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Prospective International Students

Admission Steps for International Students

Welcome, prospective international students — thank you for your interest in College of The Albemarle (COA). We’re international student friendly and will be happy to assist you in obtaining a student visa. It’s possible for you to obtain a student visa for three years to study at COA. COA doesn’t charge any fees for assisting students with the F-1 visa process but the student is ultimately responsible for gathering and submitting all the necessary documents to U.S. Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS).

To learn about COA’s application and enrollment process, select the situation that best applies to you:

How to Apply

There have been a number of changes to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services requirements for nonimmigrants seeking to change their status to F or M. Those interested in changing their status to F or M student status should read the USCIS guidance on changing to a Nonimmigrant F or M Student Status. Per USCIS requirements, a student must be able to maintain a valid status while seeking to change their status. The cost for applying for a change of status is $370 (I-539 form) with an additional $350 for the I-901 Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVIS) fee. Additional fees may be required to maintain your current status.

If your change of status application is approved by USCIS, you’ll receive the benefits of the F-1 status, but you won’t receive an F-1 visa in your passport. An F-1 visa is required to re-enter the U.S.

If you’re interested in changing your status, play our video “How to Become an International Student at COA” and follow the steps below.

All international students interested in studying at COA should attend an information session. Information sessions are offered weekly at the Dare County Campus from May through September and monthly October through April. For more information, contact Katie Cross at katie_cross@albemarle.edu.
International Students must pay a $50 application processing fee. The fee can be paid in person (cash, check or credit card), over the phone (credit card) or via mail (money order or check). This fee is due prior to the submission of I-20 documentation. Students currently overseas should pay via the mail and should send a money order for $50 made out to the “College of The Albemarle.”

Apply Today

If you experience login issues or need assistance with your College Foundation of North Carolina (CFNC) account, please call 866-866-2362.

Reading/English and math placement testing is required for all international students. International students must score a “34” or higher on the English Reinforced Instruction for Student Excellence (RISE) Placement Test to be eligible to change their status to F-1 and receive an I-20. Students are given two opportunities to earn the required score. If you’re seeking an F-1 visa from your home country, you may take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic Test.
There are a number of documents necessary to complete a change of status. In order to proceed with a change of status request students should gather the necessary documents listed in the I-20 application and on the Study in the States website on the change of status process. You’ll have the opportunity to speak with a DSO (Designated School Official) when you attend an International Student Information Session. You can also contact a DSO at the campus you’ll be attending:

  • Elizabeth City Campus: 252-335-0821
  • Dare County Campus: 252-473-2264

I-20 Application

Changing to F or M

Download Form I-539

How to Extend Your Status

Once you have completed the I-20 application and gathered the required documentation, please email your completed I-20 application and supporting materials to the DSO you have been working with. Please allow one to two weeks for the creation of an I-20. You may also schedule a meeting with a DSO for a creation of an I-20.
Students with certain status can enroll at COA while waiting for their change of status to be reviews. Students with current B-1/B-2 visa or those who have applied for a B1/B2 visa to bridge the gap are not able to enroll in classes until their change of status application has been adjudicated by USCIS. Students must maintain a valid status at all times. For more information, consult USCIS.

Students are required to inform at COA when they receive an approval or denial from USCIS.

How to Apply

If you’re currently in the U.S. on a valid visa other than an F-1 and would like to return home to apply for an F-1 visa, please follow the steps below:

All international students interested in studying at COA should attend an information session. Information sessions are offered weekly at the Dare County Campus from May through September and monthly October through April. For more information, contact Katie Cross at katie_cross@albemarle.edu.
Apply Online

If you experience login issues or need assistance with your College Foundation of North Carolina (CFNC) account, please call 866-866-2362.

Reading/English and math placement testing is required for all international students. International students must score a “34” or higher on the English Reinforced Instruction for Student Excellence (RISE) Placement Test to be eligible to change their status to F-1 and receive an I-20. Students are given two opportunities to earn the required score. If you’re seeking an F-1 visa from your home country, you may take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic Test.
The Form I-20 (Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status) is require in order to apply for an F1 visa at the U.S. Embassy in your home country. Students interested in returning to their home country to apply for an F-1 visa should complete the I-20 application and submit the completed application and supporting documentation to a DSO while in the U.S. Upon returning home student must complete the F-1 Visa application and make an appointment at the U.S. Embassy.

