E-2 Visa Dependents: How To Find School In The US For Your Children

We guide you on how to find school in the US, explore public and private school options, enrollment processes, and best locations for E-2 visa-dependent children in the United States. 

Overview Of The US Education System

What are the advantages of the US education system?

As an E-2 visa holder, you can work and live in the United States for a specified period. If you have dependents, such as children, they can join you and enjoy the privileges of living in the US. However, as a responsible parent, you want to ensure your children receive a quality education. As such, it’s important to understand the education system in the US and find a school in the US for your E-2 visa-dependent children.
Finding the right school for your children is essential to their success and overall well-being. With so many options available, it can be challenging to know where to start. In this article, we’ll explore public and private school options, enrollment processes, and the best locations to study in the United States. By the end of this article, you’ll better understand how to navigate the US education system and find school in the US for your children.¬†
In the US, students can choose to attend either public or private schools. Public schools are funded and run by the government, while private schools are privately owned and financed. The system is divided into three levels: elementary school (grades K-5), middle school to junior high school (grades 6-8), and high school (grades 9-12). According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the total number of K-12 students enrolled in public and private schools was 53.9 million in fall 2019. Among them, 91 percent were enrolled in public schools, while the remaining 9 percent were enrolled in private schools.
The US education system has been widely recognized for its strengths and advantages. Below are some of the major benefits of the system.
A diverse range of programs and institutions
One of the key strengths of the US education system is the variety of programs and institutions available to students. Thousands of colleges and universities across the country offer a wide range of degree programs and courses of study. 
Further, the US has numerous community colleges, technical schools, and vocational schools that provide specialized training for specific careers. This diversity allows students to find an institution and program that suits their unique interests and goals.
International recognition
American universities consistently rank among the top in the world, attracting students from around the globe. The international recognition is demonstrated by the fact that the US had the highest number of top 10 programs worldwide, with 256 programs ranked in the top 10. This is according to the QS 2023 rankings, which analyzed over 15,700 academic programs at 1,594 universities in 93 countries and territories. 
In addition to the high number of top-ranked programs, universities in the US also took the lead in 32 subjects. Harvard University topped the list with fourteen subjects, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) claimed the lead in eleven subjects.
Opportunities for extracurricular activities
The US education system is also known for providing students with various extracurricular activities outside of the classroom. These activities, such as sports teams, music programs, and clubs, allow students to pursue their interests and develop important life skills.
According to a study by the National Federation of State High School Associations, more than 7.6 million high school students in the US participated in sports from 2021 to 2022. These sports programs allow students to learn teamwork, leadership, and perseverance. Additionally, many high schools and universities in the US have strong music and performing arts programs that offer students the chance to develop their creative talents and express themselves.
Flexibility and adaptability
Another advantageous characteristic of the US education system is its flexibility and adaptability, allowing students to customize their educational experience to suit their needs and interests. For example, many universities offer flexible degree programs, such as online courses, part-time schedules, and accelerated programs, which allow students to balance their studies with other commitments like work or family. 
The system also encourages interdisciplinary studies, giving students the opportunity to combine courses from different fields to create a personalized program of study. These features of the US education system provide students with a more tailored and efficient path toward their goals.
Cultural diversity
Students from different backgrounds and countries study together in many institutions in the United States. A report from the National Center for Education Statistics indicates that, in the fall of 2020, there were 49.4 million students enrolled in public elementary and secondary schools in the US. Out of these students, 22.6 million were White, 13.8 million were Hispanic, 7.4 million were Black, 2.7 million were Asian, and the rest belonged to other racial groups.
The diversity allows students to learn from and interact with people from different backgrounds, fostering cultural awareness and understanding. Additionally, institutions often provide courses and programs that explore diverse cultures and perspectives, enriching the learning experience.

Children in a school in the US looking at computers

Enrolling An E-2 Visa-Dependent Child In A US School

A child pointing a tablet and explaining lesson to a boy

How can I enroll my child in a school in the US?

Given the advantages of the US education system, it is understandable why many parents would want to enroll their children in American schools. If you are a parent with an E-2 visa and want to enroll your child in a school in the US, here are some steps you can take:

Determine your child’s grade level.

Before enrolling your children, you need to determine their grade level. This will help you identify the right school for them. In the US, students’ grade level is determined by their age as of a specific date, typically September 1st or August 1st. You can find the specific age requirements for each grade level on the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) website.

Research schools.

Once you have determined your child’s grade level, you can start researching schools in your area. You can begin by checking the websites of your local school district or private schools or by using online directories like GreatSchools.org or PrivateSchoolReview.com. Consider factors such as the school’s academic performance, extracurricular activities, and location.

Contact the school.

