category and field of training. Also, depending upon the country of origin of a given participant, he or she may be subject to a two-year home country requirement upon completion of the program.

If my internship or traineeship is paid, will I have to pay taxes on my income?

Depending on the inter-governmental treaty signed between the United States and your home country, you may be subject to US income tax.

What level of English language is required?

English language skills must be at a level that will allow participants to function in an American professional environment. ICLS tests all applicants to assess their English language skills. Participants enroll in either the Intensive English Program, Business English, or an online program.

How much money must I have in the bank?

In order to qualify for J-1 Visa, you must be able to prove (by submitting an official letter from your bank, along with a copy of a bank statement) that you are financially able to support yourself while in the United States.  ICLS recommends that you have at least $1000 for each month of a given program. A separate payment is required for the program tuition and fees, as well as for international travel, health and accident insurance.

Is there a health requirement?

You must be in good health, and be able to provide doctor’s statement attesting to your good health if necessary. Applicants must have full accident and health insurance coverage for their entire stay in the United States and international travel days.

Looking for more information? Visit REQUEST INFORMATION page, email us at or call +1 (202) 639-8800