Jun 25, 2024  
Catalog/Handbook 2023-2024 
Catalog/Handbook 2023-2024

International and Visa Students

An International Student interested in attending Polk State College should become familiar with the International Student website. An International Student may also request information via email (international@polk.edu). Admission guidance is available at Polk State College’s International Student website

Polk State College is authorized to enroll non-immigrant alien students. An F-1 Visa allows an International Student to enter the United States specifically for the purpose of obtaining an education. Each International Student attending Polk State College and holding an F-1 Visa is required to attend college on a full-time basis (i.e., a minimum of 12 credit hours per term) and pay out-of-state tuition and fees during the entire enrollment period. A student with an F-1 Visa is required to attend school for two consecutive semesters (e.g.,fall and spring), as a full-time student to be eligible for a vacation period. The summer semester is considered the student’s vacation period. A student who starts college 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-1 Visa is here for a purpose other than obtaining an education. Most visa holders are eligible to attend school while in the U.S., if attending school does not interfere with the 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; however, some visa students may be eligible for Florida tuition rates after one year of residency in Florida if they meet specific requirements.

A student 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 on the College website.

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

  • Fall Semester or Term I (Aug.-Dec.): June 1
  • Spring Semester or Term II (Jan.-early May): November 1
  • Summer Semester or Term III (May-early Aug.): April 1

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

An International Student is required to complete additional admission requirements, as well as the regular admission procedures. For this reason, the student should begin the admission process approximately six months prior to the beginning of the semester of enrollment. 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 deferred 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-1 Visa for an individual who is already in the United States on a non-immigrant visa.

International Student Admission Requirements:

The International Student must follow all steps on the International Student webpage. The 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.

A degree-seeking International Student must show proficiency in English by meeting one of the requirements listed below. An International Student who does not demonstrate sufficient proficiency in English may enroll in the College’s English for Academic Purposes (EAP) Program and 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. 

A student may demonstrate English proficiency with any of the following: 

Test Name

Test Abbreviation

Minimum Score Required

Test of English as a Foreign Language



International English Testing System



*An International Student Success Advisor can provide
information about the paper format of this examination.

**Scores updated August 22, 2016.


International Student Transcript Requirements:

The student must provide official high school, upper-secondary, and postsecondary transcripts from all educational institutions 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 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 for evaluation; however, the high school transcript 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 or 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. Additionally, the student must contact an evaluator to purchase an official report to be sent to Polk State College; the NACES website (www.naces.org) contains a list of approved providers.

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 applications are available at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Student and Exchange Visitor website (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. More information regarding the visa application process can be found on the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Study in the States website (studyinthestates.dhs.gov/students).

An International Student must officially report to the school two weeks prior to the start of the semester and present a valid visa and passport, the SEVIS I-20 Form, and a printout of the I-94 number (i.e., as provided at: https://www.cbp.gov/travel/international-visitors/i-94) to the designated school offical as proof of eligibility to attend Polk State College. Photocopies of these documents are made for the student’s file. After completion of the remaining admission steps and course registration, the student is registered in 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, or P4 is not eligible to study while remaining on the primary non-immigrant visa. If an individual has 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.