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CT State welcomes international students from more than 40 countries around the world. With 12 campuses around Connecticut, we offer a quality educational experience in an accessible and affordable environment with resources to support you throughout your academic career. Whatever your educational goal is, CT State can help you achieve it. With more than 300 degrees and certificate programs and thousands of courses, CT State has a strong academic team committed to your success.

Before you start the international student application process at CT State, we need to make sure you fit in the international applicant category. Please review the two options in this form to determine whether you should apply as international or non-international.

Quick Links

Admission Requirements and Form I-20
Tuition Rates
SEVIS Fee for Students Not Yet in the U.S.
SEVIS Fee for Students Already in the U.S.
F1 Visa
Maintaining F1 Status
Employment

Admission Requirements for International Students

F-1 visa international students will be admitted to CT State Community College for the Fall and Spring semesters of each academic year, must enroll in an Associate Degree program, and must attend full-time (12 or more credit hours a semester) in order to maintain their F-1 visa status. CT State Community College is not a language school and doesn’t issue Form I-20s for English as a Second Language (ESL) studies.

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Application Deadlines

The admission application and all relevant documentation for requesting an I-20 must be submitted online by the following deadlines:

  • New Students: Fall Semester – June 15th, Spring Semester – November 1st
  • Transfer Students (with an active I-20 from another US college/university): Fall Semester – July 20th, Spring Semester – December 20th.

All application materials must be submitted by the deadline. Applicants unable to submit the required documentation by the deadline for the semester they have applied for may be considered for the following semester, and will need to submit updated financial documentation.

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Admission and SEVIS Form I-20 Documentation

The following documentation must be provided by the prospective student before an I-20 can be issued by CT State. All documents must be translated into English and validated and notarized as being an official and accurate translation.

  • A completed CT State Community College Application - Please make sure to upload all required documents/supplemental items by the application deadline to ensure timely processing of your application. If you need clarification on the application process or the supplemental items, please contact us. Please allow 2-3 weeks for review and processing of your application materials. Once the application is processed, we will email you the acceptance letter that will explain your next steps and include your Form I-20.
  • Copy of the student’s passport (biographical page only)
  • Proof of high school graduation or its equivalent
  • TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language), IELTS (International English Language Testing System), or Duolingo official scores - The minimum TOEFL score for admission is 61 on the internet-based version. The minimum IELTS score for admission is 5.5. The minimum Duolingo score for admission is 85. The test must have been taken within the last two years from the semester you are applying for.
    Notes: 1. The Norwalk campus doesn’t require proof of English proficiency prior to acceptance. A beginning knowledge of English is recommended but not required. 2. English as a Second Language (ESL) certificates and courses are offered on most campuses at CT State. However, CT State isn’t a language school, we don’t offer an associate degree in ESL, and don’t issue I-20s for ESL. To receive an I-20 from CT State, you must be accepted to an associate degree program and submit proof of the required English language proficiency.
  • decorative
    Affidavit of Support  and supporting financial documents noting the student’s intended source of financing available to cover their educational and living expenses while in the United States. All financial documents, including bank statements, must be in English and note currency values in US dollar equivalencies. (Please note that all funds must be liquid assets. Stock/Mutual/Retirement accounts/properties are not considered liquid assets.)
  • Housing Plan Letter showing student’s intended US address, as well as permanent homeland address. CT State Community College does not offer housing at any of our campuses. Students must secure housing with the help of a local sponsor or friend.
  • Proof of adequate immunization against measles, mumps, rubella and varicella (chicken pox); a record of two doses of each required immunization must be on file with CT State prior to acceptance. Download Immunization Form
  • Transfer students in F-1 status transferring from a college/university in the US must provide proof that they are currently in status and eligible for transfer: a copy of F-1 visa passport page, a copy of their current I-20, and an International Student Transfer Form
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Tuition Rates

F-1 students pay out-of-state tuition rates and must enroll full-time (for a minimum of 12 credits) every semester. To review the current tuition rates, please follow this link.

Total (Estimated) Cost of Studies for One Academic Year

  • Tuition and fees: $14,720
  • Living Expenses: $7,000 (required only if a student lives independently)
  • Textbooks, transportation, etc.: $800
  • Total Cost of One Academic Year: $22,520

Additional Information for New International Students Not Yet in the US

The $350 SEVIS fee, also called the “I-901 fee,” is a required part of your visa application process, and must be paid at least three days in advance of your interview. The best way to pay this fee is online. You will need your SEVIS ID number (found on your Form I-20) in order to complete the transaction. To pay the fee, or for more information, go to www.fmjfee.com

The F-1 student visa is a non-immigrant visa and approval is not guaranteed. Here are some resources to help you prepare for your visa interview:

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You may not enter the United States more than 30 days in advance of the program start date listed on your Form I-20, or AFTER the program start date listed on the I-20. If you cannot travel within this time frame, please communicate with the International Student Advisor to discuss your situation. At the Port of Entry, you will need to have a valid passport, valid F-1 visa stamp, and a printed and signed Form I-20 from the college that you plan to attend.

