International Students Resources
Thank you for your interest in WCSU! Applying: There is a separate admissions office for Undergraduate and Graduate studies. Each is responsible for the processing of applications for admission to WCSU. Please note that the only MA program that is able to accept students holding the F1 and J1 visa is the MFA in Fine Arts (Painting or Illustration). Please use the following links to be connected to application information. From there, you can request application forms, complete an application on line, and make inquiries. Once your application is approved by the Undergraduate or Graduate Admissions Office, the International Services Office will be notified and send you forms for the preparation of the appropriate visa documents (I-20 for a F-1 visa;DS-2019 for a J-1 visa).
WCSU is a state university – it offers an excellent education at an affordable cost. Many students inquire whether there is funding for study at WCSU. This is typically not the case as financial aid is given to students based on financial need and require that they be US citizens or permanent residents. International students are required, as part of the application process, to show that they have sufficient funds available to support themselves during their studies. The amount and source of funds are also shown on the Certificate of Eligibility (I-20 or IAP-66) needed to apply for F-1 or J-1 visas. The cost of attending WCSU will change each year, due to fee increases and other factors. If you are planning to bring a spouse and/or child (children), you are also required to show additional funds. For general information on financial aid for international students who wish to study in the United States visit the Edupass website Please note that some of the sites that Edupass links to no longer accept applications from Int’l Students due to the economic crisis. However, you can apply for a loan through Sallie Mae http://www.salliemae.com/international Please note that you will need a social security number and someone to co-sign for you. If you do not have a social security number, please contact Donna Warner. A very limited number of part-time employment opportunities on campus are available to international students, but the earnings from such employment will, at best, only cover small expenses. Contact the Financial Aid office for a list of such campus employers.
Travel and Visa Information
Initial students – How to apply for the F1 non-immigrant visa:
- You need to have a passport. Your passport must be valid for at least six months beyond the initial period of intended admission to the USA to attend Western Connecticut State University.
- You need an I-20 document (required to be an F1 student), which is processed after you are admitted to the university (If you have not been admitted yet, please go to the prospective student section). This document is key to the application process. Please review the document once you receive it and notify Donna Warner should you see any errors. Be sure to read page #2 of the I-20 in detail. If the document is correct, please sign and date it on page 3. (If you are not 18 years old, your parent or guardian must sign the document also.)
- You need an application for the F1 visa from the US embassy. Locate the US embassy in your country via the internet at http://www.usembassy.gov/ .You will be able to download all appropriate forms to apply. There is a fee to apply for the F1 visa. Ideally, you should apply for the F1 visa in your home country vs a third country. (Note: You cannot apply for it in the US!).
- You need to have official financial documentation demonstrating that you have sufficient financial resources to meet the tuition, living expenses, and fees for your program. This original documentation should be at least the US $ amount listed in #8 of the I-20 document. These may include items such as bank statements and affidavits of support. At the very minimum, you must prove to the satisfaction of the United States Consul that you have sufficient funds for at least one full year of study. You will not be permitted to work off-campus for at least your first year at Western Connecticut State University and on campus jobs are very limited.
- You need to bring your original admission letter from Western Connecticut State University.
- You need to bring proof of payment of the SEVIS fee. SEVIS stands for Student and Exchange Visitor Information System. This is the mechanism employed by the U.S. government to track the arrival, enrollment and departure of international students and their dependents. You must pay the SEVIS fee and show proof of payment in order to apply for the visa (or enter the U.S., in the case of Canadian citizens.) The fee is $100 (it will increase in October 2008). Instructions on fee payment are available at: https://www.fmjfee.com/i901fee/ Please note, you MUST remember to print the SEVIS receipt when you pay! You will need it for your visa application. Please don’t bypass this important step!
- You need to schedule an appointment at the US embassy/consulate, preferably in your home country. All first time F1 visa applicants must be interviewed. Please contact the embassy/consulate to make an appointment.
- You should bring any documentation that will support your non-immigrant visa application. Think about things or people that will tie you back to your home country such as family, assets, a business or employment opportunity. Keep in mind that the US government puts the “burden of proof” on the non-immigrant visa applicant. So bring any supporting documentation that you feel will support that you intend to return home after your studies in the US.
- You may need proof of English proficiency, such as a TOEFL score report.
