Jul 22, 2024  
Catalog/Handbook 2019-2020 
Catalog/Handbook 2019-2020 [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 (i.e., a minimum of 12 credit hours per term) and pay out-of-state tuition and fees during their entire enrollment period. 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 must 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-1Visa 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 attendance eligibility and obtain information regarding Florida tuition rates. Details on Florida tuition rates can also 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 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. An International Student who completes the International Student admission requirements by the semester deadline is issued a SEVIS Form I-20, Certificate of Eligibility for Non-Immigrant (F-1) Student Status

Note: The student must allow up to two weeks for processing after all documents have been received by the College. This does not include processing time for college transcripts, which can take up to six weeks. The student must complete the application process by the semester deadline. If the application is incomplete or is not received by the deadline of the intended admission semester, admission may need to be delayed until the next term.

For an academic or language student, 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 a foreign country. It may also be used to apply for a change of status to an F-1Visa 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 reading, writing, and grammar coursework within 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 any of the following tests. 


Test Name

TEST Short Name

Minimum Score Required

Test of English as a Foreign Language



International English Testing System



**Scores updated August 22, 2016








*Visit an international student success advisor for information about the paper format of this examination.

International Student Transcript Requirements:

Each student must provide all official high school, upper-secondary, and postsecondary transcripts from all high schools, colleges, and universities attended. If a transcript is 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. The student should request an official copy of the foreign transcript to be sent directly from the foreign institution to the evaluation service. All transcripts and/or official evaluations must be received by the College prior to the issuance of the SEVIS I-20 Form. A student who does not wish to use postsecondary coursework from a foreign country toward his or her degree is not required to submit these transcripts. The high school transcript, however, is still required.

A transcript from an international secondary institution must be evaluated “document-by-document” for equivalency to the requirements for U.S. high school graduation, and a college/university transcript must be evaluated “course-by-course” for consideration of college transfer credit. For upper-division consideration, the evaluation must distinguish between upper-division and lower-division coursework. Note that English coursework taken outside of the United States does not satisfy English Composition I (ENC 1101) or English Composition II (ENC 1102) requirements regardless of the college level of the coursework. The student must pay the cost of the transcript evaluation. An application for evaluation may be downloaded from an evaluator’s website. Polk State College most commonly uses International Education Evaluations (IEE) and Josef Silny & Associates (JSA) but the student may visit www.naces.org to select an approved evaluator.

I-901 SEVIS Fee
Prior to visa application, and once the SEVIS I-20 Form is issued, the student must pay the current SEVIS fee to the Department of Homeland Security. Information on the I-901 Form and 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, a student may visit www.state.gov.

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

International Students Holding Other Non-Immigrant Visas

A student holding any of the following visas: B1, B2, C1, C2. C3, D1, J1 (except Au Pairs), J2, P1, P2, P3, and P4 is not eligible to study while remaining on the primary non-immigrant visa. If an individual holds one of these visas and wishes to abandon the original non-immigrant intent, he or she 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 Visa 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.

Any student who wishes to attend Polk State College and who holds another visa type 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. The student must present a valid visa and I-94 number as proof of eligibility to attend school prior to the start of classes