Arrival

When arriving to the United States, you must:

  • Enter the United States no more than 30 days before your program of study begins.
  • Shortly after arrival, contact your designated school official (DSO) and make an appointment for orientation/further instructions.

Additional Information for New International Students Already in the US

It is important to have a Form I-20 from the school at which you are currently studying. For this reason, you will need to ask the International Student Advisor/DSO at your current school to release your SEVIS record to the CT State campus that you plan to attend. Work with your current advisor to find out how to make this request. Typically, you must prove admission to the new school as part of the I-20 transfer process. We cannot issue you a CT state I-20 until after your SEVIS record has been released to us.

If you are in the US in another immigration status, but would like to change to F-1 student visa status, you will need to choose between traveling home to apply for a visa and applying for a Change of Status within the US. The Change of Status process is very slow, often taking several months to process; but it may be a good choice in some cases. However, each individual case is unique. To discuss your options, please contact a member of the CT State International Student Team.

The $350 SEVIS fee, also called the “I-901 fee,” is a required part of your visa application process, and must be paid at least three days in advance of your interview. This fee is also required if you are applying for a Change of Status within the United States. The best way to pay this fee is online. You will need your SEVIS ID number (found on your Form I-20) in order to complete the transaction. To pay the fee, or for more information, go to www.fmjfee.com


myCTState

MyCTState is the student portal that you will use throughout your time at CT State Community College. Among other things, you will use this site to register for courses, make tuition payments, and access any online course material. In addition, you must have myCTState access in order to complete your placement testing. Students who do not have US Social Security Numbers need to request temporary passwords in order to access myCTState. Contact the International Student Team to learn about the process for your campus.

Placement Testing

We cannot place students into classes based on foreign high school transcripts or English proficiency test scores. Placement testing will be required before course registration unless you are transferring from another US college and provide a transcript. Contact the International Student Team for testing protocols on your campus. Pre-arrival virtual placement testing MAY be an option in some cases.

Academic Advising

New students may not register themselves for classes. All students are provided personalized assistance in choosing their classes. Suggestions are based on both placement test results and the curriculum for your degree program. Information about academic advising will be provided in your acceptance email. You can also contact the International Advising team for more information.

Tuition Payments

At least a partial tuition payment is required at the time of course registration. A payment plan is available, which you can request via myCTState or from your campus Bursar/Cashier’s office. Students who do not make an initial payment may be dropped from their classes.

Foreign Transfer Credits

If you would like to receive transfer credit for any college-level work completed outside of the US, you must get your foreign transcript evaluated and submit a “course-by-course” evaluation report. We can accept an evaluation from any company that is accredited by NACES (www.naces.org) or AICE (https://aice-eval.org/).

Health care in the United States is extremely expensive. For this reason, all international students are encouraged to purchase health insurance. You should compare both costs and plan details, to ensure coverage for a variety of different situations that you might encounter, even if you think they won’t happen.

All new CT State students should attend New Student Orientation.

Additional Information for Current International Students

While studying in the United States, you must maintain your F-1 status. F-1 status means that the purpose of your being in the United States is to study. You should not take any action that detracts from that purpose. Maintaining your status means:

  • Fulfilling the purpose for receiving an F-1 visa.
  • Following the regulations associated with that purpose.

Below are the requirements for maintaining your F-1 status.

Enrollment

  • Attend all your classes and maintain normal academic progress. If school is too difficult, speak with your DSO and academic advisor immediately.
  • Maintain a full course of study every Fall and Spring semester: 12 credits minimum. Only 3 credits can be taken online, the rest must be taken in person. If you cannot study full time, contact your DSO immediately. You may be eligible for an RCL (reduced course load) in limited circumstances. Summer enrollment is optional.
  • Speak to your International Student Advisor/DSO before dropping a class.
  • Talk to your International Student Advisor/DSO about requesting a possible program extension if you do not think you will complete your program of study by the end date listed on your Form I-20. An extension must be requested before your program end date.

Work and Practical Training

As an F-1 student you may only work when authorized by a DSO in some cases and USCIS in others. If you choose to work without authorization, you will be forced to leave the United States immediately, and you may not be able to reenter the United States at a later date.

