The Ailey School has hosted students from over 65 countries and 6 continents worldwide. The diversity of our student body is matched by the multiculturalism of New York City, home to denizens of over 200 nationalities and where over 800 languages are spoken. The Ailey School aims to foster the exchange of intellectual, artistic and cultural ideas among its student body, faculty and staff by promoting an attitude of inclusiveness, non-discrimination, and respect for individuality.
The Admissions Office serves as the international student advisement and resource center on a daily basis.
The Ailey School is authorized by federal law to issue I-20 forms to prospective international students who have met the artistic requirements for admission. Students may apply for an F-1 student visas for full-time study in the U.S. once they have met the criteria for issuance of the I-20 form.
Once a prospective student has been accepted to one of the full-time programs* at The Ailey School, they must submit the following items to qualify for an I-20:
- $50 international student fee
- Copy of the identification page of their passport
One passport-sized photograph in JPEG format
- Financial documentation demonstrating the ability to cover the costs of tuition, fees and living expenses for the first year of study.
(All financial documentation must be in English and must indicate the U.S. dollar equivalent of whatever type of currency is reflected in the documentation. Statements that are not in English will not be accepted.)
*Applicants to the Ailey/Fordham BFA Program must contact the Fordham University International Student Advisor for instructions on obtaining an I-20
Because the process of obtaining an F-1 visa can take up to 3 months in some countries, it is strongly advised that international students submit their video audition by the following dates in order to have sufficient time to apply for their visa:
Academic year - May 1
In order to expedite the visa application process, students should submit documents as early as possible and may even submit visa materials prior to being accepted. This enables the Admissions Office to issue the I-20 form as soon as the student has been officially accepted. However, please keep in mind that The Ailey School cannot issue the I-20 form before a student is officially accepted to the school.
Frequently Asked Questions
*Note: The following answer does not apply for the 2021-2022 school year. Due to the COVID pandemic, auditions will not take place in person. Students will be considered for the Scholarship Program by their video audition.
As a courtesy to international students who do not live within traveling distance of an audition site, The Ailey School will accept video auditions for the Certificate Program and Independent Study Program. Applicants should follow the guidelines found on the Auditions page.
Students wishing to audition for the Scholarship Program must audition in person. There are no exceptions*.
International students apply to the BFA Program should visit BFA Admissions, as the process is completely different for this program.
Because we receive so many requests for private and in-class auditions, unfortunately, we are not able to accommodate special requests. Students who are unable to attend an audition on our annual audition tour may audition by video.
The Ailey School does not usually accept video auditions for the Scholarship Program. However, due to the COVID pandemic, auditions for all programs are by video only. Therefore, we will consider all students for the Scholarship Program when they submit a video audition for the Certificate or Independent Study Programs.
The Ailey School usually holds an audition in Toronto, Canada (subject to the Co-Director's availability). Auditions in Europe are occasionally scheduled if the School Co-Directors schedules allow.
Please note: Due to the COVID pandemic, all auditions for the 2021-2022 school year are by video only. There are no auditions being held in person this year.
Yes, all international students must obtain an F-1 Student Visa in order to study full-time in the U.S. Canadian nationals do not need to obtain a visa in their passports, but they still need to obtain F-1 Status.
In order to obtain F-1 Status, students must document to The Ailey School that they have sufficient financial resources to cover their living expenses and tuition & fees for the first year of study. (Please refer to the document in the sidebar entitled "I-20 Application Instructions"). Once the documentation has been submitted to the Admissions Office, the Director of Admissions will issue an I-20 Certificate of Eligibility for F-1 Non-Immigrant Student Status and instructions on how to proceed. The Ailey School will assist students with this process from beginning to end. It is not possible to apply for a student visa without first submitting the required documentation to The Ailey School
The entire process of applying for F-1 status can take as long as three months, depending on the country and city in which the consulate is located. This includes the time it takes to gather your financial documentation and submit it to The Ailey School for review, and the waiting time for The Ailey School to issue an I-20 form. In addition, in some countries there is a long wait for appointments at the U.S. consulate for a visa interview. Since Canadians do not need to make an appointment at the consulate, the process usually takes less time for Canadian nationals.
