TVI Actors Studio in Los Angeles is authorized to enroll foreign/international students who have been approved for attendance, issued an M-1 (vocational student) visa, and are lawfully admitted to the U.S in that status. We issue an I-20 Certificate of Eligibility that allows a prospective student to apply for the M-1 visa to study and attend classes as part of the TVI program.

Following successful completion of 4 months of full-time study in the TVI Actors Studio program in valid student visa status, actors may be eligible for temporary employment for practical training.  The student actor may apply for 30 days permission to work/train in the acting field for every 4 months of full-time study in TVI’s program.

Hundreds of actors around the world have benefited from student visas issued by TVI Actors Studio. It has enabled them to study and perform for some of the top TV/Film/Commercial casting directors, agents and producers in Los Angeles or New York.

Student Visa Information

The first step in the process of obtaining a student visa to study in the USA at TVI is to set up a skype interview with us. Once you have been accepted into our school and have paid the deposit you will need to pay the SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) I-901 fee (currently $350.)  Our acting school will then issue you the Form I-20. After you receive the Form I-20 and have registered in SEVIS, you will have to complete the visa application forms, pay the visa fees, and schedule an interview appointment at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate for a student (M) visa.  You will have to present the Form I-20 (and other documentation) to the consular officer when you attend your visa interview.

Let us know if you have a spouse and/or children who intend to live with you in the United States while you study, because they must also enroll in SEVIS, obtain individual Form I-20s from TVI, and apply for a visa (but they do not pay a SEVIS fee).

Visit the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) website to learn more about SEVIS and the SEVIS I-901 Fee. (https://www.ice.gov/sevis)

How To Apply For A Student Visa

There are several steps to apply for a visa. The order of these steps and how you complete them may vary by U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Please consult the instructions on the website of the embassy or consulate where you will be applying.


Online Non-immigrant Visa Application, Form DS-160 – Learn more about completing the DS-160. You must: 1) complete the online visa application, and 2) print the application form confirmation page to bring to your interview.

Photo –You will upload your photo while completing the online Form DS-160. Your photo must be in the format explained in the Photograph Requirements.


Interviews are generally required for visa applicants with certain limited exceptions below. Consular officers may require an interview of any visa applicant.

You should schedule an appointment for your visa interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the country where you live. You may schedule your interview at another U.S. Embassy or Consulate but be aware that it may be more difficult to qualify for a visa outside of the country where you live.

Wait times for interview appointments vary by location, season, and visa category, so you should apply for your visa early. Review the interview wait time for the location where you will apply:

Appointment Wait Time

Click on this Link to see details on appointment availability and processing times.

Student (M-1) visas for new students can be issued up to 120 days in advance of the start date for a course of study.  However, you will not be allowed to enter the United States on your student visa more than 30 days before the start date.


Fees – Pay the non-refundable visa application fee, if you are required to pay it before your interview. If your visa is approved, you may also pay a visa issuance fee, if applicable to your nationality. Fee information is provided below: Application Fee: $160

Click on the following link and select your nationality to see Issuance Fee: All Fees

Review the instructions available on the website of the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you will apply to learn more about fee payment and procedures.


Gather and prepare the following required documents before your visa interview:

  • Passport valid for travel to the United States – Your passport must be valid for at least six months beyond your period of stay in the United States (unless exempt by country-specific agreements). Each individual who needs a visa must submit a separate application, including any family members listed in your passport.
  • Nonimmigrant Visa Application, Form DS-160 confirmation page.
  • Application fee payment receipt, if you are required to pay before your interview.
  • Photo – You will upload your photo while completing the online Form DS-160. If the photo upload fails, you must bring one printed photo in the format explained in the Photograph Requirements.
  • Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (M-1) Student Status for Vocational Students, Form I-20 – Your school will send you a Form I-20 once they have entered your information in the SEVIS database. You and your school official must sign the Form I-20.  All students must be registered in the Student and Exchange Visitor System (SEVIS). Your spouse and/or minor children, if they intend to live in the United States with you, will each receive an individual Form I-20.


A consular officer will interview you to determine your qualifications for a student visa, and may request additional documents, such as evidence of:

  • Your academic and/or vocational preparation, such as:
    • Transcripts, diplomas, degrees, or certificates from schools you attended; and
    • Acting experience, classes, documented participation in performance arts, etc.
  • Your intent to depart the United States upon completion of the course of study; and
  • How you will pay for all educational, living and travel costs.

Review the instructions for how to apply for a visa on the website of the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you will apply.


