Can I Study In The US with an ESTA?

Students across the world visit the US for studies. From degree courses to vocational courses, study opportunities in the US are ample. To study in the US, all students require a non-immigrant student VISA America (visum amerika). The type of student visa you need is determined by the course(s) that you want to undertake in the US. You have to apply for either the F-1 visa or the M-1 visa.  That said, there is another way you can visit the US for studies. For nationals of countries belonging to the Visa Waiver Program, an ESTA can also serve the purpose of a student visa. Usually, one can request ESTA for business or travel-related visits to the US for 90 days or less. However, one can also take up study in US with ESTA. There are certain restrictions though. 

Under what conditions can you study in the US with an ESTA?

Although the ESTA isn’t usually meant for studies in the US, you can do so if:

  1. The course length is less than 90 days. This is ideal for people who want to take up certain courses after arriving in the US. 
  2. The teaching time must be less than 18 hours per week. 
  3. The courses must not carry any credits for a degree. 

What courses can you undertake when traveling with an ESTA?

The conditions imposed on the study with an ESTA make it impossible for anyone to take up permanent courses, traditional or vocational. They particularly require VISA America. However, certain courses can be completed even when you are traveling with an ESTA. You can take up language courses which are specially design for the purpose. Additionally, you can also take up introductory or brush-up courses that fulfill the criteria. 

What to know before you fill up your ESTA form?

Before you fill up your ESTA form at, there are certain things that you must know about studying in the US with an ESTA. 

  1. Not all schools, colleges, or institutions allow you to study with an ESTA. Language classes can take up at any institution accredited by the government. For professional courses, prior arrangements must be made. If you don’t make any such arrangement before or after you request ESTA (aanvragen esta), you can study at exhibitions/fairs, manufacturing facilities, businesses, or any other event or facility. However, the entire study must be non-formal. 
  2. You do not need medical insurance if you are studying in the US with an ESTA which is quite the opposite of those studying with a student visa. 
  3. These courses are very common and popular during the summer months. 
  4. The cost of the courses is usually more than regular ones considering their brevity.
  5. You may also have the benefit of evening classes at many institutes. 

So, if you want to study in the US, it isn’t necessary to have a visa. You can simply fill up the ESTA form (ESTA formulier) and undertake short courses that come under the purview of ESTA.