Skip to Content

International Students

International students are considered a very important part of the growing college community. The Greater Sacramento region in California is home to people from all over the world and, as one of the fastest growing areas in the U.S., many international and multi-national companies have a presence in the area.

Application Information

Application Requirements

Cosumnes River College is a SEVP certified college. SEVP certification allows the college to issue the Form I-20, Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status. Prospective International students can use the form I-20 to apply for a Visa to enter the United States.

The following documents are required in order to issue the I-20 document:

  1. Evidence of English Proficiency:
    • Official TOEFL test result of 500 minimum (written) or 173 minimum (computer based) or 61 minimum (Internet based). Along with the TOEFL, CRC also recognizes STEP Eiken and GTEC CBT Japan English Proficiency exam scores for English proficiency for Japanese students. In addition, CRC accepts the IELTS – with a 6.0 minimum test result and the Pearson Test of English Academic - with 38 minimum score.
    • CRC ESL (English as a Second Language) assessment test scores - placement into ESL 310
  2. Financial Support: Official bank letter/BCIS affidavit of support in the exchange rate of $32,370.00 U.S. dollars. Additional $2,500 USD required for each dependent.
  3. Educational History:
    • Official high school diploma/transcripts showing graduation AND/OR
    • Official college transcript (non-English documents must be accompanied by translated copies)
  4. Application for Admission completed
  5. CRC International Student Application (PDF) completed and Los Rios Enrollment Application (PDF)
  6. $50.00 non-refundable application fee - payable to Cosumnes River College in the form of a check, money order, or cashier’s check
  7. Certification of negative Tuberculosis Skin Test
  8. Evidence of Health Insurance

After receiving the I-20, you should go to the website of your nearest U.S. consulate to follow visa application procedures. All U.S. consulate websites are posted on

Note: If you are currently in the U.S. attending another school as an F-1 student, please submit these forms in addition to the above documentation:

  1. Copy of VISA stamp in your passport
  2. Copy of your current school’s I-20 issued to you

Application Deadlines

New Students Outside of the US

If you are a new student who is currently outside of the US and who needs an F-1 visa, then you should plan to apply at least three months before the start of the semester. The following deadlines apply:

  • Fall Semester: May 1
  • Spring Semester: November 1

The issuance of an I-20 does not always guarantee that you will receive your F-1 visa. Please apply early, in case there is a delay with your documentation or difficulty in getting an appointment at the consulate.

According to F-1 regulations, international students who are entering the US for the first time on an I-20 cannot enter the country more than 30 days prior to the start of the semester. For example, if the semester begins on August 15, you will not be able to enter the US before July 15. For new students this may represent a problem in getting the classes that you want for the first semester as registration normally begins at least two months prior to the start of the semester. You will need to work with your counselor closely as soon as you arrive in the US.

Transfer Students Currently in the US

If you are currently in the US attending school at another institution as an international student with F-1 status, then make sure you submit all of your application paperwork by the following deadlines:

  • Fall Semester: June 1
  • Spring Semester: November 15

Make sure to inform your current school that you are transferring to Cosumnes River College. Make sure that you submit all of the required documents for the I-20 issuance – including transfer form – to the Admissions & Records office by the above dates.

Academic Planning & Registration

You should begin planning for your classes as soon as you begin the international student application process. If you are in the U.S., you should meet with an academic counselor to discuss your goals. Please keep in mind that classes fill up quickly and you should register as early as you can. As an international student you are required to enroll in and complete 12 units per semester. Each of the following must be done in order to prepare for class registration.

  1. Counseling 
    Please contact the Counseling office by calling (916) 691-7316 to make an appointment with the international student counselor to create an educational plan. 
  2. Class Schedule
    After you decide on the classes you will need with your counselor, you will use the class schedule (available online) to check the days/times for each class. As classes fill up so quickly, it is important to choose some alternative sections or classes.
  3. Health Insurance
    Hospital, doctor, or dentist fees can be very expensive in the U.S., so it is required that you purchase adequate health insurance coverage. 
  4. Tuberculosis Skin Test
    All students must have a tuberculosis skin test clearance. 
  5. International Student Orientation 
    International students will be required to either do a group orientation or a one-on-one orientation, depending on the number of international students registered for that semester. The orientation will provide information regarding F-1 responsibilities and maintenance of status. This is also an opportunity to meet with the other international students. You will receive an email before the beginning of the semester with information on the day/time of the orientation.

Maintaining Student Status

Form I-20, Certificate of Eligibility
When you came into the U.S. or transferred to CRC, you received a Form I-20, Certificate of Eligibility. This SEVIS I-20 is essentially your contract with the U.S. Your paper SEVIS I-20 is connected to an electronic record in SEVIS.