After identifying potential schools, contact them to learn more about the enrollment process. Public schools typically have a designated enrollment office or registrar who can guide you through the process, while private schools may require you to contact the admissions office directly. You can find the contact information for public schools on the website of your local school district, while private schools typically have their contact information listed on their website.

Provide the necessary documents.

Schools will typically require certain documents to complete the enrollment process. The documents needed to enroll a child in a US school may vary depending on the school and the state but generally include the following:

  • Proof of age: This can be a birth certificate or passport that verifies your child’s age and identity.
  • Proof of residency:¬†You will need to provide proof that you and your child are living within the school district’s boundaries. This can be a utility bill or lease agreement in your name.
  • Immunization records:¬†Most schools require proof that your child has been vaccinated against certain diseases.
  • Academic transcripts:¬†If your child has attended school before, you need to provide transcripts or report cards from their previous school.
  • Legal status documentation:¬†Public schools may require proof of your child’s legal status in the US if they are not US citizens or permanent residents.¬†

Complete the enrollment process.

Once you have provided all the necessary documents, you can complete the enrollment process. This may involve filling out enrollment forms, attending orientation sessions, and paying any necessary fees. Some schools may also require your child to take placement tests to determine their academic level.

Enrollment procedures may vary slightly between public and private school in the US and between different states and school districts. Therefore, check with your specific school or district to ensure you have all the necessary information for enrollment.

Move To The USA With Your Family & Children Under E-2 Visa. Find Out How To Apply.

Public vs. Private School in the US

Which is best for my E-2 visa-dependent child?

When deciding between enrolling your child in a public or private school in the US, there are various factors to consider. 

Public School Pros And Cons

Free or low-cost tuitionLarger class size
Access to special education programsThey may not have as much funding as private schools resulting in limited facilities and resources
Experienced teachers with state certificationMay have lower academic standards
A variety of extracurricular activitiesLess flexible with curriculum and policies

Private School Pros And Cons

High academic standardsExpensive tuition fees
Smaller class sizesLimited diversity
Greater parental involvementLess regulation (may have different standards for curriculum, teaching qualifications, and student testing)
Emphasis on individualized attentionAdmissions may be competitive or exclusive

Average Tuition Fees

Private schools in the United States generally have higher tuition fees than public schools, with an average tuition cost of $11,207 per year for elementary schools and $15,645 per year for secondary schools. However, the cost of private school can vary greatly depending on factors such as location, school type, and grade level. The highest tuition fee for private schools can exceed $50,000 per year for some exclusive boarding schools, while some parochial schools may have lower tuition fees. 

In contrast, public schools are funded by the government and therefore do not require tuition, although they may have additional fees for extracurricular activities, supplies, and other expenses. In the 2018-2019 academic year, US public elementary and secondary school spent $800 billion. This translates to a per-pupil expenditure of $15,621 for students enrolled in public schools in that academic year.

Best States And Schools For E-2 Visa-Dependents

US states map

Factors to consider

It is essential to consider various factors when choosing a state and school to ensure your child receives the best possible education. Here are some important factors to keep in mind:

Quality of education

Look into school rankings, standardized test scores, graduation rates, and the teacher-to-student ratio. By looking at these metrics, you can better understand how well schools perform academically and how much individual attention your child will likely receive.

  • What is the school’s ranking in the state?
  • How do the school’s test scores compare to other schools in the area?
  • What is the school’s graduation rate?
  • What is the teacher-to-student ratio?

Cost of living

The cost of living in different states varies greatly. Consider the cost of living in different states, including housing, transportation, and other living expenses, as it can affect your family’s financial situation and, consequently, the quality of education your child may receive.

  • What is the average cost of rent/mortgage in the area?
  • What is the cost of utilities?
  • How much is transportation, such as gas or public transportation?
  • What is the cost of groceries and other necessities?

Climate and geography

Climate and geography can likewise impact your quality of life and your child’s education. For instance, living in an area with poor air quality could negatively affect your children’s health and learning ability, especially if they have asthma or allergies. Additionally, certain geographic locations may offer more opportunities for outdoor education, such as field trips to national parks or nature reserves, which can provide valuable learning experiences.

  • What are the average temperature and weather patterns in the area?
  • Are there any issues with pollution or environmental hazards that could impact your child’s health and education?
  • Are there any natural disasters that commonly occur in the area?
  • Is the area near the beach, mountains, or other scenic areas?

Cultural diversity

Research the demographics of the area and the school to determine if there is a diverse student body and if the curriculum includes cultural education. If an area is more culturally diverse, there may be a greater acceptance and tolerance of people from different backgrounds, including foreigners. This can create a more welcoming and inclusive environment for your children and potentially enhance their educational experience.