Once you have completed the I-20 application and gathered the required documentation, please email your I-20 application and supporting materials to the DSO you have been working with. Please allow one to two weeks for the creation of a form I-20. Students must have submitted the $50 COA application processing fee in order for their application to be processed. A processed application is required for the creation of a Form I-20.

I-20 Application

Please indicate if you’d like your I-20 mailed to a U.S. address or a foreign address, or if you’d like to pick up your I-20 at either the Dare County or Elizabeth City Campus. You should also note the semester in which you’d like to start classes.
Upon returning home, you should complete the required visa application, consult the U.S. Embassy about any additional documentation required. Once you’re approved for your F-1 Visa, contact the DSO you previously worked with to finish the enrollment process.

What to Bring to Your F-1 Student Visa Interview

Please contact the U.S. Embassy in your country to schedule an appointment and learn what additional documents are needed.

  1. A signed I-20 form issued by the school the student plans to attend
  2. Completed forms that are required by the U.S. Embassy
  3. A passport valid for at least six months after the proposed date of entry into U.S.
  4. One passport photo (2 inches by 2 inches)
  5. Receipt to show payment of visa application fee
  6. An I-901 fee receipt (SEVIS fee)
  7. An acceptance letter (email) from COA
  8. Transcripts from high school and previous universities
  9. Scores for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOELF) or North Carolina Diagnostic Assessment and Placement (NCDAP)
  10. Financial evidence and sponsor letter

After Approved for F-1 Visa

  1. Contact the DSO who created your I-20 about the enrollment process. You will be given instructions on how to activate your COA account and access your myCourses
  2. Activate your COA account
  3. Complete the Introduction to myCourses for students module (it can be found on your myCourses site)
  4. Contact the DSO to register for classes
  5. Register for New International Student Orientation
  6. Check your COA email for information about the Welcome Back/Check In Meetings required for international students

What to Have With You at Port of Entry

  1. Valid I-20 signed by a COA DSO
  2. Valid visa and passport
  3. Financial documentation
  4. Proof of I-901 fee payment
  5. Copy of your acceptance letter and course schedule (if applicable)

Once You’ve Arrived in the U.S.

  1. If you haven’t completed all sections (Math and English) of the placement test do so once you arrive at COA
  2. Plan on attending The International Student Check In Meeting
  3. At the International Student Check in Meeting, bring a copy of your passport, F-1 visa and I-94 (Check In meetings are required)

If you chose not to come to COA for the semester listed on your I-20, you must contact a COA DSO so they can defer your attendance to the next semester. Students who don’t contact a DSO will have their SEVIS records canceled.

How to Apply

The faculty and staff at COA welcomes international students, and is happy to help you obtain an F-1 student visa while you’re in your home country. A student visa allows you to study at our college for up to three years. The cost for an F-1 visa application and Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVIS), the I-901 fee, registration from outside the U.S. is $200. COA doesn’t charge any fees for assisting with your change of status request. You’ll need to pay the I-901 fee before your consular appointment. To pay the I-901 fee online, visit FMJFEE.

International Students must pay a $50 application processing fee. The fee can be paid in person (cash, check or credit card), over the phone (credit card) or via mail (money order or check). This fee is due prior to the submission of I-20 documentation. Students currently overseas should pay via the mail and should send a money order for $50 made out to the “College of The Albemarle.”

Apply Online

If you experience login issues or need assistance with your College Foundation of North Carolina (CFNC) account, please call 866-866-2362.

Before we can issue the appropriate documentation to present at the U.S. Consular Office in your country, we’ll need to determine that you meet our minimum requirements in reading, writing and math. International students who are overseas will need to take either the TOEFL exam or the ILETS academic exam in order to verify that they have the necessary skills in English and reading to succeed in academic courses.

The minimum TOEFL scores are: Internet Based 40, Paper Based 425 and Computer Based 120.

The minimum ILETS academic score is a “5” or higher. For students interested in taking the ILETS should be sure to take the ILETS academic test.

International students who take a TOEFL or ILETS test overseas will need to take the college placement tests once they enter the U.S.