F-1 students are eligible for curricular practical training (CPT) during the program of study. CPT employment must be an integral part of an established curriculum and the position must directly relate to your major area of study. Your DSO can give you the school’s policy on this option.

F-1 students are also eligible for optional practical training (OPT) during or following the program of study. OPT is a form of temporary employment that directly relates to your program of study.

For more information about employment and training options available for F-1 students, see employment section below or visit the Working in the United States page and talk with your DSO.

Program Completion

Once you complete your program of study and any authorized period of practical training, you have 60 days from the program end date on your Form I-20 to leave the United States. If you wish to extend your stay in the United States, talk with your DSO to learn more about the following options:

  • Transferring to another school.
  • Enrolling in another program at CT State.
  • Applying for OPT.
  • Applying to USCIS for a change to another visa status.

If you fail to maintain your F-1 student status, you may choose one of two ways to regain it: applying for reinstatement or leaving the US and seeking a new admission to the US in F-1 status.

The process to regain valid F-1 status can be challenging. You should meet with your DSO and discuss your options. We also encourage you to contact an immigration attorney so you can make an informed decision and consider the risks with both options.

Option 1: Reinstatement

When requesting reinstatement, you must establish to the satisfaction of USCIS that you:

  • Have not been out of status more than 5 months at the time of filing the request for reinstatement (or demonstrate that the failure to file within the 5-month period was the result of exceptional circumstances and that you filed for reinstatement as soon as possible under these circumstances).
  • Do not have a record of repeated or willful violations of immigration regulations.
  • Are currently pursuing, or intending to pursue, a full course of study in the immediate future at CT State.
  • Have not engaged in unauthorized employment.
  • Are not deportable on any ground other than overstaying or failing to maintain status.

You must also establish that:

  • The violation of status was caused by circumstances beyond your control.
  • You fell below a full course load for a reason the DSO could have used to authorize a reduced course load, and you would experience extreme hardship if you fail to get reinstatement.

If USCIS approves the reinstatement request, the adjudicating officer will update your SEVIS record to indicate that you have been reinstated. If USCIS does not approve the reinstatement request, you may not appeal the decision and need to prepare to leave the US immediately.

For Reinstatement Application procedures please contact your DSO as soon as possible.

Option 2: Travel and Reentry

In some cases, it may be advisable to leave the US and reenter with a new I-20, rather than apply for reinstatement. You may do this by obtaining a new I-20 from CT State, paying another I-901 SEVIS fee, then departing the US, applying for a new F-1 visa if the F-1 visa stamp in your passport has expired, and returning to the US.

To request a new I-20 for travel and reentry please contact your DSO as soon as possible.

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While in F-1 status, you may be able to travel during your time of study. If you travel internationally, for summer vacation or during a school break, make sure you take the appropriate steps before you travel to ensure a smooth reentry into the United States.

Meet with your International Student Advisor/DSO
Before you travel abroad, it is important to check in with your DSO. When you meet with your DSO, you should ensure that your record in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) is up-to-date and in Active status.

Make sure that your DSO has signed your Form I-20 within the last year, and that you are not leaving the country for more than 5 months. You should also make sure that you have your DSO’s most up-to-date contact information.

If you have a pending practical training (OPT) application, it is not recommended that you leave the United States. USCIS may send you a request for evidence while you are traveling, and you are expected to be able to send in the requested documents. USCIS will only send the requests to your US address.

If/when USCIS approves your practical training (OPT) application, you will receive an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), which USCIS will only send to your US address. You are expected to have your EAD in hand to reenter the United States. Visit the Travel page on ICE.gov/SEVP for more information about traveling with pending applications.

What to Bring to US Ports of Entry
When you enter the United States, you will arrive at a port of entry and meet with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers for primary and sometimes a secondary inspection.

The CBP officer may ask questions about your reason for travel and inspect the following important documents:

  • Student visa
  • Form I-20
  • Passport
  • Form I-901 (SEVIS Fee) Receipt
  • Most recent transcripts or proof of course registration for next semester
  • Your/your sponsors financial documents

Your passport must be valid for at least six months after the date of your reentry. Be sure to hand-carry all of these items and do not put them in your checked baggage. You do not need to repay the I-901 SEVIS Fee to reenter the United States.

Form I-515A
If you arrive at a US port of entry and do not have all your signed required documents, have not paid the I-901 SEVIS Fee on your current Form I-20 or have a SEVIS status issue, a CBP officer may issue you a Form I-515A, “Notice to Student or Exchange Visitor.” The Form I-515A admits you to the United States for 30 days while you obtain and submit the proper documentation to SEVP.

