Questions for Prospective International F-1 Visa Students

Apply for admission to Paradise Valley Community College as an international student by completing the Paradise Valley Community College International Student Application Packet.

Once you complete the admission process and submit all required documents, your application packet will be reviewed. If approved, the Form I-20 Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F-1) Student Status will be mailed to you.

The Form I-20 is an important document required when you apply for your F-1 student visa in your home country.

Please start by reading the International Admissions page where you will learn about the program and how to apply.

There are also helpful links in the Related Resources menu box on the right-hand side of the screen.

F-1 non-immigrant students who have been allowed to enter the United States agree to maintain their non-immigrant status by following strict guidelines.

Students are encouraged to read Maintaining Your Status on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) webpage, as you are responsible for knowing and understanding this information.

Also, when you arrive and check-in at PVCC, you will be asked to read and sign the Understanding How to Maintain Your F-1 Student Visa Status document. You will be required to read the document, initial each line beside each statement, and sign your name indicating that you understand what is written and agree to comply with each statement. This form will be completed and collected by your Advisor/Designated School Official (DSO) and kept in your official school file.

Failure to follow the F-1 guidelines may lead to forfeiture of your F-1 visa status and your required immediate departure from the United States.

Generally, no, not at PVCC.

The purpose of an F-1 visa is for an international student to study full-time with plans to return to their home country. In cases of unforeseen, qualifying, "extreme" financial hardship, you may be eligible for on-campus employment only, which may not be available. On-campus employment opportunities at PVCC are rare and highly competitive.

Please do not include being employed on campus as part of your plan to attend
PVCC or to contribute to your cost-of-living budget.

You may not engage in off-campus employment without first gaining proper authorization from Immigration and Naturalization Services.

Failure to follow the F-1 guidelines may lead to forfeiture of your F-1 visa status and your required immediate departure from the United States.

Please see the OPT link to learn about paid Optional Practical Training.

F-1 students must be enrolled in, and complete, a minimum of 12 semester credit hours each fall and spring semester. The summer term is an optional enrollment period.

Falling below 12 credits or not maintaining satisfactory academic performance can and will jeopardize your valid visa status.

Failure to follow the F-1 guidelines may lead to forfeiture of your F-1 visa status and your required immediate departure from the United States.

Unfortunately, non-immigrant students (F-1) are not eligible for state and federal programs, but may qualify for institutional scholarships. Scholarships are very limited, highly competitive, and may be specific to a certain department or program of study.

Please do not include scholarships when planning to attend PVCC.

A community college offers the first two years of a traditional four-year undergraduate degree (Baccalaureate) program, generally referred to as your freshman and sophomore years of college. Once a student completes these lower division courses at the community college, many students then transfer to a traditional four-year university.

A two-year community college offers many advantages including more individualized attention and smaller class sizes led by highly-qualified instructors. Many students complete the general studies (core) requirements at a community college before transferring to a university.

The cost of community college tuition is, normally, considerably less than university tuition.

Once you have applied and have been accepted to Paradise Valley Community College, we will mail a Form I-20 and Acceptance Letter to you.

A Form I-20 is a paper record of your information in the SEVIS database. Once you receive your Form I-20, be sure to check all of the information against your passport to make sure all of the information matches, especially your name and date of birth.

Once you receive your Form I-20, you will pay your SEVIS I-901 fee.

SEVIS stands for the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System, a web-based system that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) uses to maintain information on Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)-certified schools and the F-1 students who come to the United States to attend those schools.

Paradise Valley Community College is a SEVP-certified school and accepts applications for F-1 enrollment.

Timing is important. Apply at least three months before you plan to travel. Your visa can only be issued 90 days prior to the start of your educational plan.
Please keep in mind, you are not allowed to enter the United States greater than 30 days before the first official day of the semester.

PVCC does not provide housing or housing referrals for students.

Paradise Valley Community College is a two year community college. INS allows the Form I-20 to be issued for the length of study for the program as well as a grace period not to exceed one year. Therefore, it is possible that the Form I-20 may be issued for a maximum of three years (36 months), depending on the program being sought by the student.

Possibly. You must first have your transcripts evaluated by an approved professional credential evaluator. Please have the evaluation report sent to the Paradise Valley Community College Admissions office, where transfer credit will be determined.

An English translation is required.

An International Transcript Evaluators List is provided on the International Student Admissions page.

If you plan to transfer to a university, be sure to check with their international office to ensure which of the evaluators on our list, they accept as well.

During your entire enrollment period as an F-1 student, you will be considered a non-resident for tuition purposes. F-1 status indicates a temporary status in the United States, which makes you ineligible to establish Arizona residency. Arizona residency is determined by establishment of 1 year of permanent residence in the state of Arizona among other requirements.

Non-immigrant students (F-1) will not qualify as Arizona residents regardless of the length of stay in Arizona because they are not considered to be permanently living in the United States.

Immigrant students (i.e. refugees, asylees, permanent residents) and United States citizens may qualify for in-state fee rates if they meet eligibility requirements.

