Students >> International Students >> F-1 Visas for students currently in the U.S.

F-1 Visas for students currently in the U.S.

Thank you for your interest in our College!  We are international student friendly and would be most happy to assist you in obtaining a student visa. If you are currently in the United States on a valid visa (other than F-1), we can assist you in applying to change your current status to the status of F-1 student. It is possible for you to obtain a student visa for three years to study at our college. 

The cost for applying for a change in status is $290 (I-539 form) and an additional $200 for registering in SEVIS (I-901 fee). Please review the F-1 Visa Checklist for specifics about how this money should be paid. COA does not charge any fees for assisting you with the change of status request.

If you would like us to help you apply for the change of status so that you may attend COA, please follow these nine steps:

Step 1  Take a Placement Test in Reading, Writing and Math and meet the minimum requirements. You are allowed one retest if you are not satisfied with your initial test results. Call COA’s testing coordinator to schedule an appointment to take the test. For the Dare County campus, call Meg Beloat at (252) 473-2264 x 221. For the Elizabeth City campus, call Cherrie Boyce at (252) 335-0821 x 2281. You can find practice test questions with answers at the following link: http://www.act.org/compass/sample/index.html.

Step 2  Complete an admissions application and submit it online.

Step 3  Provide us with original high school and university transcripts in your native language and the English translations of these transcripts. additional transcript information

Step 4  Provide us with a letter(s) from a sponsor(s) (sample sponsor letter) indicating that they are willing to help you financially while you study here. You are not permitted to work until you have completed one full fall and one full spring semester, so the purpose of the sponsor is to show that you’ll have financial support while you study here. You may use one person as your sponsor, or several persons, but all should be private individuals. We discourage using businesses or companies as this gives the appearance that you may be employed by your sponsor. In addition, you may use sponsors that are not in the United States, and you may self-sponsor if you have the financial resources. If you are self-sponsoring, you will need to provide a letter stating such.

Step 5  Provide us with the last three months of consecutive, original bank statements proving that you or your sponsor has a balance of at least $17,000 in the equivalent of U.S. dollars. If you have more than one sponsor, we will need three bank statements from each person. If your sponsor is providing bank documentation from another country, we recommend that you provide (instead of monthly statements) a letter which shows a three-month accounting of your sponsor’s balances. This letter must be officially translated to English and the financial information must be converted to U.S. dollars.

Step 6  Provide us with copies of the following documentation: Passport, valid visa, I-94 card, and DS2019 if you’re here on a J-1 visa.

Step 7  Schedule a 1.5 hour appointment with a COA Designated Service Officer to apply for the change in status to your current visa.

Step 8  View the checklist of all items you will need to bring to the appointment .

Step 9 R egister for fall and spring classes (sometimes summer) even while you are waiting for Immigration’s decision. You must take 9 credits the first semester you enroll and 12 credits for subsequent semesters.  This does not apply to B Visa holders.  B Visa holders may not attend college while awaiting change of status.

If you have additional questions, please call or email us.

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