Frequently Asked Questions

Admissions FAQs

What is an International Student?

International students are students who have been issued an F visa to study full-time in the United States.

What will I study as an International Student at BEI?

Students with an F1 visa will study in the 20 hour/week Intensive English Program (IEP).  The IEP focuses on all areas of the English language: grammar, reading, writing, listening, speaking, vocabulary/idioms, and American customs and culture.

How do BEI’s levels compare to international English standards?

BEI Placement LevelThe Common European Framework of Reference, CEFRTOEFL iBT Test

(0-120)

Pre-1Below A1N/A
1A15
2A217
3B142
4B1+42
5B272
6B2+72
7C195
8C1+95+

 

How many students are in each class?

Class size is 6-16 students.

What are the qualifications of the instructors?

All of our instructors are Native-English Speakers.  In addition, all instructors must be experienced at teaching the English language.  Minimum education requirements are a Bachelor’s Degree, although most of our teachers also have Masters Degrees, and/or English teaching certification, such as CELTA and TESOL.

Can I travel while I study at your school?

For vacation in the USA, students must first complete 28 weeks (4 levels) of instruction.

For extenuating circumstances, students may take a temporary leave of absence outside the USA if needed.

Where will I live while I study at BEI?

There are many options available for housing in Houston.  BEI is located in the exciting Galleria district.  Most students choose to live in nearby apartments with family or friends.  However, if you would like to live with a local Houston family, Homestays are a great option.  www.homestayhouston.com

Do you offer International Student health insurance?

No.  We allow our students to choose which plan best suits their needs.  Many plans are as low as $50/month.  Health insurance is mandatory for all F1 students.

Does BEI offer Conditional Admission?

No.  I-20s can only be issued when a student has met all obligations for admissions.  BEI does work very closely with several universities that will waive TOEFL or IELTS scores in lieu of completing BEIs highest level to demonstrate English proficiency.

My family wants to come visit me in the USA while I study.  Is that okay?

Yes.  However, keep in mind that you are still required to maintain your status.  Therefore, it is better to plan family visits during your approved vacation time after you have completed 4 levels.

After I finish my studies, can I travel in the USA?

Level 8 graduates who complete the program are granted a 60 day grace period from the date of graduation before leaving the USA.

How do I request an I-20?

In-person: Schedule a visit to meet our International Student Advisor, Monday through Friday, 8:00-5:00 pm.

E-mail:  Send an e-mail request to our International Student Advisor, bei@bei.edu

What is the deadline to apply for acceptance?

BEI offers open-enrollment.  There are no deadlines, as there are 14 start dates per year.

My passport will expire soon.  Is that okay?

Your passport must have 6 months validity left before expiration when applying for an F1 visa.

What financial support do I need to apply for an I-20?

In order to apply for an I-20, applicants must submit the last 3 months history of bank statements.  If using a sponsor, the sponsor must write a Support Letter.  For bank accounts in the USA, the sponsor will also need to complete Form I-134.

How much do I need for my financial support?

For one applicant, the funding amount for the total program (16 months) must be at minimum $26,000 USD.  If there are any dependents associated with the I-20, then the funding amount increases.

After I turn in all of my documents, when will I receive my I-20 package?

Our team will check to make sure you have submitted all documents.  If everything is accurate, you can expect the I-20 to be ready for pick-up within 2-3 business days.

How will BEI send my I-20 to me?

You may request a friend/family member to pick-up your I-20 from our office, or you may request BEI to mail the package to you for a $120 fee.  BEI uses DHL.

Pre-Arrival FAQs

I just received my I-20 package, what do I do next?

  • Pay the SEVIS I-901 fee on www.fmjfee.com
  • Complete the online visa application, DS-160
  • Schedule your visa interview.
  • Plan your travel.

Where do I pay my SEVIS fee?

The I-901 SEVIS fee can be paid online at www.fmjfee.com Please make sure you have your SEVIS ID and BEI’s school code when submitting this payment.  Both of these numbers can be found on your BEI acceptance letter.

Why do I need to pay for the SEVIS fee?

The I-901 SEVIS Fee is mandated by US Congress to support the program office and the automated system that keeps track of students and exchange visitors and ensures that they maintain their status while in the United States. Each student or exchange visitor issued an initial Form I-20 or DS-2019 on or after September 1, 2004, is responsible for paying this fee to SEVP.

Do I bring my SEVIS fee receipt to my interview?

Yes.  You will receive an official receipt at the address you entered on www.fmjfee.com  However, if you have scheduled your interview appointment before you receive the receipt in the mail, you can always use the online confirmation.  Therefore, be sure to print the confirmation page when you pay online.

What do I need to take to my visa interview?

  • Passport
  • DS-160
  • I-901 receipt
  • Form I-20
  • Financial support
  • Any other supporting documentation that you think will help with your interview.

I already scheduled my visa interview, but I have not received my I-20 in the mail.  What can I do?

It is always best to wait until you receive your I-20 package before scheduling a visa interview.  You will need to bring the original I-20 with you.

Can I take my placement test online?

No.  BEI’s placement examination is conducted in-house.

Do you have dormitories?

No.  However, there are many apartments and affordable housing options in our neighborhood.  Our school zip code is 77057.

