Frequently Asked Questions

Below you will find a list of frequently asked questions along with their answers. Have a question you don’t see here? Don’t worry! You can contact us; we are always here to help.

Am I Eligible To Participate In CIEE High School USA?
To qualify for our Exchange program, you must:

  • Be at least 15 years old and no older than 18 ½ years old on the day you arrive in the U.S. arrival day. January applicants must be 15 by January 1. August applicants must be 15 by June 1.
  • Have a GPA of at least 2.6 on a scale of 4.0 or higher. Students cannot have failed a year of school.
  • Have an ELTiS (Form 1 or 2) score of 216 or higher.
  • Have studied English for a minimum of 3 years and cannot have failed a year of English in the last 3 years.
  • Not be a U.S. citizen.
  • Not have previously received a J-1 or F-1 visa. (If you have, you are only eligible for the F-1 program: Standard, Standard+, Choice, or Premier).
  • Participate with the purpose of cultural exchange and English language learning – not a desire to graduate from a US high school, attend a US university, play sports, music, etc. in the US.

Do You Offer Direct Placements?
If you have a specific family that would like to host you, speak with your International Representative and they can present the placement opportunity to CIEE.  CIEE will consider the placement option and work actively to assess if the placement can be arranged.

Where Will I Live?
CIEE will place you in one of 48 continental states or Alaska. Your placement will be based on host family and school availability.

What School Will I Attend?
CIEE will place you at a public school in one of 48 continental states or Alaska. This school will be close to your host family.

Who Will Be My Host Family?
At CIEE, we work hard to match students with host families based on shared interests and other personal traits. For more information about the types of host families you might be matched with, please read our article on types of host families.

Can I Study In The U.S. For Multiple Years?
Participants of our Exchange program may only participate in that program for one year.

How Much Do Your Programs Cost? And What Is Included?
Each program fee includes:

  • Application fee
  • Support from your CIEE international representative
  • US Sponsor support
  • Pre-departure and in-country orientations
  • Travel health insurance for the duration of your program
  • Administrative costs
  • Translation of school documents
  • Host Family CBC fees

Please contact your CIEE international representative for more information.

What Is CIEE's Role As My Visa Sponsor?
As your visa sponsor, CIEE provides a number of services. These include:

  • Friendly, comprehensive assistance with every aspect of the application process
  • Highly qualified international representatives in more than 40 countries
  • Thorough vetting of host families
  • In-depth participant orientation
  • Health insurance coverage*
  • Responsive customer service and 24-hour emergency support

What If My Visa Application Is Denied?
A partial refund (SEVIS Fee and CBC Fee are not refundable) of your program fee will be issued from CIEE.

How Do I Find My CIEE International Representative?
Contact us at We will connect you with your CIEE international representative. 

Can I Leave The U.S. During My Program?
High School USA students are not allowed to return to their home country during their program. All other travel requests (including to other countries) must be approved by CIEE prior to the travel date.

Can I Extend My Program?
Students on a 5-month program can apply to extend to a 10-month program. This is dependent on the host family’s willingness to continue hosting throughout the year and your performance so far at school. Additional fees apply. 

Can I Remain In The U.S. After The Conclusion Of My Program?
CIEE encourages students to return home within 2 weeks after their last day of school.  If the student requests to stay longer than 2 weeks and is invited to stay with their host family, they must return home within 30 days of their last day of school. After this 30-day period, the student’s visa is no longer valid.

Can My Natural Family Visit Me In The U.S.?
Natural families can visit during the second half of the year, if approved by CIEE and the host family.  For all natural family visits, CIEE must be notified at least 30 days in advance. Please note: CIEE has the authority to approve or deny travel requests based on the student’s good standing on the program.