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International Students
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International Students

Welcome to International Student Services (ISS). Shelton State Community College offers international students a variety of services to help with the transition to the U.S., the state of Alabama, and our campus community.  ISS provides the support and assistance necessary for international students to achieve their education goals while ensuring compliance with government immigration regulations. We look forward to helping you achieve your higher learning goals.

For admission to an Alabama Community College System institution, an international applicant must provide and comply with the following:

  • Submit Shelton State application online.
    • Select one of the following categories: International Freshman, International Transfer, or International Transient.
    • International students in this country with an F- 1 visa from another institution may be accepted for full-time study at Shelton State Community College. Students must complete and return the Transfer Recommendation of Student’s Immigration Status prior to admission. The student must maintain the recommended hours required by the host institution while in transient status.
  • Submit Signature/Residency page.
  • Schedule an appointment with the Primary Designated School Official (PDSO).
  • Submit an unexpired, government-issued photo ID by mail or email.
  • Submit a valid VISA and passport to include identification page, expiration date page, and VISA page.
  • Submit an official translated and evaluated copy of the student’s high school/college transcript.
  • Submit English Language Testing Scores.
    • IELTS (International English Language Testing System) – minimum score must range from 5.5-6.0
    • TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) – a total score of 61 on the Internet-based test, a total of 173 on the computer based test, or a total score of 500 on the paper-based test
      Note: English as a Second Language exam may be waived for students from the following countries: Australia, Bahamas, Bermuda, Canada (verify from transcript), England, Ireland, Jamaica, New Zealand, Scotland, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Grenada, Belize, Dominica, Malawi, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, Nigeria, Tanzania, The Gambia, Tobago and Trinidad, Zambia, and the Virgin Islands. All other waivers must be submitted to the Chancellor for approval with substantial documentation.
  • International Freshmen complete the First Time Freshman International Student Checklist.
  • International Transfer Students complete the Transfer International Student Checklist.
  • The final decision for acceptance of international students who have met the preceding conditions will be made by the Primary Designated School Official (PDSO).
  • For information about International Student Orientation and tuition and fees, visit International Students.
  • International student tuition is two (2) times that of residents of the state of Alabama.
  • International students must provide a signed, notarized statement verifying adequate financial support and a complete financial statement documenting ability to pay cost of attendance. The official statement from the financial institution must be dated within the last three months and include the following information:
    • Minimum of $28,000 (USD)
    • If applicable, a minimum of $3,600 (USD) is required for each additional dependent in addition to the $28,000 for tuition.
    • Financial documentation must provide the specific amount of funds and the name(s) of the account holder.
    • Financial documentation must be in English; otherwise, attach a translation into English.
  • Documentation is required that demonstrates adequate health and life insurance, which must be maintained during enrollment. Students who do not present their own health insurance must purchase a health insurance policy through the Students are required to pay for international insurance coverage at the time of registration. (Note: Spring and summer semesters are combined unless the summer is the student’s first semester.)
  • International students must meet all Immigration and Naturalization Service Requirements and complete forms necessary for attendance at Shelton State.
  • F-1 visa holders are required to be enrolled full-time (twelve semester hours or more) and should be progressing satisfactorily toward a degree.
  • All international student applicants must secure private housing since Shelton State provides no dormitory facilities.
  • No student will be allowed to enroll for a second semester unless all required admissions records have been received by the College prior to registration for the second semester. If all required admissions records have not been received by the College prior to issuance of first semester grades, then the grades will be reported on the transcript, but an official transcript will not be released until all required admissions records are received.

For directions on how to schedule an appointment, click here.

Schedule An Appointment

Note: Google Chrome is the recommended browser to use with the online appointment system.

Can I still apply to Shelton State?

Due to the rapidly evolving COVID-19 emergency, SSCC is only accepting application for international transfer students and international transient students for the summer 2020 term. International first-time freshman may apply for the fall 2020 term.

