Visa and ESTA Information

Participants traveling to New Haven, CT from outside the United States are responsible for securing the appropriate travel documents to travel to the United States for the duration of the program.

Please note that YYGS is unable to provide any funding towards securing travel documentation (e.g., passport, travel visa), as we are legally prohibited from distributing funds in this way. Additionally, while some families choose to accompany their YYGS participant in traveling to and/or from the YYGS program, please note that YYGS is only permitted to provide a visa support letter for the participant.


Participants traveling to the program from outside the United States must have a valid passport that will remain valid for at least six months following the program.


International participants who need a visa to enter the United States usually enter on a B-2 visitor visa, or some form of B visitor visa. You can visit this Travel.State.Gov website to learn more about these visas, and a description of the B-2 visitor visa activities is attached.

YYGS also provides a Visa Support Letter to all students once they have completed their tuition payment (or immediately, for Scholarship recipients), which you can access by logging onto your Applicant Status page and clicking “View Updates.”
As noted in the Visa Letter, on the Travel.State.Gov website, the reason many student opt to apply for a B-2 visitor visa is that YYGS should qualify as “enrollment in a short recreational course of study, not for credit toward a degree.” Our letter reiterates that YYGS students are not enrolled nor registered at Yale, and do not receive any kind of academic credit for participating.
Thus, it is often important to reiterate this during your visa interview, if you choose to apply for a B-2 visitor visa. Though YYGS is administered by Yale, YYGS students cannot apply for F student visas because Yale cannot provide I-20 documentation, since YYGS is not enrolling them at Yale nor granting them any academic credit, and the program is too short in duration. 

Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA)

International participants traveling to the United States from a Visa Waiver Program (VWP) designated country must have authorization through the ESTA prior to boarding a U.S. bound air or sea carrier. ESTA is the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) automated web-based system to determine eligibility to travel without a visa to the United States for tourism or business. Visit the ESTA webpage on the CBP website for more information.

Steps to take:
1. Check to see if your country is on the VWP designated country list:
2. If you require an ESTA, apply for one immediately:
3. If you have any questions, please contact your local embassy.

Please note: YYGS does not need to provide you with any supporting documents to apply for your ESTA authorization.


As the traveler, you will be responsible for ensuring that you meet all COVID requirements for travel as dictated by your airline and/or country. The policies are ever-changing, so we expect you to be aware of the requirements (contact tracing application, testing, etc.) and take action as necessary. We suggest that you travel with a copy of your vaccination card.