International ProgramsInternational & Study Abroad Services
International ProgramsInternational & Study Abroad Services
International StudentsInternational & Study Abroad Services
Frequently Asked Questions
How Can I Obtain A Nonimmigrant Student Visa?
The International Student application form must be filled out and returned to the International Student Programs Office with the required fees and documentation before an I-20 can be issued. The I-20 is a document necessary to apply for a foreign student visa at the U.S. Consulate in the student’s home country. Upon admission, the I-20, along with orientation information, is mailed to the student. The student must check with the US consulate in their country to inquire about specifics in gaining a visa to the US.
Below are two web links that may be helpful when applying for a student visa:
- US Embassy
This site will lead students to the US Embassy located near their home city/country. This site outlines how to schedule interviews and the appropriate documentation required for the interview.
- Education USA
There are education centers all around the world that are designated to helping potential students prepare for study in the US. They may help with preparing applications for visa interviews, preparing for questions for visa interviews, how to make appointments at the embassies and more.
10 Points to Remember When Applying for a Nonimmigrant Student Visa
- Ties to Your Home Country.
Under U.S. law, all applicants for nonimmigrant visas, such as student visas, are viewed as intending immigrants until they can convince the consular officer that they are not. You must, therefore, be able to show that you have reasons for returning to your home country that are stronger than those for remaining in the United States. “Ties” to your home country are the things that bind you to your home town, homeland, or current place of residence: job, family, financial prospects, that you own or will inherit, investments, etc. If you are a prospective undergraduate, the interviewing officer may ask about your specific intentions or promise of future employment, family or other relationships, educational objectives, grades, long-range plans, and career prospects in your home country. Each person’s situation is different, of course, and there is no magic explanation or single document, certificate, or letter which can guarantee visa issuance. If you have applied for the U.S. Green Card Lottery, you may be asked if you are intending to immigrate. A simple answer would be that you applied for the lottery since it was an authorized stay in the U.S. previously, be prepared to explain what happened clearly and concisely, with documentation if available.
Anticipate that the interview will be conducted in English and not in your native language. One suggestion is to practice English conversation with a native speaker before the interview, but do NOT prepare speeches! If you are coming to the United States solely to study intensive English, be prepared to explain how English will be useful for you in your home country.
- Speak For Yourself
Do not bring parents or family members with you to the interview. The consular officer wants to interview you, not your family. A negative impression is created if you are not prepared to speak on your own behalf. If you are a minor applying for a high school program and need your parents there in case there are questions, for example about funding, they should wait in the waiting room.
- Know the Program and How It Fits Your Career Plans
If you are not articulate the reasons you will study in a particular program in the United States , you may not succeed in convincing the consular officer that you are indeed planning to study, rather than to immigrate. You should also be able to explain how studying in the U.S. relates to your future professional career when you return home.
- Be Brief
Because of the volume of applications received, all consular officers are under considerable time pressure to conduct a quick and efficient interview. They must make a decision, for the most part, on the impressions they form during the first minute of the interview. Consequently, what you say first and the initial impression you create are critical to your success. Keep your answers to the officer’s questions short and to the point.
- Additional Documentation
It should be immediately clear to the consular officer what written documents you are presenting and what they signify. Lengthy written explanations cannot be quickly read or evaluated. Remember that you will have 2-3 minutes of interview time, if you’re lucky.
- Not All Countries are Equal
Applicants from countries suffering economic problems or from countries where many students have remained in the US as immigrants will have more difficulty getting visas. Statistically, applicants from those countries are more likely to be intending immigrants. They are also more likely to be asked about job opportunities at home after their study in the U.S.
Your main purpose in coming to the United States should be to study, not for the chance to work before or after graduation. While many students do work off-campus during their studies, such employment is incidental to their main purpose of completing their U.S. education. You must be able to clearly articulate your plan to return home at the end of your program. If your spouse is also applying for an accompanying F-2 visa, be aware that F-2 dependents cannot, under any circumstances, be employed in the U.S. If asked, be prepared to address what your spouse intends to do with his or her time while in the U.S. Volunteer work and attending school part-time are permitted activities.
- Dependents Remaining at Home
If your spouse and children are remaining behind in your country, be prepared to address how they will support themselves in your absence. This can be an especially tricky area if you are the primary source of income for your family. If the consular officer gains the impression that your family will need you to remit money from the United States in order to support themselves, your student visa application will almost certainly be denied. If your family does decide to join you at a later time, it is helpful to have them apply at the same post where you applied for your visa.
- Maintain a Positive Attitude
Do not engage the consular officer in an argument. If you are denied a student visa, ask the officer for a list of documents he or she would suggest you bring in order to overcome the refusal, and try to get the reason you were denied in writing.
What Is An I-20?
This is a document issued upon completion of the admissions application. It is an immigration document issued by Skagit Valley College, which you then present to the embassy in applying for your visa. The I-20 signifies that you have been accepted to an institution in the US.
What Kind of Visa Do I Need to Study At SVC?
If you are applying for an academic program, the visa is called F-1. If you are applying for a vocational program the visa is called M-1.
How Do I Pay the SEVIS I-901 Fee?
For information regarding this fee, please click on the following link: SEVIS I-901 Information. This information is provided by the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement. If you have other questions about this fee, contact your local US Consulate Office.
Can You Send My I-20 Through Express Mail?
If documents are requested to be mailed via express mail, there is a $30 charge for each package. This must be paid before the package is mailed.
How Soon Should I Arrive After Receiving My Visa?
We recommend that you arrive at least a few days (2-3 days) before your advising session to overcome jet lag and adjust to your new environment. Please be aware of the approved arrival dates stated in your acceptance letter.