Full-time Enrollment
You are required to be a registered, full-time student every semester. A full-time student takes 12 units every semester (Note: This does not include summer session). There are possible exceptions to this requirement, but they are allowed only if you receive prior approval from Admissions & Records. These exceptions include:

  • Medical Reason: If you have a serious medical condition and cannot attend school, then you may receive approval to take less than 12 units. You must present documentation from a licensed doctor or psychologist.
  • Last semester: In your last semester at CRC, you may take only the classes that you need to complete your program. Please check with your academic counselor to make sure you've completed all of your course work. Approval for this must be given by Admissions & Records.

Contact and Address Information
You must report your current residential address. Please update your CRC records of any changes in your address. This can be done through Admissions & Records.

Program Extension
You must request an extension of program if you have not finished your program and your I-20 is about to expire. There is a program end date on your SEVIS I-20; please make sure you know this date. If you need to continue at CRC beyond that date, then please make an appointment to meet with the college’s DSO (International Student Advisor).

Early Departure
Because your SEVIS record is a part of a live reporting environment, CRC must report on your status every semester. If you decide to leave CRC to return home, it is your responsibility to inform the college by contacting Admissions & Records. CRC will need to report to SEVIS that you've stopped your program and departed the U.S. If you do not inform CRC of your departure, the school will need to terminate your SEVIS I-20 for failure to enroll and maintain status.

School Transfer
The majority of our students transfer to a UC or CSU to finish their academic program. The immigration process for this is fairly simple. You should first determine if you are accepted at the school of your choice. After you've been accepted to another school, make sure to inform Admissions & Records of your decision to transfer. There may be a transfer form that you will have to fill out for the other school.

Please remember that your academic status and international student status are different. If you’ve been accepted to another school, please contact their international student office at your transfer institution immediately to follow their transfer procedures.

Work authorization is always required prior to employment. International students have limited part-time and full-time employment opportunities. 

  • On-campus employment (paid by CRC):
    • Part-time work for 20 hours or less per week.
    • Full-time employment is available in the summer.
  • Three types of off-campus employment is acceptable:
    • Optional Practical Training
    • Curricular Practical Training
    • Economic Hardship

Important Documents
There are a number of immigration documents that you need to keep safe and pay attention to. Please make sure you make a copy of all of these documents in case you lose any of them.

  • Passport: You are required to have a valid passport while you are in the U.S. If your passport has an expiration date in six months, you should contact your embassy to follow the procedures for an extension. The easiest way to find an embassy is to do a Google search on the Internet. San Francisco has a number of foreign consulates.
  • U.S. Visa: This document is a stamp in your passport. Your visa has an expiration date. The visa is used to gain admission in the U.S., so if you are in the U.S. after this date you don’t have to worry. You can stay in the U.S. on an expired visa, but the next time you leave the U.S. and reenter the U.S., you will have to get a new visa.
  • SEVIS I-20: This document was issued by CRC and allows you to:
    • Apply for a visa as an F-1 student at a U.S. consulate.
    • Attend CRC as an international student.
    • Provide evidence of your F-1 status.

The information contained in your I-20 is specific to you. It contains information on where you are going to school, your major, finances, etc. If any information changes, you need to contact the CRC International Student Advisor immediately.

International Students FAQ

What is a community college and why should I attend?

A community college is a nonresidential junior college established to serve a specific community and typically supported in part by local government funds. California Community Colleges offer affordable and dynamic educational programs. Cosumnes River College is a part of the Los Rios Community College District, which serves over 80,000 students in the Greater Sacramento area.

The California Community Colleges system has transfer agreements with the University of California (UC) and California State University (CSU) systems. These agreements allow students to complete their general education requirements at the community college level and then transfer at a junior standing to complete their bachelor degree. More and more students, non-international and international, are choosing to complete their lower division courses in a community college. Furthermore, studies have shown that international students who transfer from a community college are more prepared than their counterparts who entered as freshmen.

What kind of a visa do international students receive?

International Students are able to study at Cosumnes River College on the F-1 student visa. As an international student, you will be given the I-20, certificate of eligibility for non-immigrant status. This will allow you to apply for the F-1 visa at the U.S. Embassy/Consulate in your country. For more information on student visas, please visit the U.S. Department of State website. It is important that you are prepared for your visa interview. The NAFSA website has some useful information regarding your interview. In order to receive the I-20 from CRC, you will need to follow the International Student Application Procedures above. There is an additional fee in addition to the regular DS-156 non-immigrant application fee. This fee will need to be paid before you can receive the F-1 visa. This fee can be paid online.

What do I need to do to get my F-1 visa?

In order to get the visa, you will need to apply at the nearest U.S. Consulate to your home. Because every consulate has different local procedures, please visit the U.S. Department of State website for more information. Also, please don’t forget to pay the I-901 SEVIS fee after receiving the Form I-20. View additional information regarding the I-901 SEVIS fee.

After I receive the visa, when can I enter the U.S.?

International students cannot enter the U.S. more than 30 days prior to the start of the semester. For example, if the fall semester begins on August 15, you can enter the U.S. on July 15 or later.

When you enter the U.S., you will need to have:

  1. valid passport
  2. valid F-1 visa
  3. I-20

It is important to report to the CRC International Student Advisor as soon as you arrive.

