Frequently Asked Questions
How do I apply for an F-1 visa?
- Once you receive a Skyline College acceptance letter and Form I-20 review your personal information. Please e-mail email@example.com immediately if there are any errors.
- Pay your SEVIS I-901 fee from www.fmjfee.com. Make sure to keep your payment receipt. If your spouse and/or children plan to reside in the USA with you while you study, they will be required to have individual Form I-20s, but they will not have to pay a separate SEVIS I-901 fee.
- Visit https://ceac.state.gov/genniv to submit the Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application (DS-160)
- Find the US embassy/consulate near you to schedule a visa interview: http://usembassy.gov
- Check the website of your local US embassy/consulate regarding specific visa application procedures and required documentation.
- Attend the visa interview at the U.S. embassy/consulate.
- Inform the International Student Program (ISP) at Skyline College as soon as you receive your visa (E-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org).
Canadian citizens do not need visas to study in the U.S. However, they do need to obtain an I-20 from Skyline College and pay a $200 SEVIS fee at www.fmjfee.com. The U.S. Embassy in Canada recommends that Canadian students enter the U.S. with the following documents (https://ca.usembassy.gov/visas/canadian-students/) :
- A Canadian passport;
- The original I-20 (or DS-2019) certificate;
- Proof that the SEVIS fee has been paid;
- Proof of ability to pay school fees and living expenses in the United States; and
- Proof of ties to Canada.
If you are currently attending another school in the U.S., you need to request your SEVIS record to be transferred from that school to Skyline College.
- Once you receive a Skyline College acceptance letter and the F-1 Transfer-In Form , complete Section A of the F-1 Transfer-In Form
- Submit a copy of your Skyline College acceptance letter and the F-1 Transfer-In Form to the Designated School Official (DSO) at your current school.
- The DSO at your current school will complete the Transfer-In Form and return it to the International Student Program (ISP) at Skyline College. They will release your SEVIS record on or after your last day of attendance at that school.
- ISP will issue you a new I-20.
There are two ways to change to an F-1 student status:
- Travel & Re-entry: travel outside the U.S. and re-enter the U.S. with a new "initial attendance I-20" or
- Change Status in the U.S.: stay in the U.S. and request a Change of Status by sending an application to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
When deciding which option is best for you, you should consider various factors, such as processing time, upcoming travel plans, etc. Please consult with the International Student Program (ISP) at Skyline College if you are changing your status to an F-1 student.
F-1 students are required to report any changes on their SEVIS record, such as a change of address and major, to their school within 10 days of such a change. Complete and submit the I-20 Update Form to ISP.
If your I-20 is lost or stolen, immediately complete and submit the I-20 Update Form to ISP.
If you are traveling outside the U.S., please follow the instructions below:
- Read and complete the Travel Form and submit it to the International Student Program (ISP) with your current I-20 at least 5 days before you travel. If your dependent is traveling with you, his/her I-20 needs to be signed as well.
- Your travel signature is valid for one year (6 months for students on OPT).
- Before you travel outside the U.S., please make sure you have:
- I-20 with a valid travel signature
- Passport valid for a minimum of six months beyond the date of your re-entry
- F-1 student visa that is valid and allows multiple entries
- Evidence of financial resources
- Unofficial transcript
- ISP contact information
- Students on OPT should also bring the Employment Authorization Document (EAD) card and a letter from their current or anticipated employer.
International students are allowed to work on campus part-time (up to 20 hours per week). You do not need any permission, but you have to apply for a Social Security Number (SSN). An SSN is a taxpayer identification number issued by the Social Security Administration. If you are paid in the US, you must have an SSN to file a US income tax return.
To apply for an SSN, please read the following document and submit your Social Security Number Request Form to the International Student Program (ISP):
International students may participate in a Curricular Practical Training (CPT) experience that is “an integral part of an established curriculum”. CPT is a temporary employment authorization that is an integral part of your major and allows you to participate in an internship (paid or unpaid), practicum or cooperative education program that is off campus.
CPT is not meant to be a convenient employment opportunity nor is it meant to be a method to save Optional Practical Training time (the other type of practical training for F-1 students).
To apply for CPT, please read the following documents and make an appointment with the International Student Program (ISP):
International students may qualify for Optional Practical Training (OPT), which allows the student to be employed full time off campus for one year in an occupation that is related to his or her field of study. It is intended to provide students with practical experience during the program (Pre-Completion OPT) or upon completion of the program (Post-Completion OPT).
To apply for OPT, please fill out the OPT Request Form
F-1 international students may take classes outside of Skyline College with permission. This is called “Concurrent Enrollment”. You must obtain permission from ISP BEFORE taking courses off campus. Follow the instructions below if you would like to take classes through concurrent enrollment:
- Complete the Concurrent Enrollment Permission Letter Request Form and submit it to ISP.
- Submit this form signed by ISP to the school where you would like to take a course.
- Register for the course following the school’s instructions.
- Obtain an official proof of class registration and submit it to ISP.
- When a grade is posted, submit your transcripts to ISP.
- Meet with a counselor if you wish to transfer the units to Skyline College.
F-1 international students are required to register and maintain a minimum of 12 units for each semester. Please consult with the International Student Program (ISP) BEFORE dropping your course.
F-1 international students are permitted to take a Reduced Course Load (RCL) if it is the last semester to complete his/her associate degree or certificate program. Students must obtain permission from the International Student Program (ISP) by the registration deadline for each semester. Please contact ISP if you believe you are eligible for RCL during your final semester.
Students may apply for an I-20 extension if:
- The Program End Date on the current I-20 has not passed
- The student has continuously maintained lawful F-1 status
- The delay has been caused by compelling academic reasons (such as a changes of major, required course(s) not being offered in your last semester, etc.), or compelling and documented medical reasons. Delays caused by academic probation or dismissal are not acceptable reasons for the extension of a program of study.
Please read and submit the I-20 Extension Request Form to the International Student Program (ISP). We recommend students to submit their request to ISP at least six weeks before the current I-20 expiration date. Extension requests must be approved by ISP at least five business days before the I-20 expiration date.
F-1 international students may request an Authorized Early Withdrawal (AEW) if they have an emergency that requires them to withdraw from their classes and leave the U.S. immediately. You must consult with the International Student Program (ISP) BEFORE leaving the U.S. Please consult with an ISP advisor if you need to return to your home country during a semester unexpectedly.