If you are issued a Form I-515A at a US port of entry, talk to your DSO and visit the Form I-515A Overview page for instructions.

As an F-1 student, you may be eligible to transfer to a new school. To be eligible to transfer, you must consistently maintain your F-1 status and follow the correct transfer procedures. To maintain your status at your current school, you must continue attending all of your classes until the transfer release date. Your transfer release date is the day on which the DSO at your current school releases your I-20 and moves responsibility for your SEVIS record to your new school.

If your DSO believes you may not have maintained your F-1 status, your SEVIS record could be in Terminated status, which is the DSO’s way of reporting a concern to SEVP. You may still be able to transfer in Terminated status. Talk to your current DSO and a DSO at the new school if you want to transfer with a terminated record.

If you have employment authorization and are in the process of transferring to a new school, talk to your current DSO about how your transfer will affect your employment authorization. You may continue authorized work at your current school until the transfer release date in SEVIS, but all work authorization ends after that date. After you transfer to your new school, talk to your DSO about employment options at that school.

To start the process of transferring, you need to bring/send the following to your DSO:

  • Written confirmation of acceptance to another SEVP-certified school
  • Contact information for the new school’s DSO
  • SEVIS school code for the transfer-in school

Your DSO will then work with you, and the DSO at your new school, to choose a transfer release date. This date is when the DSO at your transfer-in school takes responsibility for your SEVIS record.

Factors going into selecting this date are:

  • Academic needs
  • Travel and employment plans
  • Projected start date of your new program

Once your transfer release date arrives, the DSO at your previous school will not have access to your SEVIS record, and your new DSO can create a new Form I-20, “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F-1) Student Status,” for you. It is important to get a new Form I-20 (signed by your new DSO and you) as soon as possible. To maintain your status, register for classes right away and contact your new DSO within 15 days of the program start date listed on your new Form I-20.

If you have arrived in the United States but want to transfer to a new school before you begin classes at the school listed on your Form I-20, talk to the DSO at the school listed on that form. You need to inform the DSO that you have arrived in the United States and want to transfer immediately to another SEVP-certified school. You need to show proof of acceptance to your new school. You must report to your new school and enroll in a full course of study within 30 days of arriving in the United States.

Health care in the United States is extremely expensive. For this reason, all international students are encouraged to purchase health insurance. You should compare both costs and plan details, to ensure coverage for a variety of different situations that you might encounter, even if you think they won’t happen.


A Social Security Number (SSN) is a government-issued ID number. Although they are issued to all citizens and permanent residents, F-1 visa international students can only request a Social Security Number if they have employment authorization or an on-campus job offer. Although you may be asked for a Social Security Number in situations such as opening a bank account, signing a lease, or applying for a driver license, it IS NOT required in any of those situations. For information about your employment options, see below.

There are several options for F-1 visa international students who wish to work while in school.

On campus

Legally, F-1 visa international students are allowed to work on-campus up to 20 hours/week while school is in session, and full-time during school vacations. However, the reality is that there are very few job opportunities on most CT State campuses. Check with your DSO to learn about the hiring protocols and job search processes for your campus. Be aware that “work study” jobs are only for US students with approved financial aid; international students are limited to “student assistant” or “student laborer” positions.

Optional Practical Training

Optional Practical Training (known as OPT) is the most commonly used type of work authorization among F-1 visa students. It is an off-campus work permit designed to provide students with work experience in their major field of study. Students approved for OPT are only allowed to pursue employment that is directly related to their field of study, as noted on the Form I-20.

International students may apply to use Optional Practical Training during school vacations (part-time or full-time), while school is in session (part-time only), or after graduation (full-time only). A part-time work authorization allows up to 20 hours/week. A full-time work authorization allows you to work full time.

F-1 visa students are eligible for only 12 months of full-time OPT per degree level completed. Any OPT that you use during your academic program will mean a shorter period of employment authorization after you graduate. Part-time OPT is counted at half the rate of full-time OPT. For example, one year of part-time OPT is equivalent to 6 months of full-time OPT. In deciding whether or not to apply for Optional Practical Training during your academic program, you should consider whether or not you plan to transfer out or return home immediately after graduation. Contact your DSO to discuss your options.

Optional Practical Training is authorized by USCIS for periods of up to one year. The application costs $410 and can take up to 90 days to process. No job offer is required at the time of application. However, as part of your OPT application, action by the International Student Advisor/DSO is required in SEVIS. DO NOT apply for Optional Practical Training without consulting your DSO.

You may not begin working until your OPT has been approved, your work authorization card has been received, and the start date printed on the card has been reached.