Will I have any trouble getting my classes?

If you are applying to CRC abroad, you will not be able to enter the U.S. as a new student until 30 days prior to the start of the semester. Class registration begins in May for the fall semester (which starts in August), and in December for the spring semester (which starts in January). English as a Second Language (ESL) classes as well as other basic skills classes are usually popular and tend to fill quickly. As a new international student, you may not get all of the classes that you want in your first semester. It is helpful to remember that there are three other colleges in the district, so you may take classes at our other colleges in order to meet the 12-unit requirement. After your first semester, you should not have trouble getting classes.

I am already in the U.S. attending another school. Can I transfer to CRC?

Yes, as long as you've maintained your status at your current school, then you will be able to transfer. Please follow the International Student Application Procedures above. After you've completed the application, you will need to request the release of your SEVIS I-20 record to Cosumnes River College. Talk to your current International Student Advisor for more information. If you are attending school as an international student in Sacramento and want to take just one or two classes at CRC, then you should be able to get approval from your International Student Advisor without transferring your I-20.

What are the responsibilities for international students?

Unit Load

You are required to take 12 units every semester. Schools are required to report to SEVIS when a student drops below a full course of study 12 units or fails to enroll. Note: You are not required to register for the summer session, but you must be registered for a full course of study throughout the academic year in order to maintain your valid student visa status. There are certain circumstances under which CRC can approve dropping below 12 units, but in all cases this approval must be done by CRC  before the student actually drops their classes. If that is not done, the student will fall out of status, even if the reason is valid.  In other words, it is essential that you contact the International Student Advisor prior to dropping below a full course load.

There are only three reasons why you would be able to drop below 12 units at Cosumnes River College:  

  1. Medical reasons documented by a physician.
  2. A student is in his/her final semester and only needs certain courses to graduate.
  3. Academic Difficulty (this can only be approved for one semester).

CRC does not have on-campus housing. It is the responsibility of the student to prepare their own living arrangements. You must be 18 years of age in order to sign a rental agreement in the U.S.

International Students Under Age 18

It is the responsibility of the student and their parents to obtain a power of attorney from an attorney in their country that states who has legal guardianship for the student in the United States. We require a power of attorney before we can issue an I-20.

I came into the U.S. as a tourist. Can I change my status to a student?

If you are currently in B-1 or B-2 status and want to become an international student in F-1 status, you need to change your status before attending school. There are two ways to change your current status.

  1. You can complete the application procedures, receive your I-20, and return home to obtain an F-1 visa. You would then re-enter the U.S. in F-1 status.
  2. Stay in the U.S. and apply with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. This is a formal application process with the immigration bureau.

There are benefits and drawbacks to each option. The preferred method is that you will leave the country and reenter in F-1 status. This may be difficult for some students because of the cost and inconvenience of travel as well as the chance of visa denial. Applying for a change of status in the U.S. can take a long time to process and there is a strong chance of denial. It is recommended that both options are considered and discussed with the International Student Advisor.

My visa stamp in my passport has expired. Do I have to return to my home country?

The visa stamp that is in your passport was issued by the U.S. Consulate in your country. It is a document that is used to tell the Port of Entry officer that your application was reviewed by the U.S. Consulate, which determined you could enter the U.S. The visa allows you to travel to the U.S. where the Port of Entry officer will admit you by stamping your I-20 and I-94 card. If you are in the U.S. and your visa expires, you don't need to worry. You can stay in the U.S. with an expired visa, but you will need to renew it if you leave the U.S. and intend to travel back to the U.S. For more information on U.S. visas, visit the U.S. Department of State website.

How can I get a job?

International students have limited employment options. F-1 students are able to work on-campus without any special permission; however, you will need a social security card. Off-campus employment is more difficult to attain. You should speak to the International Student Advisor.

Can I get financial assistance?

Undergraduate education is very expensive for international students and funding resources are limited. International students are required to show enough financial support for the first academic year.

Do I need a Social Security number?

Social Security numbers (SSN) are issued for the purpose of employment taxation. You do not need a social security number to open a bank account, rent a car, or get your driver's license. It is more convenient for students to have an SSN, but it is not absolutely necessary. You should only apply for an SSN if you are going to be employed. There have been changes to the SSN application procedures that require evidence of employment. Please talk to Admissions & Records about SSN application procedures.

Why do I need to see the International Student Advisor?

You should see the International Student Advisor in Admissions & Records for the following reasons:

  • If you need to travel out of the U.S. at anytime, you will need a signature on the third page of your I-20.
  • If you transfer to another school, you will need to have CRC release your SEVIS record.
  • If you change your major and/or need to extend your I-20.
  • If you fall below 12 units.
  • If you change your immigration status, CRC will need to terminate your SEVIS record.
  • If you lose your I-20.
  • If you want to work on campus or off campus.



call (916) 691-7411 and ask to speak to an International Admissions Advisor.