It depends.

The TOEFL is required for admission only for those students who are from countries where English is not the primary language.

Have your most recent TOEFL score report mailed directly to Paradise Valley Community College (DI Code 8238). A TOEFL score of 500, or 65 on the internet-based test is required for admission to PVCC. The TOEFL must have been taken within two years of the date for which admission is being sought. We also accept the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) overall Band Score of 5.5 or better or a minimum IELTS individual Band Score of 5.0 in each module.

All students are required to take a placement test, at no cost, upon your arrival to Paradise Valley Community College. Depending on your English skills, you will take either the ACCUPLACER or the CELSA exam. The exam is not “pass” or “fail” but simply to place you in the appropriate courses that best meet your educational needs.

Please note: Although we offer ESL (English as a Second Language) courses, we do not have an exclusive ESL program suited for international F-1 visa students.

To maintain your F-1 visa status, you must be enrolled in a full-time course of study (12 credits or more) each semester. At this time, we cannot guarantee a full-time ESL schedule.

PVCC is one of 10 (ten) community colleges within the Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD). Please research the ESL programs at any of our sister colleges shown on this district MAP.

You need a score of 500 for the TOEFL paper-based test and 65 for the internet-based test.

You need a score of 5.5 Overall Band Score or Individual Band Score of 5.0 for the IELTS test.

Please note: Although we offer ESL (English as a Second Language) courses, we do not have an exclusive ESL program suited for international F-1 visa students.

To maintain your F-1 visa status, you must be enrolled in a full-time course of study (12 credits or more) each semester. At this time, we cannot guarantee a full-time ESL schedule.

PVCC is one of 10 (ten) community colleges within the Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD). Please research the ESL programs at any of our sister colleges shown on this district MAP.

No. Although we offer ESL (English as a Second Language) courses, we do not have an exclusive ESL program suited for international F-1 visa students.

To maintain your F-1 visa status, you must be enrolled in a full-time course of study (12 credits or more) each semester. At this time, we cannot guarantee a full-time ESL schedule.

PVCC is one of 10 (ten) community colleges within the Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD). Please research the ESL programs at any of our sister colleges shown on this district MAP.

International students may be required to file U.S. Federal Income Tax, even if you do not work. Please discuss this subject with your parents, guardian, or whoever is financially supporting your living and education expenses for guidance.

Please review the following IRS (Internal Revenue Service) website link for answers to some of your questions regarding your special filing requirements as an international student: F-1 Students & U.S. Taxes

According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, nonimmigrant visas are issued to those who intend to remain in the United States for a temporary (less than permanent)
period. The period varies for different nonimmigrant categories. There are numerous nonimmigrant U.S. visa categories; each is used for a different, but very specific purpose.

If your original reason for coming to the United States changes, you may be required to
change your nonimmigrant status to a different one before you lawfully begin to
engage in the activities you want to pursue.

Please read the following guide, containing information on how to apply for a change from
your current nonimmigrant status to another nonimmigrant status while you are in the United States:

How Do I Change to Another Nonimmigrant Status?

Canadian Citizens do NOT need visas to study in the United States.

You DO need to obtain a Form I-20 Certificate of Eligibility from the college that you plan to attend. At the time you receive the I-20 you will be registered with SEVIS, the U.S. student tracking system. You will be assigned a SEVIS number, and be required to pay a registration fee.

When you cross the border to study you will need to provide the Officer at the port of entry:

  • Proof of identity and citizenship (a Canadian passport for example)
  • The original I-20 certificate
  • Your letter of acceptance from the school you have applied to
  • Proof that you have paid your SEVIS fee
  • Proof that you have the funds to pay for the school that you plan to attend
  • Proof of your ties to Canada

Students applying for initial-entry F-1 visas may now be issued those visas up to 120 days before their academic program start date (as compared to 90 days under previous regulations). Students or exchange visitors, however, will NOT be admitted to the U.S. more than 30 days before the start of their study or program by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

The information provided above was retrieved from the U.S. Embassy website. The web link is listed below for further review and the most up-to-date information.

For information about the application process and paying your SEVIS fee, please review the Admission Process & Requirements information on this page.
https://ca.usembassy.gov/visas/canadian-students

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Although Canadian students do not need a visa to study in the United States, you must be sure to complete the I-94 record process (your Arrival/Departure Form) with the U.S. immigration official at your point of entry to the United States. If you enter the U.S. by land, you should be issued an I-94 paper card. If you enter by air your I-94 record will be entered into the on-line system. You will need to print out your I-94 record upon your arrival to the U.S. as evidence of your legal status. In both cases you may be charged a small fee (it is currently under $10) to process the I-94 record.

U.S. immigration inspectors are accustomed to admitting Canadian citizens as visitors, but may not be as familiar with admitting full-time students. Please keep in mind, it is your responsibility to make sure you are granted the correct immigration status when you are entering the U.S.
For more information regarding I-94's, please go the following U.S. Customs & Border Protection website:

http://www.cbp.gov/travel/international-visitors/i-94-instructions