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Short courses in the USA with an ESTA

Considering informal study and enrichment experiences while travelling? Learning Holidays are easy with ESTA.

The USA is renowned for its education facilities, and is an increasingly popular destination for students. Do you want to touch up on a skill, or get an introductory course for something you’ve always wanted to learn?

Well, for short programmes of less than 18 hours per week, and for less than a total duration of 90 days, you don’t need to get a student visa to sign up in the USA.

You just need to request ESTA authorisation online, if you don’t already have one. Your ESTA allows you to travel to the USA as a tourist as part of the Visa Waiver Programme.

Once you’re in the USA, you can enroll on short programmes, providing that they don’t take place over more than 18 hours per week, and that the total length of the course doesn’t exceed 90 days.

Why are these conditions there?

The conditions are in place because the Visa Waiver Programme is only applicable to tourism or business trips for no longer than 90 days.

Are there courses that correspond to these conditions?

Of course! In particular, there are many language courses that are designed around these conditions, but you can find courses in all sorts of fields, particularly over the summer months.

Courses that are run over a shorter time period are often more expensive, but you’ll find that often specialist agencies will organise everything, including accommodation and meals. There are also many evening classes available, often aimed at those who work during the day.

It’s easier than ever to travel to the USA, and for short stays of 90 days or less, there’s no longer any need to go to the US embassy to apply for a visa. You can request ESTA authorisation online, and normally get an instant response.

If you travel to the USA to taking part in part-time studies, you’re not obliged to have medical insurance in order to get the ESTA. However, we advise you to get a policy, based on the high cost of medical care in the USA.

Travelling to the United States? Do you have your pre-planning checklist in order? Visit our ESTA Guide for more information about obtaining your travel permit. We'd love to hear from you. Send us your comments or questions for travel assistance.