  • What is the racial makeup of the area?
  • Are there opportunities for your child to learn a new language or culture?
  • What is the local culture and lifestyle like?
  • How open and accepting is the community of diversity?

Extracurricular activities

If your child is interested in a particular activity, ensure that the school offers it and that the program is well-established. Participating in extracurricular activities can enhance your child’s education, as they can learn important skills such as teamwork, leadership, and time management. Additionally, participating in a sport or club can help your child make friends and feel more connected to their school community.

  • What sports teams, clubs, and music programs are available?
  • How does the school support and fund these activities?
  • Is there a variety of options for your child’s interests?
  • How involved are the school and community in extracurricular activities?

Best States And Educational Institutions For International Students

KC Overseas Education ranks the following as the top five most popular states for international students:

New York

New York is a vibrant and dynamic state widely famous as the Empire State of the US. It is a global business and finance hub, with many international financial institutions headquartered there. In addition to its business and financial opportunities, New York is home to several of the top-ranked universities in the world, such as Columbia University and New York University. The state also has excellent public schools, including Stuyvesant High School and the Bronx High School of Science.


California is known for its beautiful beaches, rich culture, and thriving entertainment industry, making it a dream destination for many students. It is home to some of the top universities in the world, such as Stanford University, University of California Berkeley (UC Berkeley), and California Institute of Technology (Caltech). There are also several exceptional high schools within the state, including Monta Vista High School and Whitney High School.


Massachusetts is another state with a strong education system, with several top-ranked universities worldwide, such as Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and Boston University. Additionally, the state is home to Kendall Square, also known as ‘The Most Innovative Square Mile on the Planet,’ as it has the highest concentration of entrepreneurial start-ups.


Texas boasts a broad and varied education system, offering numerous highly-ranked universities such as the University of Texas at Austin and Rice University. The state is also renowned for its exceptional public schools, such as the Liberal Arts and Science Academy and the School for the Talented and Gifted. Texas offers pocket-friendly tuition fees and favorable climate conditions, making it a popular choice among international students. 


Illinois is one of the largest economies in America, home to multiple rapidly growing industries such as manufacturing and agriculture. It offers top universities like the University of Chicago, Northwestern University, and the University of Chicago Urbana-Champaign, which have a reputation for excellence in chemical manufacturing, agriculture, mining, machinery, and electrical engineering.

University Or College For My E-2 Visa-Dependent Child

What's the difference, and how to apply?

When it comes to higher education in the US, the terms “university” and “college” are often used interchangeably, but there are some key differences between the two. A university typically offers more comprehensive undergraduate and graduate programs, including professional schools such as law, medicine, and business.

Conversely, colleges usually focus on undergraduate education and may specialize in areas like liberal arts, engineering, or music. It’s important to consider your children’s academic interests and career goals when deciding whether a university or college fits them best.

The application process for universities and colleges can vary but generally involves submitting an application form, academic transcripts, test scores (such as the SAT or ACT), and letters of recommendation. Many schools also require a personal essay or statement of purpose as part of the application. Some universities and colleges also require an interview with a member of the admissions committee.

Here are some of the key differences between universities and colleges in the United States:

Franchise BusinessFranchise Business
Degree programsOffers a wide range of undergraduate, graduate, and professional degree programsFocuses on undergraduate programs, with limited or no graduate or professional degree programs
SpecializationOffers specialization in various areas May specialize in certain areas like liberal arts
Student body sizeLarger, with tens of thousands of studentsSmaller, with a few hundred to several thousand students
Campus atmosphereCan be more impersonal due to the larger size, but offers more diverse student body and opportunities for research and networkingCan be more personal and community-oriented, with a strong focus on teaching and student support
FacultyOften has a mix of full-time and part-time faculty, with more emphasis on research and academic publishingTypically has a higher percentage of full-time faculty, with more emphasis on teaching and student engagement
Admission requirementsCan have more competitive admission requirements, with standardized test scores, essays, and extracurricular activities consideredCan have less stringent admission requirements, with a greater emphasis on high school grades and activities
CostCan be more expensive due to the range of degree programs and research opportunities, but may also offer more financial aid and scholarshipsCan be more affordable but may offer limited financial aid and scholarship options

Finding The Best Educational Opportunities for E-2 Visa Dependents

Securing the right educational opportunities for your children is crucial for their academic and personal development. By exploring options of public and private school in the US and considering factors such as location, academic programs, and extracurricular activities, you can help ensure your child’s fulfilling and enriching educational experience in the United States.

Whether you’re just starting the E-2 visa application process or you’re already in the United States, it’s important to have the right resources and support. At E2VisaFranchises.com, we offer comprehensive guidance and assistance in finding you the right business to invest in the USA while ensuring your E-2 visa application exceeds the USCIS requirements.

Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you achieve your business and immigration goals.

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