 

Transfer students must be in good standing with their current institution and submit all required documents to complete the transfer process prior to the May 1, 2020, deadline. For more information on the admissions requirements for international transfer students, visit SSCC International Students.

 

Transient students must submit a transient letter listing specific approved courses for the appropriate term from their host institution along with other required admissions documents. For more information, visit admissions requirements for international transient students.

 

Is SSCC issuing initial attendance I-20s to new students?

Not currently. ISS has suspended issuing initial attendance to new students seeking admission for the summer 2020 term. All U.S. consulates have temporarily suspended visa services. Mailing services are suspended or delayed in many countries. ISS will continue to monitor the situation and resume services when we know that the secure delivery of documents and visa services resume.

 

I have submitted my application and plan to start a program at SSCC in the summer 2020 term. I am currently outside of the U.S., and I do not have an active SEVIS record at another U.S. school. What information do I need to know right now?

Students who are currently outside of the United States with an initial I-20 will not be able to arrive to the U.S. to begin their program in summer term. Students may defer their start date to the fall 2020 term.

 

Students who are transferring to SSCC during the summer 2020 term may continue their studies.

 

I am currently inside of the U.S. I have been admitted to SSCC for summer 2020 and have received my I-20. Can I still take classes this summer even though all courses are online? 

Yes. Newly admitted F-1 students who are currently inside of the U.S.  and have received an I-20 to begin classes for summer 2020 are eligible to enroll and begin study this summer under the current modified structure of instruction.

 

I am currently studying at another U.S. institution and plan to transfer my SEVIS record to SSCC. How does the transition to online instruction for the summer 2020 term impact me?

Students who remain in the United States should be able to complete their SEVIS transfer for summer 2020 and begin online classes for the summer term. Students who are outside of the U.S. should defer their attendance to the fall 2020 term.

 

You should continue to submit the necessary documents to SSCC for your SEVIS transfer. Information about the documents needed for your SEVIS transfer can be found on our website at SSCC International Students.

 

U.S. embassies and consulates are currently closed and have long wait times due to COVID19, which means I am unable to obtain an entry visa. Can the College assist with this?

If you have a College-issued I-20, this demonstrates our wish to have you enroll. However, we cannot issue any other documents to assist with obtaining an entry visa, nor can we ask the U.S. Consulate or Embassy to prioritize your visa application.

How does a move to online classes impact international students with F-1 visas whose instruction must occur in person?

Currently enrolled F-1 students’ visa status will not be affected by the move of spring 2020 classes to online instruction. However, F-1 students must continue to maintain full-time enrollment for the spring 2020 term despite the shift to online instruction.

 

SSCC adheres to guidance from the Student Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP), which is a unit within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that oversees the F-1 international student visa program. Due to the rapidly evolving situation with COVID-19, SEVP issued guidance to institutions that allows for increased flexibility to ensure international students can continue their academic progress.

 

Remember that this change in instructional method allowance is at this time only for the spring 2020 term, and the suspension of rules assumes that continuing students will resume full-time, in-person study in August for the fall 2020 term.

 

May I return to my home country now that SSCC is offering remote instruction?

SSCC has received guidance from the Department of Homeland Security that states currently enrolled F-1 visa students who wish to return to their home country to continue studies online may do so. Additionally, the guidance suspends the 5-month rule for absences.  Therefore, ISS will maintain your F-1 I-20 while you are out-of-country and your student status will not be jeopardized.

 

Remember that this change in instructional method allowance is only for the spring 2020 term at this time, and the suspension of rules assumes that continuing students will return to resume full-time, in-person study in August for the fall 2020 term.

 

Again, please note that F-1 students must continue to maintain full-time enrollment for the spring 2020 term despite the shift to online instruction.

 

Please be aware that travel abroad may be challenging at the moment.  If you and your family determine it is in your best interest to return home, please know that International Student Services (ISS) cannot control whether you would be able to return to the U.S. on your desired return date. Thus, you must be prepared to remain abroad for an indefinite period.

