- Applying for the F-1 or J-1 visa
- Arrival Information
- Mandatory Orientation Program
- Health Insurance
- New International Student F.A.Q.
- International Student Handbook
F-1 students (degree seeking students)
Once you are admitted to the College of Charleston, you will receive a packet that contains your immigration form I-20. You will need this form to apply for your F-1 Non-Immigrant Student visa at the nearest US consulate.
J-1 students (students on exchange programs)
Once you are admitted to the College of Charleston, you will receive a packet that contains your form DS-2019. You will need this form to apply for your J-1 Non-Immigrant Student visa at the nearest US consulate.
For both F-1 and J-1 Applicants
STEP 1: Pay the Student/Exchange Visitor System (SEVIS) Processing Fee
The U.S. Department of Homeland requires that all F-1 and J-1 non-immigrants seeking initial attendance visas from a U.S. Embassy to pay a processing fee of $200 for F-1 students and $180 for J-1 students. For details regarding these fees please visit the I-901 Fee Processing Website.
STEP 2: Make a visa interview appointment
Once you have paid the SEVIS processing fee, you will need to make an appointment for a visa interview. Student visa applicants are required to appear in person at the US Embassy in their home country. Click here for a full list of US Embassies.
The wait time to receive a visa appointment will vary by location, therefore we strongly recommend to apply early. Click here to view the current visa wait time at your local consulate.
Do not make a visa appointment prior to getting your I-20 or DS-2019 form or paying the SEVIS fee.
STEP 3: Interview process
What You Should Bring to Your Visa Interview
- Form DS-156
- Official acceptance letter from the College of Charleston
- I-901 receipt
- Your I-20 or DS-2019
- Passport valid for at least 6 months
- Proof of financial support
- A list of your family who live in your country
The visa officer at the embassy or consulate in your home country may request additional application materials. We recommend that you contact the Embassy or Consulate prior to your interview to ensure that you have all the required documentation for your visa.
Recommended date for arrival in Charleston for the Fall 2013 semester is Friday, August 16, 2013.
Travel to Charleston
As you begin to make plans for your travel to Charleston, you may find the following information helpful. Charleston can be reached easily by bus, train or commercial airline from major ports of entry such as New York, Washington DC, Miami, Atlanta, Charlotte, Los Angeles or San Francisco. The city is also served by the Greyhound bus company. Several major airlines serve Charleston such as Delta, US Air, and United. The airport is only a few minutes from the College of Charleston campus by taxi. Taxi/Shuttle service is also available from the railroad and bus station.
Any students who arrive before Friday, August 16th should be prepared to look for alternate accommodation, such as hotels or the local Youth Hostel (www.notsohostel.com).
Residence Halls (on campus dormitories) open on Friday, August 16th at 12pm.
If you cannot be met upon your arrival at the airport because of unexpected schedule changes and you will be living on campus, take a taxi/shuttle to the Public Safety Office on campus. Their telephone number is 843.953.4980. Public Safety is located at 81 B St. Philips Street in the ground floor of the parking garage. A Public Safety Officer will assist you with your on-campus housing.
International Student Orientation: Monday, August 19th. You must be in Charleston before this date in order to attend this mandatory orientation.
Please share your travel plans with us through the following link: International Student Arrival Form.
If you are F or J status and are entering from outside of the United States, you can enter up to 30 days before the program start date listed on your SEVIS I-20 or DS-2019 form.
Always hand-carry your immigration documents! Do NOT check the following documents in your baggage:
- Your passport
- Your SEVIS form I-20 or DS-2019
- Acceptance letter from the College of Charleston
- Paper receipt for the SEVIS form I-797
- Name and contact information for your "Designated School Official" as listed on your I-20, or "Responsible Officer" as listed on your DS-2019
If arriving by air, flight attendants will distribute Custom Declaration Forms (CF-6059) and Arrival/Departure Record Forms (I-94). The must be completed prior to landing.
As you arrive at the Port of Entry have the following documents ready:
- SEVIS form I-20 or DS-2019
- Arrival/Departure Record Form I-94
All visitors entering the U.S. must state their reason for wishing to enter the country. You may also be asked to provide information about your final destination. It is important that you tell them that you will be a student at the College of Charleston.
You can find additional information about what to expect upon arriving the United States through the Study in the States website.
Mandatory student orientation at the College of Charleston will be held:
Fall 2013 semester: Monday, August 19, 2013.
The Center for International Education holds an orientation for new International students at the beginning of each semester. The Orientation covers important information about academic and immigration policies, as well as practical matters such a housing, meal plans, heath insurance, transportation, etc.
International student orientation is also a wonderful opportunity to meet and make friends with other new students perhaps from your country and from all over the world.
What to bring:
- Photocopy of passport (name and expiration pages)
- Photocopy of visa
- Photocopy of I-94 (front and back)
- Photocopy of I-20 (for F-1 students) or DS-2019 (for J-1 students)
- Proof of health insurance (required for J-1 students, recommended for F-1 students)
If you are studying at the College of Charleston on a J-1 visa, as part of your visa requirement you will need to make sure you have adequate J-1 health insurance coverage.
The requirements of the J-1 visas are:
- Medical Benefits of at least $50,000 per accident or illness
- Repatriation of Remains in the amount of $7,500
- Expenses associated with any medical evacuation to the home country in the amount of $10,000
- A deductible not to exceed $500 per accident or illness
Students are required to verify their insurance requirement with the Center for International Education at the beginning of each semester. If you already have your own health insurance submit your personal health insurance policy to CIE to verify your insurance coverage.
Students who do not have health insurance can procure insurance at such providers as Compass Benefits Group or Cultural Insurance Services International (CISI). Note that the College of Charleston maintains no association with the companies listed.
The College of Charleston offers professionally staffed Student Health Services to provide treatment for basic medical conditions for current students. They do not, however, provide major surgery, major illness or overnight care. Hours of operation are Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.. Twenty-four hour care is available at several nearby hospitals. For life-threatening emergencies dial 911 on any telephone.