Apr 17, 2024  
Catalog/Handbook 2018-2019 
Catalog/Handbook 2018-2019 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

International and Visa Students

International students interested in attending Polk State College should familiarize themselves with the International Student website. International students may also request information to be sent via email at: internationalstudent@polk.edu. International student admission guidance is available at Polk State College’s International Student website. 

Polk State College is authorized to enroll non-immigrant alien students. International students enter the United States with F-1 Visas specifically for the purpose of obtaining an education. All international students attending Polk State College and holding F-1 Visas are required to attend on a full-time basis (minimum of 12 credit hours per term) and pay out-of-state tuition and fees during their entire enrollment. Students with F-1 Visas are required to attend school two consecutive semesters, fall and spring, as full-time students in order to be eligible for a vacation period.  The summer semester is considered the student’s vacation period. Students who start in the spring or summer will attend more than two consecutive semesters before earning a summer vacation the following year.

Anyone who enters the United States with a visa other than an F-1 is here for purposes other than obtaining an education. Most visa holders are eligible to attend school while in the U.S. as long as attending school does not interfere with their original purpose for being here. Many visa students are required to pay out-of-state tuition and fees during their entire enrollment at Polk State College. Some visa students are eligible for Florida tuition rates after one year of residency in Florida. Students should check with the College’s Admission and Registrar’s office to determine their eligibility to attend school and for information regarding Florida tuition rates. Details on Florida tuition rates can be found at www.FloridaShines.org on the Residency page.

International and visa students must submit all required documents and meet all conditions for admission by the following priority deadlines:

  • Fall Semester or Term I (Aug.-Dec.): May 15
  • Spring Semester or Term II (Jan.-early May): October 15
  • Summer Semester or Term III (May-early Aug.): March 15

In the event the deadline falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or holiday, the deadline is extended until the next open business day.

In addition to the regular admission procedures, international and visa students are required to complete additional admission requirements. International students should begin the admission process approximately six months prior to the beginning of the semester in which they wish to enroll.

International students who complete the international student admission requirements by the semester deadline are issued a SEVIS Form I-20, Certificate of Eligibility for Non-Immigrant (F-1) Student StatusAllow up to two weeks for processing after all your documents have been received at the college. This does not include processing time for college transcripts which can take up to six weeks. Students must complete the application process by the semester deadlines. If your application is incomplete or is not received by the deadline of your intended admission semester, your admission may be considered for the next term.

For academic and language students, the SEVIS I-20 form is used to show acceptance to Polk State College and to apply for an F-1 Visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate office in foreign countries. It may also be used to apply for a change of status to F-1 for those who are already in the United States.

International Student Admission Requirements:
These admission requirements apply to international students seeking admission to degree-granting programs and to those seeking admission to the English for Academic Purposes (EAP) Program. All requirements must be completed before the SEVIS Form I -20, Certificate of Eligibility for Non-Immigrant (F-1) Student Status, is issued.

Degree-seeking international students must show proficiency in English by meeting one of the requirements listed below. International students who do not demonstrate sufficient proficiency in English may enroll in the College’s English for Academic Purposes (EAP) Program. These students must take the Levels of English Proficiency Exam (LOEP) for placement in a reading, writing, and grammar course in the EAP Program. The EAP Communications course is also highly recommended to improve speaking and listening skills. All international students must follow the steps on the International Student website.


Students may test their English proficiency with one of the following tests. 

Test Name

TEST Short Name

Minimum Score Required

Test of English as a Foreign Language



International English Testing System



ACT Compass English as a Second Language



**Scores updated August 22, 2016



International Student Transcript Requirements:
Students must provide official high school, upper-secondary, and post-secondary transcripts from all high schools, colleges, and universities they have attended. If transcripts are in a language other than English, a certified English translation must also be provided. A certified translation may accompany the native language transcript or a translation service in the United States may provide the translation. Students should request an official copy of their foreign transcripts to be sent directly from the foreign institution to an evaluation service. All transcripts and/or official evaluations must be received by the College prior to the issuance of the I-20. Students who do not wish to use foreign post secondary coursework from foreign countries are not required to submit transcripts. High school credentials, however, are required.

Transcripts from international secondary institutions must be evaluated “document by document” for equivalency to U.S. high school graduation, and college/university transcripts must be evaluated “course by course” for consideration of college transfer credit. For upper-division consideration, be sure to request that your evaluation distinguishes between upper-division and lower-division coursework. Note that English taken outside the United States will not satisfy ENC 1101 or ENC 1102 regardless of college level. The student must pay the cost of the transcript evaluation. The application for evaluation may be downloaded from an evaluator’s website. Polk State College most commonly uses International Education Evaluations (IEE), Josef Silny & Associates (JSA) and World Education Services (WES), or students may visit www.naces.org to select an approved evaluator.

I-901 SEVIS Fee
Prior to visa application, and once an I-20 form is issued, the student must pay a USD $200 SEVIS fee to the Department of Homeland Security. Form I-901 information and an application are available at www.fmjfee.com. The fee should be paid at least two weeks prior to visa application. A receipt must be presented at the time of visa application. This I-901 fee is in addition to the visa application fee. For information on the visa application process, students may visit www.state.gov.

Within the first three weeks of the semester, students must officially report to the school and present a valid visa, SEVIS I-20, printout of I-94 number from https://cbp.gov/i94, and valid passport to the International Student Advisor as proof of eligibility to attend school. Photocopies of these documents are made for the student’s file. Then the student is registered in SEVIS as “arrived and registered for classes.”

International Students Holding Other Non-Immigrant Visas
Students holding any of the following visas B1, B2, C1, C2. C3, D1, J1 (except Au Pairs), J2, P1, P2, P3 and P4 are not eligible to study while remaining on their primary non-immigrant visa.  If you hold one of these visas and wish to abandon your original non-immigrant intent, you may apply for admission as an international student and seek a change to F-1 visa status.  M1 and M2 visa holders are not eligible to change to F-1 status while remaining in the United States, but may exit the U.S. and apply for an F-1 visa at a U.S. embassy abroad.

Students who wish to attend Polk State College who hold other visas may apply to the College. All regulations relating to English proficiency, transcripts, and the use of evaluation services are the same as those for F-1 Visa holders. Students must present a valid visa or I-94 number as proof of eligibility to attend school prior to the start of classes.