Note: The following answer to this question does not apply to the 2021-2022 school year. Due to the COVID pandemic, the Scholarship audition will not take place at The Ailey School.
Students who wait until the July audition may not have enough time to make all the necessary preparations for obtaining a student visa and finding housing in time for September. Therefore, you must submit the required documentation for your student visa NO LATER THAN JUNE 1 (before you attend the July audition).
It is also strongly recommended that you begin your search for off-campus housing prior to the audition because housing at The Ludlow Residence is usually fully occupied by July.
No, it is not possible to attend The Ailey School part-time. It is mandatory for all international students on an F-1 visa to attend school on a full-time basis.
Unfortunately, The Ailey School does not offer need-based financial assistance to international students who wish to defray the cost of attendance. Additionally, U.S. Federal Financial Aid is only available to U.S. Citizens and Permanent Resident Aliens (Green Card holders). International Students may audition for the Scholarship Program if they wish to obtain merit-based financial assistance.
There are several reasons why an international student might have trouble making an online payment. Some international credit cards have daily limits on the amounts that can be charged. Students should contact their bank to inform them that they will be making an international payment in a large amount.
Other reasons for difficulty with international payments are credit card security code discrepancies between the U.S. and other countries. Students who have trouble with online payments can contact the Bursar at 212-405-9519 to make a payment by telephone after the required enrollment materials have been submitted.
It is highly advisable to open a U.S. bank account while studying at The Ailey School. Having an account at a local U.S. bank makes it much easier to have access to your funds for living expenses, tuition payments, emergencies, and other necessities. We recommend setting up a bank to bank transfer with the bank in your country of origin so that you can always have funds at your disposal. The International Student Advisor will assist you with opening a local bank account.
Yes, the USCIS allows students to travel outside of the U.S. during their enrollment at The Ailey School. However, because F-1 regulations are always being amended and changed, students are advised to meet with the International Student Advisor prior to making any travel plans.
Students must obtain an additional signature from the International Student Advisor on the second page of their I-20 at least once a year in order to travel outside of the U.S. Travel within the U.S. is allowed and does not require a passport, nor do students need to carry their I-20 when traveling from state to state.
Note: Although there are no restrictions on student travel at this time, due to the current COVID pandemic restrictions on travel may be imposed at any time by the governments of various countries. Students should keep this in mind when making the decision to enroll.
Only those students who are engaging in authorized employment (on-campus employment or OPT) can obtain a U.S. Social Security number. The International Student Advisor can assist students who are authorized to work with obtaining a social security number.
International students are not allowed to work off-campus during their first year of enrollment. After attending for one academic year, there are several options for employment, although they are limited and restricted to specific guidelines.
On-Campus Employment: The Ailey School has limited on-campus employment for students in their second and third year of study. Students must speak with the Director of Admissions if they are interested in being placed on a list for on-campus employment.
Optional Practical Training (OPT): OPT is a type of employment authorization that is available by submitting an application to the US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). Students must have completed one academic year to be eligible for Part-Time OPT while they are still attending school. Students must successfully complete their program of study in order to be eligible to apply for full-time Post Completion OPT.
Curricular Practical Training (CPT): CPT is a type of employment that is an integral component of the program of study, such as the Certificate Program Student Performance Group (SPG) or the Threshold Level of the Scholarhsip Program.
The Ailey School International Student Advisor discusses all employment options at the New Student Meeting during Orientation week. Students should also carefully read the International Student Handbook for more detailed descriptions of employment opportunities.
International students must successfully complete the program in which they are enrolled in order to be eligible for Post -Completion Practical Training: three years in the Certificate Program; one year in the Independent Study Program; and one year in the Scholarship Program. Students who wish to apply for OPT must first have a final evaluation meeting with their Faculty Advisor at the end of their last semester of study. Once it has been confirmed that all program requirements have been met and that there have been no excessive absences, the student may meet with the International Student Advisor to request OPT.