A consular officer will interview you to determine whether you are qualified to receive a student visa, or if another category is more appropriate for your purpose of travel.  You must establish that you meet the requirements under U.S. law to receive a visa.

Ink-free, digital fingerprint scans are taken as part of the application process. They are usually taken during your interview, but this varies based on location.

After your visa interview, the consular officer may determine that your application requires further administrative processing.  The consular officer will inform you if this is required.

After the visa is approved, you may need to pay a visa issuance fee (if applicable to your nationality) and make arrangements for the return of the passport and visa to you.  Review the visa processing times to learn more.


A visa does not guarantee entry into the United States.  A visa only allows a foreign citizen to travel to a U.S. port-of-entry (generally an airport) and request permission to enter the United States. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials at the port-of-entry have authority to permit or deny admission to the United States.

After you present your passport, visa, and Form I-20 at the port-of-entry, a CBP official will make this decision.  Once you are allowed to enter the United States, the CBP official will provide an admission stamp or paper Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record.

Learn about procedures for students (with M visas) entering the United States on the CBP website under Arrival Procedures for Students or Exchange Visitors.  Learn about admissions and entry requirements, restrictions about bringing food, agricultural products, and other restricted/prohibited goods, and more by reviewing the CBP website.

EXTENDING YOUR STAY – to Continue a Course of Study at TVI

Foreign students in the United States with M visas must depart the United States within 30 days after the program end date listed on Form I-20, including any authorized practical training and approved program extension(s.)

Foreign students may request an extension through U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website (see the USCIS Extend Your Stay page). Additional information to maintain student status is on the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement SEVP website under Maintaining Your Immigration Status While a Student or Exchange Visitor.

Failure to depart the United States on time will result in being out of status. Under U.S. law, visas of individuals who are out of status are automatically voided (Section 222(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act).  Any multiple entry visa that was voided due to being out of status will not be valid for future entries into the United States.

Failure to depart the United States on time may also result in you being ineligible for visas in the future. Review Visa Denials and Ineligibilities and Waivers: Laws to learn more.


If your plans change while in the United States (for example, you marry a U.S. citizen or receive an offer of employment), you may be able to request a change in your nonimmigrant status to another category through U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). See Change My Nonimmigrant Status on the USCIS website to learn more.

While you are in the United States, receiving a change of status from USCIS does not require you to apply for a new visa.  However, once you depart the United States you must apply for a new visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the appropriate category for your travel.


  • Spouse and children
    • Your spouse and unmarried, minor children who intend to reside with you during your study may apply for M-2 visas. Although SEVIS fee payment is not required, your school must issue them an individual Form I-20, which is required to apply for their visas. You must provide a copy of your M-1 visa and provide proof of relationship.
    • Your minor children are permitted to attend school in the United States while accompanying you.
    • U.S. Embassies and Consulates will adjudicate visa applications that are based on a same-sex marriage in the same way that we adjudicate applications for opposite gender spouses.
  • A valid U.S. visa in an expired passport is still valid. Unless canceled or revoked, a visa is valid until its expiration date. If you have a valid visa in your expired passport, do not remove it from your expired passport. You may use your valid visa in your expired passport along with a new valid passport for travel and admission to the United States.

You will require an M-1 student visa. The M-1 student visa is vocational visa that allows the student to study in the USA for professional development.

In order to apply for the M-1 student visa you will require an I-20 N-M Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status. Also Form I-901 SEVIS Fee payment is required.

You will need to apply, and be admitted to TVI Actors Studio in Los Angeles. After which we will contact you via email and/or telephone to get the necessary information to create an I-20 Certificate. You’ll need to provide proof of funds available to pay for all tuition and living costs. We will send the I-20 Certificate to you by FedEx courier.

We can issue the I-20 very quickly once you are admitted and we have all the necessary documents and information. The wait time to get a visa varies in different countries and at different times of the year. Please go to the website of the US Embassy in your country to find out the current wait time and see this website for generally accurate info: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/visa-information-resources/wait-times.html

Recommended budget is $2000 per month for living costs (housing, food, transportation) and additional funds. Your actual living costs may be higher or lower depending on your personal lifestyle.

You can arrive up to 30 days before the program start date. If you complete the program, you can stay for an additional 30 days. You can extend your stay by studying longer or receiving permission for practical training.

You cannot work while you are a student at TVI Actors Studio. You must have the funds to support yourself for the duration of your studies. Following completion of the 16 week program (and any program extensions) you may be eligible to apply for practical training (30 days for every 4 full months of study at TVI.)

If you feel that your question wasn’t answered, please don’t hesitate to contact us at admissions@tvistudios.com for more information.

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