NOTE: Authorizations for Post-Completion Optional Practical Training must be utilized (even on a part-time or unpaid basis), and employment information must be recorded in your SEVIS record. It is unlawful to accrue more than 90 days of unemployment while on Post-Completion Optional Practical Training.

Curricular Practical Training

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is for students who are required OR allowed to pursue a for-credit internship as part of their academic program. Credits must appear on the transcript and must be applied in some way towards a student’s graduation requirements. Only courses that clearly require field work or employment (as per the course title and/or course description) can be used for Curricular Practical Training purposes. The employment should be completed in the same semester in which you register for the course.

Academic internships are often unpaid. But if there is any chance that you will receive some kind of compensation for your work, you should obtain Curricular Practical Training (CPT) authorization in order to avoid potential illegal employment. CPT is authorized by the International Student Advisor/DSO for a particular semester and employer, and the authorization is noted in your SEVIS record. There is no fee to apply.

Work Permission Based on Severe Economic Hardship

This type of work authorization is designed for students who are experiencing economic hardship that is both unexpected and beyond their control. In making an application to USCIS, a student must explain the nature of their financial difficulties AND attach evidence to verify those claims. Unlike OPT, this type of work permission is not always granted, and can be difficult to secure. But if approved, it is a very versatile type of work authorization. It allows a student to work in any type of employment up to 20 hours/week while school is in session AND full-time during school vacations.

Work Permission Based on Severe Economic Hardship is authorized by USCIS for periods of up to one year, not to extend beyond the expiration date on the Form I-20 or your transfer to another college. The application costs $410 and often takes up to 90 days to process. As with OPT, action by the International Student Advisor/DSO is required in SEVIS as part of your application to USCIS. DO NOT apply for off-campus work permission without consulting your DSO.

You may not begin working until your application has been approved, your work authorization card has been received, and the start date printed on the card has been reached.


Any F-1 visa international student who was present in the US in the previous calendar year has some kind of an obligation to complete a tax form. Students who did not earn any US income are generally only required to submit IRS Form 8843. But students who earned any money, or who have been in the US more than 5 years, will have additional forms to complete. Although failure to file tax forms is not a violation of your F-1 visa status, it CAN interfere with future immigration petitions. The International Student Advising Team is not trained in tax law and cannot assist you with any tax-related questions. Instead, students are strongly encouraged to request the assistance of a tax preparer who is knowledgeable about NON-RESIDENT tax questions. Sprintax is one reputable organization that we recommend: www.sprintax.com. Contact your DSO to see if Sprintax is offering any coupon codes for your campus. For those filing on their own, tax forms and instructions can be found on-line at www.irs.gov.

IMPORTANT: Before taking action, talk with your International Student Advisor/DSO first

Your DSO should be the first person you talk with if you have any questions regarding the legal requirements of your stay in the United States. Your DSO can assist in answering your questions or help you find someone who can help.

Please speak with your DSO if you are planning to do any of the following:

  • Change your major.
  • Drop a class.
  • Transfer to a new school or take a leave of absence.
  • Take a break from school.
  • Travel outside the United States.
  • Move to a new address.
  • Request a program extension.
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Helpful Terms

  • F-1 Visa – the type of visa international students receive to study in the US.
  • I-20 Form (Certificate of Eligibility) - document issued by a SEVP-certified school certifying that a student has been admitted to a full-time study program and has demonstrated sufficient financial resources to stay in the United States. The I-20 form allows foreign nationals to apply for an F-1 student visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad.
  • USCIS – United States Citizenship and Immigration Services
  • SEVIS - Student and Exchange Visitor Information System, part of US Immigration and Customs Enforcement that handles all matters related to international students and visitors.
  • SEVP – Student and Exchange Visitor Program. In order to enroll international students, schools must be SEVP-certified.
  • CPT- Curricular Practical Training – training that is an integral (i.e., required) part of the student’s curriculum. It must be authorized by the DSO/PDSO.
  • decorative
    OPT – Optional Practical Training – up to 12 months of full-time work authorization in student’s field of study. Students can apply for this authorization while still studying in their program (pre-completion) or after they complete their program (post-completion). The application for OPT is made with USCIS and takes a few months to approve.
  • RCL – Reduced Course Load – permission to enroll below the full-time requirement. It must be authorized by DSO/PDSO in advance.
  • DSO – Designated School Official – an employee assisting and overseeing students who are studying at a US institution on a student visa.
  • PDSO – Principal Designated School Official - a DSO with added responsibilities.

International Student Admissions Staff

For general questions/help: CTState-InternationalAdmissions@ct.edu