Once you have made the appointment with the US embassy/consulate, be sure to prepare the list of documents above. Provide what is asked of you by the consulate officer. (Don’t forget proof of payment of the SEVIS fee!) Keep in mind that the visa application form also asks for photos and may ask for additional documents. Please read it carefully. Many people don’t realize that the actual interview at the consulate is typically less than 10 minutes! Please be prepared with your papers, provide what is asked of you, answer the questions asked of you concisely, honestly and respect the schedule of the consular officer – he/she has many appointments and is going to be direct and work very efficiently. If your application is approved, you will receive the F1 visa in your passport. The visa will list Western Connecticut State University as the school that you will attend. NOTE: Should you be denied a visa, politely ask for the specific reason (in writing) and ask for the name of the consular officer that you assisted you. Don’t get upset as it will not change the outcome at that moment! Then, please email Donna Warner immediately with the information above. In these rare cases, she can contact the consulate to better understand what options are available for reapplication. NOTE: Although citizens of many countries are eligible for the Visa Waiver Pilot Program and therefore may travel to the U.S. as tourists without a visa, you must have the F1 visa to study at Western Connecticut State University. Therefore, please do not enter the US on a tourist visa or visa waiver!If you disregard this advice and choose to enter the U.S. on a tourist visa or without a visa, you will be required to leave the U.S. and apply for the F1 visa in order to enter on a proper student visa. This may also impact the outcome of your next F1 visa application! Therefore, it is important that you follow these instructions for obtaining your F-1 visa.
Entering the United States with the F1 visa:
* The US government only allows F1 students to enter the United States no earlier than 30 days before and no later than the beginning date indicated on your I-20. Please make sure to keep your I-20 and supporting documents in your carry on luggage as you will need them at the port of entry in the United States. When entering the U.S., you must carry a passport valid at least six months into the future, your F-1 visa, your I-20 and your admission letter and financial documents, and evidence that you have paid the SEVIS fee (if you are a new F1 student). Keep your other supporting documents with you in case you are asked to present any other paperwork. Occasionally, students are asked to interview again in the airport. This is not common, but can happen. As you did in your visa interview, be honest, prepared, concise and patient with the officer. Upon entry, an immigration inspector will review your documents, and give you an I-94 departure record granting you F-1 student status for duration of status (“F-1 D/S” ). The I-94 is the white index card that is typically stapled into your passport. Do not lose this document! (If you are not given “F-1 D/S” upon entry, please notify Donna Warner immediately.) Canadian citizens do not require a passport or entry visa to enter the U.S., but must present all of the documents listed above and obtain an I-94 departure record to obtain F-1 student status. You are required to attend the institution indicated on your F-1 visa, if you are entering the U.S. for the first time on the basis of that visa. Please be prepared for “US – Visit”, a program to monitor the entry and exit of all non-immigrants to the U.S. At the port of entry, you will be fingerprinted and photographed. See the attached document or you may visit: http://www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/usvisit/US-VISIT_Updated_Entry_StepxStep.pdf.
Upon arrival at Western Connecticut State University:
You are legally required to register your immigration documents (passport, I-20, and I-94 card) with the Donna Warner, Coordinator of International Services. This will need to be done within the first 10 days of classes. In addition to registering your documents, you must attend international student orientation. The Coordinator of International Services will help you with all F1 visa related matters during your studies at Western Connecticut State University, but ultimately it is your legal responsibility to maintain your F-1 visa status. Please feel free to contact Donna Warner with any questions!
Accepted Students already in the U.S. (Transfer Students):
If you already have valid F-1 student or J-1 student status by being enrolled at another school, college or university in the United States, you will have to complete a required Transfer Verification Form. Once this is done and you confirm this with Elena Hart, the international student advisor at your current school will need to release your SEVIS record to WCSU. Your new WCSU I-20 or DS-2019, endorsed for pending transfer, is mailed to you as soon as the release date for your SEVIS record (as determine by your previous school) is reached. Once you are enrolled at WCSU and we have confirmed your registration, the transfer process will be completed. If you are in F-1 status, a new I-20 will be issued to you. You must report to the office of International Services Office within 15 days of your arrival.
All Other Non-Immigrant Visa Classifications:
If you are currently in the U.S. in a visa classification other than F-1 or J-1, you should contact the International Services Office.
Housing is available on both WCSU campuses (Midtown and Westside). Please contact the housing office for more information.
Campus Student Organizations:
There are a variety of campus student organizations that will help you to meet people on campus and get involved in the community. Visit student organizations for more information.
English as a Second Language/Tutoring:
The campus tutoring resource center is free for all full time students. The tutoring center offers workshops on English idioms and grammar, as well as a variety of other subjects. The campus writing center is also free for all full time students https://www.wcsu.edu/writinglab/
As an F1 student, you must be full-time (12 credit hours/semester as an undergraduate, or 9 credit hours/semester as a graduate student in the MFA program) This is required, by law, for your visa. Visit the Registrar’s Office website for details.
Paying your Bill:
Current F1 Students
Curricular Practical Training for F1 students
Optional Practical Training for F1 students