Find helpful information and resources to help you along the immigration process. Please don't hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.
As part of the immigration process, you will need to complete an application for either an I-20 or J-1 form. Download a .pdf application below and return the completed application to International Admissions.
- I-20 application: F 1 Visa applications seeking a 4-year degree)
- J-1 application: J-1 Visa applicants coming to Calvin for an exchange program)
Preparing for your visa interview*
- If you can, connect with an education advisor at the Education USA website who works for/with the Embassy to get advice prior to your interview. Some African countries expect or even require that this be done.
- Be sure you understand your parents' financial situation as it was listed on the Declaration of Finances form you sent to Calvin. You will often be asked questions such as:
- What does each of your parents do for a living and how much money do they earn?
- What is their savings and what will they give to you?
- How will they cover their other family expenses and still support you in the USA?
- If you have a sponsor, then you must know that same answers about that person/organization's finances also.
- Bring financial documents with you. These should be dated within a few months of date of your interview and show resources that are at least as good as what you presented to Calvin.
- Be sure your passport is valid for at least 6 months after your proposed date of entry to the USA.
- Have your VISA processing fee receipt and the receipt for your I-901 SEVIS fee.
- Be prepared to defend the reason you chose Calvin College, your major area of study and your awareness of the Grand Rapids, Michigan area.
- Officials are looking for evidence that you have strong ties to your own country. They want to verify that your time in the USA will be temporary—to study—and that you do plan to return to your own country when your education is complete.
- Bring your Calvin College letter of admission, tuition information, test scores, and transcripts from all the schools you attended in your own country.
Students who currently have F-2 status (parent is an F-1 student in the states)
Regulations for F-2 Status state you may not engage in full-time study outside of high school unless it is for recreation only.
You must have F-1 Student Status to attend classes at any U.S. college to which you have been admitted including Calvin.
You have two options to attain F-1 status:
- Return to your home country during the summer to apply for an F-1 Student Visa with an I-20 issued from Calvin College.
- Apply to the USCIS for a Change of Status (COS) to F-1 Student Status.
- If you are an F-2 student and wish to stay in the States to attend college after graduating high school, you must apply for a Change of Status.
- Attending college before you have actually been given F-1 status constitutes failure to maintain your current F-2 status. If a student begins college on F-2 status, it is certain that the COS application will be denied. A denial will mean exiting the country.
- If your COS application has not been adjudicated, you should not register for classes or attend college until you have received F-1 Student Status. Instead, you should defer attendance to the following semester.
It is very important that you are admitted to the college early so that a Change of Status application can be submitted and hopefully adjudicated before college begins. The application period can take up to 6 months. Only when F-1 Student Status has been granted should you actually attend college.