When Are The Application Deadlines?
Can the $50 Application Fee Be Waived?
Does Skagit Valley College Require Health Insurance?
Yes. Please note that due to the high cost of medical services in the United States, we require that students have medical insurance coverage while attending Skagit Valley College. Students will be required to purchase insurance from the school prior to registering for classes. Purchasing insurance from Skagit Valley College, the cost of insurance coverage is $985* per year (nine months). At Skagit Valley College, we are interested in your well-being and, therefore, would not want the cost of medical expenses to disrupt your educational goals.
As of January 2018, Skagit Valley College will no longer be accepting insurance from any outside sources. Students will be required to purchase their medical insurance through the school only. To review the insurance program offered through the school, please visit: www.lewermark.com/skagit
Students may purchase insurance per quarter or up to 3 quarters at a time. If you have questions about your insurance or want to purchase your insurance before you arrive, you may contact [email protected] or phone: 360.416.7814.
*Insurance rates are subject to change yearly, typically in the summer or fall.
When Can I Start School?
Does The College Provide Airport Pick-Up Service?
When Do I Pay For My Tuition?
For new students, tuition will be paid at your assigned registration session. This date is provided in your acceptance letter. For continuing students, tuition must be paid by the deadline provided each quarter.
Can I Wire Money To The College For Tuition and Fees Before I Arrive To SVC?
Yes! With the exception of Homestay fees. Following are the procedures: When sending funds electronically to Skagit Valley College, please use the information provided below, send funds in US dollars. Please also inform us of the student’s name for whom the funds are being sent. Note that it can take up to 10 business days before funds are available to be used by the school. *Please make checks /wires payable to Skagit Valley College*
Bank Name: US Bank Bank
Address: 419 S. Second St.
Mount Vernon, WA
Bank Routing Number: 125000105
Account Name: Skagit Valley College
Account Number: 153505364635
SWIFT CODE: USBKUS44IMT** **please note that the “I” in the code is not a one, but the capital letter I (i).
Once funds have been sent, please send a notification email to:
Kathy Eldred, Assistant Controller
E-mail: [email protected]
Does Skagit Valley College Offer Scholarships or Financial Aid?
Skagit Valley College does not have any scholarships or financial aid for international applicants at this time. However, you may want to investigate the following websites for possible funding resources:
College Board URL: www.collegeboard.org Phone: 212.713.8143
Institute of International Education URL: www.iie.org Phone: 800.445.0443
Edupass URL: www.edupass.org Phone: 800.695.3317 or 888.296.4332
What Is The Cost Of My Tuition and Fees Between 12-18 Credits?
|Credit Amount||Cost per Credit Amount*|
*Listed as 2017-2018 Fees
Housing (Dormitory & Homestay)
What Are My Housing Options At SVC?
Can A Homestay Be Arranged Prior To A Student's Arrival In The U.S.?
Yes! It is actually prefered to have the Homestay arranged prior to arrival at the college. Check with our Housing Options web page for more details by clicking here.
How Far From The College Can A Student Expect To Live?
The average time in transit to the college can be up to 45-50 minutes. This may be achieved through any combination of walking, riding a bicycle, driving a car, or taking a bus.
How Soon Before The Quarter Begins May A Student Be Placed In Homestay?
Of The Different Housing Options, Which Is The Best Choice?
Do I Have To Cook and Prepare Meals?
In a non-tradtional homestay and living at dorms, you are responsible to purchase and prepare all of your own meals.
During Holidays, If I Am Not Staying In The Homestay Do I Have To Pay?
If a student will be out of the home for an extended time (a quarter or more) and wishes to be able to return to their homestay, there will be a larger discounted rate, calculated through the Homestay office.
If students or parents wish not to pay the pro-rated amount, then the student would need to move out of the homestay and may need to find their own housing upon their return.
How Do You Match Me With My Family?
What Is The Makeup Of Each Family?
Will My Family Have Other International Students? If So, Will They Be From The Same Country?
Working On Campus
Can I Work As An International Student?
Yes! As an international student, you can work on campus 15 hours/week if you are in good academic standing and over the age of 18 years old. However jobs on campus are not abundantly available, and students will not be permitted to work within their first quarter. You are NOT authorized to work off campus unless permitted by the US immigration system.
How Can I Get A Social Security Card?
The International Programs Office and Human Resources will issue letters to present at the SS office only when you have been offered a job on campus. Letters cannot be issued unless you have been offered a job on campus. A social security card will not be issued by the SS office unless you have been offered a job and present all supporting documents.
Does Skagit Valley College Require Proof of Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) Vaccinations?
No, but we do highly suggest that you are current on your vaccinations before coming to the USA.
Does Skagit Valley College Require Health Insurance for International Students?
Yes. Please note that due to the high cost of medical services in the United States, we require that students have medical insurance coverage while attending Skagit Valley College. Students will be required to purchase insurance from the school prior to registering for classes. Purchasing insurance from Skagit Valley College, the cost of insurance coverage is $985* per year (nine months). At Skagit Valley College, we are interested in your well-being and, therefore, would not want the cost of medical expenses to disrupt your educational goals. As of January 2018, Skagit Valley College will no longer be accepting insurance from any outside sources. Students will be required to purchase their medical insurance through the school only. To review the insurance program offered through the school, please visit: www.lewermark.com/skagit Students may purchase insurance per quarter or up to 3 quarters at a time. If you have questions about your insurance or want to purchase your insurance before you arrive, you may contact [email protected] or phone: 360.416.7814. *Insurance rates are subject to change yearly, typically in the summer or fall.