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Students In the US Seeking to Return Home for F-1 VisaProspective International Students

Students in the U.S. Seeking to Return Home for an F-1 Visa

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 these steps in the order listed:

Students currently in the U.S. are required to attend an International Student Interest session. These sessions are held weekly June through September and monthly October through May. All meetings are held at COA – Dare. Students must attend an interest meeting for their application to be processed. Due to Covid-19, in person information sessions are not currently being held. Students should contact Katie Cross at for information on alternative options.
Apply online. Students are required to complete the entire COA application which includes completing the Residency Determination Services part of the application. Once accepted students will be sent an acceptance letter via email. Students should save this letter for their visa interview. The application is required. International students may enroll in programs that have been approved by the Student Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP). COA also requires a $50 Application Processing Fee be paid prior to submission of your I-20 documentation.


Lasted updated: January 2020

The following programs permit F-1 international student enrollment:

  • Associate Degree Nursing
  • Associate in Arts
  • Associate in Engineering
  • Associate in Fine Arts (theatre)
  • Associate in Fine Arts (visual arts)
  • Associate in General Education
  • Associate in Science
  • Associate in Applied Sciences – Business Administration
  • Associate in Applied Sciences – Global Business
  • Associate in General Occupational Technology
  • Professional Crafts: Jewelry
  • Agribusiness Technology
  • Health and Fitness Science
  • Aviation Systems Technology
  • Computer Aided Drafting Technology
  • Healthcare Business Informatics
  • Medical Assisting
  • Medical Laboratory Technology
  • Medical Office Administration
  • Surgical Technology
  • Human Services Technology

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

Before COA can issue you an I-20 we have to determine that students meet the minimum English reading and writing requirements. International Students currently in the U.S. can complete the COA placement test. International students must earn 34 points on the English portion of the test in order to qualify for an I-20. Students are given 2 opportunities to earn the necessary score on the placement test.

Students overseas must take the TOEFL or ILETS Academic exam and earn the minimum scores: TOEFL — Internet Based 40, Paper Based 425, Computer Based 120. The ILETS Academic score we accept is a 5 or higher. We only accept the TOEFL, ILETS Academic or the RISE test (the RISE placement test can only be taken in North Carolina). Once students have earned the required English score on the TOEFL, ILETS Academic or the RISE placement test students, will be required to complete RISE math placement test for enrollment purposes.

An I-20 is a certificate or eligibility an is required for all international students seeking to enroll at COA. The documents required for an I-20 are listed on COA’s I-20 application along with the specific details of each requirement.
Once the student has completed the I-20 application and has gathered all the required documentation, students should email their documentation (in one email) to a COA designated school official (DSO). Once all the required documentation has been submitted and approved, a college DSO will create the student’s Form I-20.

Students should allow one to two weeks for a Form I-20 to be processed and completed. Once a student’s Form I-20 is processed and completed they will be contacted via email. Due to Covid-19, a Form I-20 can be digitally signed by a DSO and can be emailed to a student.

Students interested in changing their status should work with their lawyer to submit the proper documentation to U.S. Customs and Immigration Services. Students seeking to return home should make an appointment with the U.S. Embassy once they return to their home country.


  • Cross, Katie

  • Coordinator, International Student Services and Academic Advisor

  • COA – Dare: 104

  • 252-473-2264 ext. 7011

  • Barclift, Brianna

  • Academic Advisor

  • COA – Elizabeth City: AE 133

  • 252-335-0821 ext. 2281