Can I fax my application materials or do I have to mail them?

You will need to mail your application materials as the originals of several documents are required to process your I-20 for your visa.

Please mail your materials to:

110 Fisher-Bennett Hall
3340 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6274

What is required to apply to the ELP?

The following documents are required for enrollment in the ELP:

  • completed enrollment form (You must include your permanent home address for visa purposes)
  • $400 enrollment fee/tuition deposit in the form of an international money order, bank check from a US bank or foreign bank with a correspondent US bank, or by traveler's checks
  • photocopy of your passport ID page
  • an original bank letter is required. Fax or photocopies are not acceptable. The letter must include the signature of a bank official and cite the availability sufficent funds to cover the cost of the program and your living expenses.  (Please see the application page for amounts.) A letter in English is preferred; if that is not available, include the original letter and attach an official English translation.
  • if you are being funded by someone living in the US (a permanent resident), an Affidavit of Support form (I-134) (if you do not have a copy, you may request one from our office)
  • if you are being funded by an organization or government, attach an original letter signed by an official of the organization and detailing what expenses they will cover
  • if you are transferring to our program from another school within the U.S., you will also need to send a copy of your student visa, a copy of your current I-20, a copy of your most recent CBT admission stamp, an official transcript from your current English language program, and a completed Proof of Academic Success form from your current English language program

Do I have to get a visa? How long does it take?

Yes, a visa is required for most programs. We recommend that you apply at least 6 weeks prior to the start of the program to allow enough time to process the paperwork and have your visa interview in your home country.

More information:

Full-time students in the following ELP programs are eligible for F-1 student visas:

  • Intensive, Super Intensive, and Business Intensive Programs
  • University Connection and University Connection Plus
  • Institute for Academic Studies
  • Institute for Business Communication
  • Institute for MBA and LLM Preparation
  • International Business Communication for Professionals

Part-time students are not eligible for F-1 visas. The ELP does not issue visa documents for Evening Courses.

How do I Apply for a Student Visa for the ELP?

Please apply for your F-1 student visa early. In some countries it can take several weeks to obtain a visa from the U.S. embassy after you have received admission from the English Language Programs.

The Form I-20 is used by the student to apply for the F-1 student visa. The University of Pennsylvania issues the Form I-20 for study at the English Language Programs. To obtain the I-20:

  1. Complete all sections of the enrollment form for the program in which you plan to study (see How to Apply).
  2. Send the enrollment form, enrollment fee and tuition deposit, the original financial documents requested in the enrollment form, and a photocopy of the page in your passport that shows your name and date of birth to the ELP.
  3. Upon receipt of these documents, the ELP will process and send an admission letter and the Form I-20 to you via courier service. Sign and date the Form I-20 when you receive it.
  4. Pay your SEVIS fee. For information about this fee, go to the US Department of Homeland Security website.
  5. Submit the Form I-20, your admission letter, financial documents, passport, SEVIS receipt and any other required documentation (such as transcripts or academic records) to the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate in your country and apply for an F-1 student visa. We recommend contacting the embassy before your application to verify the embassy's specific policies and procedures. More information about a particular embassy may be found at
  6. Present the Form I-20 and your passport to the immigration officer when you arrive in the U.S. The officer will return your copy of the I-20 to you and will staple the Form I-94 in your passport.
  7. Bring the Form I-20, Form I-94 and your passport with you to the English Language Programs on registration/orientation day.
  8. If you have questions about your application, please contact the ELP.

** Please note: If you enter the U.S. using an I-20 from the University of Pennsylvania English Language Programs, you must complete the ELP program or session to which you have been admitted before you are eligible to transfer to another school or university.

Please visit the International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) website at for more visa information and immigration updates.

How many students are in each class?

13 is the average number of students in our classes and the maximum is usually 17

How many classes will I have? How many classes a day? What days? What times?

The number of courses you have will depend on your proficiency level as determined by your placement test. Most students take 2-4 courses. Super-Intensive students take 1-2 additional courses. Intensive Program classes meet Monday-Friday 8:00am-5:20pm. Super-Intensive elective classes are taught in the evening from 6:00pm-8:00pm. The schedule of your classes will depend on the courses you take.

How will I know what courses I can choose?

Your core course will be based on your proficiency level as determined by your placement test.  Students who place at the intermediate or advanced level will be able to choose from a variety of electives to take, in addition to your core course. You will receive information during orientation on how to select your courses.

Can I extend my study once I am already a student?

Yes. After classes start, you will be given the option to continue your studies.

Please be aware that you will only receive a multi-session discount if you apply and pay for 2 or more sessions at once.

When will I take the placement test?

On the first day of orientation.

Do you offer the TOEFL?

No. However, it is offered several times a year in the area. We offer TOEFL preparation courses in our Intensive Program and University Connection program.

Do you offer the TOIEC?

We offer an institutional TOIEC every other session.

What percentage of students are from my country?

The percentages of students from any particular country varies depending on the time of year.  Most sessions we have students from 25-30 different countries studying with us.

How far are the dorms from campus?

They are located on the campus.

ELP students are not able to live in the University of Pennsylvania dormitories except during the summer (June-August). There are several housing options available to ELP students that are no more than a 30 minute walk to campus. Most housing options are located on campus or only a few city blocks away. Please see the housing page for more information.

Where can I find an apartment to live off-campus?

The ELP does not help students find off-campus apartments. Please see the University of Pennsylvania office of Off-Campus Living site at for information about locating apartments and negotiating a lease.

Is the ELP located in a safe neighborhood?

The ELP is located on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania near the urban center of Philadelphia, the 5th largest city in the USA. The ELP and the University of Pennsylvania are in West Philadelphia, in an area called “University City.” Like all major US cities, Philadelphia experiences moderate levels of crime but has several measures in place to keep residents and visitors as safe as possible.

More information:

In order to prepare our students for living in an urban setting, ELP students are required to attend a safety orientation when they first arrive. The orientation includes tips on being safe in our surrounding community and various phone numbers for safety and security services.

Penn takes every precaution possible to keep students and other members of the Penn community safe. There are escort services available to students who want someone to walk with them if they are uncomfortable walking alone. The ELP students are able to utilize the Penn shuttle bus system which transports them to various locations on and off campus. There are emergency phones located throughout campus that can be used to call security for an escort or to seek assistance. There are Penn security people and Philadelphia police constantly patrolling the campus and surrounding community.

ELP and other Penn students feel comfortable on our campus due to the high level of security measures in place. Rest assured that Penn does everything possible to keep ELP students and the rest of the community safe.

Can I get a social security number?

Only if you are eligible to work in the US and have a job.

How do I get a driver's license?

If you will be studying for at least a year, it is possible to get a driver’s license. The ELP will provide you with a letter verifying your study with our program which you will need to take with you when applying for a driver’s license.

More information:

Information regarding obtaining a license as a non-US citizen can be
found at

General information about licensing requirements can be found at

Can I get a job? Where can I find a job?

If you are studying full-time on a F-1 student visa, you are eligible to work on campus part-time, up to 20 hours per week. The ELP does not assist students in finding jobs but ELP students can use the Penn Job Referral Service.