Arrival/Orientation FAQs

How soon can I arrive in the US?

International students are allowed to enter up to 30 days before the start date listed on the I-20.

My flight arrives after my start date.  What should I do?

If you cannot enter the United States for the start date listed on your Form I-20 or if you will be late by a few days, immediately contact your International Student Advisor (ISA) so that they can accurately enter this information in your SEVIS record.  The ISA may be able to give you approval to arrive late.  You may obtain a letter from them stating that they do not object to your late entry.  You can provide this letter to the border officer if you are asked.

I am a new student, is it mandatory to go to orientation?

Yes. A student is required to go to orientation. The student will learn BEI school policies and important information about living and studying here in the United States.

My flight arrives after my start date.  What do I do if I miss orientation?

If you miss orientation, you will be scheduled to make it up sometime in the week with the International Student Advisor.

How do I know my level?

Determining your English proficiency level is done in-house.  Once you arrive to the US, you will need to schedule a time/date to come and take our placement assessment.  The placement assessment will measure your grammar/reading skills; writing skills; and listening/speaking skills.  The average of these three results will determine what level you will begin.

How long is the placement test?

On average, the placement test last one hour and fifteen minutes.

Do I have to register for 14 weeks?

Yes.  All new international students must enroll for a minimum of 14 weeks, which is equivalent to 2 levels.

Can I work in Houston while I study at BEI?

No.  F1 students are not allowed to work, unless the school offers on-campus employments.  BEI does not offer on-campus employment.

I was authorized by the ISA to withdraw from classes so that I can travel outside the US.  Do I have a grace period to stay in the US?

Yes. You will be allowed a 15-day period for departure from the United States calculated from your last day of attendance.

Supplemental FAQs for Transfers

What SEVIS transfer?

A SEVIS transfer is when your electronic immigration record is sent from your current transfer-out school, to BEI.  Please work with your International Student Advisor at your current transfer-out school to request a transfer to BEI.

Why does my I-20 say, “Transfer pending from…?”

If you attended a school in the US and had your SEVIS record transferred to BEI, the notation at item 3 on the I-20 will state “Transfer Pending from: your current school.”  When you attend immigration orientation with BEI and complete the check-in process, BEI will register your attendance and your record will be reported as “Transfer Complete.”

I registered late at my current school.  Can I transfer to BEI?

BEI accepts transfer students who have maintained status.  Transfer students must begin classes immediately if you were to be in class at your previous school.

Can I reestablish F-1 student status by obtaining a new initial Form I-20 and reentering the United States?

Yes. However, you will be considered an initial student for SEVIS purposes. You will have to pay the I-901 SEVIS fee again.  You must have the new Form I-20 showing that you are entering on a new SEVIS ID number.  You should be aware that the CBP inspecting officer will determine whether or not to admit you to the United States with the new Form I-20. If you did not comply with the terms of your status during a prior stay in the United States, the CBP officer may decide that you are not eligible to reenter.

I am on approved vacation from BEI, but now I would like to transfer to another school.  Can I do this?

No.  According to policy, students must resume their studies in the session following their break.

My bank statements are from last year.  Can I use these to provide financial support?

No.  BEI will need updated bank statements.  It is a good idea to request updated bank statements and financial supporting documents every 3 months or so, while you study in the US.  Your ISA will need to update this information periodically.

Supplemental FAQs for Change of Status

What fees are associated with Change of Nonimmigrant Status?

  • School Registration Fee: $200
  • I-901 SEVIS Fee: $200
  • I-539 Application Fee: $370

Does BEI apply for my Change of Status?

No.  If you are requesting to change to F1 status, you will need a school to support this request.  BEI provides the I-20 for you to include in your application.

What is the I-539 application?

Form I-539 is used to request a change in your nonimmigrant status. For example from B2 to F1.  This form is easily found by searching online.

Where do I send my I-539 application?

USCIS Dallas Lockbox Facility Mailing Address

For U.S. Postal Service:

USCIS
P.O. Box 660166
Dallas, TX 75266

For Express Mail and Courier Deliveries (DHL, FedEx):

USCIS
ATTN: I-539
2501 S. State Highway 121 Business
Suite 400
Lewisville, TX 75067

Can I start classes before my status is approved?

No.  As with all Change of Status applications, you must maintain your current status until receiving the I-797A receipt approval notice.  In some cases, such as a J status student, studying is allowed.

I am applying as principle F1 and my family with be dependents as F2.  We all have different I-94 departure dates.  What date do we need to apply before?

The applicant must submit all documentation with the earliest I-94 departure date.

Can I travel outside the US while my application is pending?

If you travel while a change of status is pending, you forfeit that application.

What do I do after my change of status is approved?

Yay!  You were approved!  Contact your International Student Advisor immediately.  The ISA will need a copy of the I-797A notice and you will need to begin classes by the next available start date, or within 30 days, whichever is sooner.  In some cases, the ISA will be notified of your approval in SEVIS before you receive the I-797A in the mail.

Contact Information

Phone: (713) 789-4555

Email: bei@bei.edu

Address: 6060 Richmond Ave, Houston, TX 77057

Working Hours:Mon-Fri 8 AM - 9 PM & Sat 9 AM - 12 PM

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