Do I need a student visa to travel to NEC for an audition?

No. If you come to NEC for a live audition you can simply travel on a tourist visa (B1/B2). Citizens of Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and most western European countries may be eligible for a temporary visit to the US without a visa. For more information, visit

Why does NEC need to know how much money my parents have in the bank?
You are not eligible for a student visa unless you can show that you have enough money to pay for tuition and living expenses for one academic year. NEC must verify your finances regardless of their source(s), in order to sponsor you for the student visa. You will find that the US Embassy will ask for the same bank statements that you provided to NEC for your I-20.

What’s the difference between the I-20 and the visa?
The I-20 is the sponsorship form which proves that you are eligible to apply for a student visa. The visa itself is like a ticket to enter the US. In order to get the ticket, you must show an I-20 form.

Do I have to leave the US as soon as my visa expires?
No! Because the visa is similar to a travel ticket, it only defines the dates in which you can enter the US in student status. As long as you are in current student status (with an unexpired I-20, either attending classes full-time or working on your Optional Practical Training) you may remain in the United States. Just remember, if you decide to travel outside of the US after your visa has expired, you will not be able to come back without a new student visa stamp.

Why do I need a transfer I-20 if I’ve already graduated from my current US school?
The word “transfer” can be confusing. A transfer I-20 usually means that you are transferring your visa sponsorship from your old school to NEC. It does not necessarily mean that you are transferring in the middle of your academic program. You’ll need this transfer I-20 to travel on the visa stamp from your old school, and as a way to keep your SEVIS record up-to-date.

What if I don’t graduate by the program end date on my I-20?
The end date on your I-20 is simply an estimate of the length of your academic program. As long as you are a full-time student making progress toward your degree, you are in valid student visa status. Just remember to get your I-20 extended through the International Student Office before the expiration date. Also keep in mind that you may actually graduate before the anticipated end date on your I-20. If this is the case, you will no longer be in student status unless you apply for Optional Practical Training or begin a new degree program.

Why is it so hard to get permission to work off-campus?
When you sign your I-20 you are promising that your primary reason for entering the US is to be a full-time student. The government restricts your ability to work to ensure that you are in fact here primarily to earn a degree. Student visa rules do not generally allow you to work to help pay for living expenses because you proved your ability to live and study here when you provided financial information for the I-20 form.

Why can’t I just work for cash?
Working illegally is a direct violation of your visa status. The government is quite clear in stating that you may not be compensated in any way for employment without prior authorization (such as on-campus work, Curricular Practical Training or Optional Practical Training).