I'm visiting the east coast to visit a few colleges and their labs. I am planning to apply to graduate school. I want to know if I can tell the border patrol officer this if applying for entry under the VWP?

  • Well, I wouldn't recommend fabricating a cover story. Always answer the questions of border officers truthfully; if they ask for the purpose of your visit, you should tell them. – Michael Seifert Jul 31 '17 at 14:57
  • Beyond this, it would help to know what your citizenship is, and what kind of visa you'll be entering the US on (if you need one.) – Michael Seifert Jul 31 '17 at 14:57
  • @MichaelSeifert OP's a VWP national – Crazydre Jul 31 '17 at 14:58

You have two options:

  1. Enter visa-free, visit the colleges (which is allowed), then apply and return home to obtain an F-1 visa, with which you can re-enter.

  2. Get a B2 "prospective student" visa, with which you don't have to exit and re-enter the US, but can apply for a change of status, which however costs $370. The next time you travel abroad (except to Canada, Mexico, Bermuda or the Caribbean for less than 30 days), you have to get an F-1 visa from the local US Embassy before re-entering (make sure to have your I-20 for this)

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