The form I-20 is required for your F-1 student application. Please gather the necessary documents listed in the application. Download our I-20 application form or contact one of our designated school officials (DSO). Documentation needed for the I-20 includes:

  • A copy of your passport
  • Copies of your official high school and university transcripts (in both your native language and official English translations)
  • A letter from a sponsor indicating their willingness to help you financially while you study at COA. You’re not permitted to work as an F-1 student, so the purpose of the sponsor letter is to show that you’ll have financial support. You may have one or more sponsors, but all should be private individuals. We discourage using U.S. businesses as sponsors, as this gives the appearance that you may be employed by your sponsor. You may use non-U.S. sponsors or self-sponsor if you have the financial resources. If self-sponsoring, you’ll need to provide a letter stating such. If you’re sponsored by someone in your home country, the sponsor letter must be written in English (or officially translated to English). COA needs a copy of this letter as you’ll be required to present the originals at your appointment with the U.S. Consular Office in your country.
  • Financial documentation (original bank statements) from the last three consecutive months proving that you or your sponsor has a balance of at least $23,000 (for each month) in the equivalent of U.S. dollars. If you have more than one sponsor, we’ll need three bank statements from each person. If your sponsor is providing bank documentation from another country, please provide bank statements from the last three consecutive months, along with a letter showing a three-month accounting of your sponsor’s balances. The statements and letter will need to be officially translated into English and the financial information will need to be converted to U.S. dollars. COA needs only a scanned copy of the financial documentation, as you’ll be required to present the originals at your appointment with the U.S. Consular Office in your country.
  • Proof of your TOEFL or IELTS score. If you’ve taken the NCDAP placement test showing placement into Developmental Reading/English (DRE) 097, you can provide that documentation instead.
Your DSO will then create and mail your I-20 within two weeks of receipt. The I-20 acknowledges that COA has accepted you as a student and supports your efforts to obtain an F-1 visa. With the I-20 and the originals of the documentation described above, you’ll be able to apply for an F-1 visa through the U.S. Consular Office in your country. Please note that we mail via First Class postage and are unable to verify how long it will take your I-20 to arrive to your home country. Once approved, please contact the DSO that created your I-20 to begin the class registration process. Please note that you won’t be able to enter the U.S. until 30 days prior to the beginning of registered classes.
New international students will have to take the RISE English and math placement test prior to enrolling in classes. Please contact the DSO you’ve previously worked with to schedule the placement test. The placement test will be taken upon your arrival in the U.S. so please make your travel plans accordingly. You may enter the U.S. up to 30 days before the start date listed on your I-20.

Once you have completed the placement test a DSO will assign you in registering for classes.

How to Apply

If you are a current F-1 student studying at another institution within the U.S., please follow these steps to transfer to COA.

International Students must pay a $50 application processing fee. The fee can be paid in person (cash, check or credit card), over the phone (credit card) or via mail (money order or check). This fee is due prior to the submission of I-20 documentation. Students currently overseas should pay via the mail and should send a money order for $50 made out to the “College of The Albemarle.”

Apply Now

If you experience login issues or need assistance with your College Foundation of North Carolina (CFNC) account, please call 866-866-2362.

If you’re interested in transferring to COA from another U.S. college or educational institution, please complete a “Transfer In” form and submit your official transcripts from your current institution. Students should submit their I-20 application and supporting documents at the same time as the Transfer In Form. Please don’t have your current DSO transfer your record in SEVIS until you have been approved for acceptance and understand the transfer process.
Receive assistance with your next enrollment step at a COA Connect session. Find out what we have to offer, create your COA login, prepare and sign up for placement testing, and confirm your information. After this session, you’ll be able to access your Gmail, myService and myCourses (the college’s online education software).

Please complete the “Introduction to myCourses” in myCourses before registering for classes.

Students who have not taken English and math at the college level are required to take the placement test, TOEFL or ILETS. You’ll need to attend an online COA Connect session to sign up for a placement test. International students must score a “34” or higher on RISE English to be eligible to receive an I-20. If you’ve taken college level English and/or math the RISE placement test you aren’t required to take the placement test. Students required to take the placement test are encouraged to take the RISE test, TOEFL or ILETS before having their SEVIS record transferred to COA.

Contact

  • Boyce, Cherrie

  • Academic Advisor

  • COA – Elizabeth City: AE 133

  • 252-335-0821 ext. 2281

  • Cross, Katie

  • Coordinator, International Student Services and Academic Advisor

  • COA – Dare: 104

  • 252-473-2264 ext. 7011