 

We recommend that you monitor conditions through your home country’s Embassy page and through resources such as the International Air Transport Association Travel Page.

 

If I leave the U.S., can you guarantee that I will be able to come back to SSCC for summer and fall courses?

Summer term 2020 has also moved remote instruction, so you may be able to continue your studies in the U.S. or abroad while maintaining status.

 

If you choose to leave the U.S., please know that International Student Services (ISS) cannot control whether you would be able to return to the U.S. on your desired return date. This is an ongoing situation, and we cannot speculate on future course terms and travel restrictions.

 

We encourage you to monitor travel conditions through your home country’s Embassy page and through resources such as the International Air Transport Association Travel Page.

Please note that if your F-1 visa has expired and you need to renew it, many U.S. consulates have temporarily suspended visa appointments.

 

ISS has no control or influence over visa requirements or travel restrictions.

 

If I am planning to leave the U.S., do I need a travel signature on my immigration document?

Yes, you need a travel signature to return to the U.S. to resume your studies in the future. Your travel signature is valid for one year and must be valid at the time of your attempt to reenter the U.S. If your I-20 program end date is less than one year, your travel signature is only valid until the program end date.

 

Note: If you are on OPT, your travel signature is valid for six months.

 

If I am planning to leave the U.S., what documents do I need to reenter the country?

If you depart the country either this semester or in summer, do not forget that you will need the following to be able to return to the U.S. on F-1 student visa status:

  1. a valid travel signature on your I-20
  2. a valid passport
  3. a valid F-1 visa stamp

 

Please note that if your F-1 visa has expired and you need to renew it, many U.S. consulates have temporarily suspended visa appointments.

 

If you need a travel signature, please send an email to internationalstudents@sheltonstate.edu and include “TRAVEL SIGNATURE REQUEST” in the subject line.

 

ISS has no control or influence over visa requirements or travel restrictions.

 

I am graduating in May. What are my options?

If you are graduating at the end of the spring 2020 term, make sure that you have applied for graduation.  For more information, visit graduation application process.

 

During the 60-day departure period after graduation, international students are eligible to do the following:

  • Apply for OPT– you can actually do this before graduation, and we recommend applying early!
  • Transfer to another school (you must be admitted and have your SEVIS record transferred within the 60 days; you must start classes within 5 months)
  • File an application to change your immigration status with USCIS (Please note that the USCIS Office is currently closed due to the COVID-19 emergency)
  • Leave the U.S.

A decision must be made within the 60-day grace period. Your grace period starts after the program end date listed on your I-20.

 

Do I have to take classes during the summer 2020 term?

Summer term 2020 has moved online so you may be able to continue your studies in the U.S. or abroad while maintaining status.

 

Full-time enrollment in the summer 2020 semester is only required if summer 2020 is your final semester.

 

For all other currently enrolled international students, summer is considered a vacation period and enrollment is not required.

 

I am currently on Optional Practical Training (OPT), and my employer told me to work from home. Am I in violation of my immigration status?

Employers may ask their Optional Practical Training (OPT) employees to work from home. This will not affect their F-1 status. Students must still report their employment information to ensure they do not accrue days of unemployment in their Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) record.

 

I am graduating this semester, and I need to apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT). Is it possible to apply while I am abroad?

Current regulations state that you must be present in the United States when submitting your Optional Practical Training (OPT). You cannot mail your application to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) from abroad. You must be present in the United States at the time USCIS issues a receipt number to acknowledge acceptance of your packet.

 

The application requires an I-94 number, which is only valid while you are in the United States. If you depart the United States, you will not have a valid I-94 and your application will likely be rejected.

 

If you are able to re-enter the United States before your I-20 program end date, you can apply for OPT up to 60 days after the program end date listed on your I-20. If you have already requested an OPT I-20 but will not be able to remain in the United States until USCIS receives your application, ISS can provide a new OPT I-20 when you return to the United States.