One of the most exciting and rewarding events in a young person’s life is being offered admission to one’s dream university and embarking on a new life on campus – it’s an even greater adventure when it is in a different country. International applicants generally follow the same procedures as domestic students in terms of application procedures, but have a few extra steps given their nonimmigrant status. NC State welcomes and encourages international applicants in all programs and the staff members of the various admission offices as well as OIS stand by ready to assist you with questions or difficulties.
There are several different admissions offices that process applications from international applicants depending on the program of interest and level of study:
- Undergraduate Admissions (for bachelor degree programs)
- Graduate Admissions (for masters and doctoral programs)
- Global Training Initiative (for short-term certificate programs, internships, and research)
- Study Abroad (for one or two semester exchange programs NC State has with select schools overseas)
- Summer Institute (a five week intensive ESL program held each July)
- Other Non-Degree Programs (PBS, UGS, DE Programs, Engineering OnLine, Inter-Institutional Registration, etc.)
Interested applicants should review the program descriptions and application instructions on the relevant website, many of which offer an online application process. Simply follow the instructions and submit the required test scores, supporting documents, and fee. Most admission offices have a Frequently Asked Question feature or contact information if you need to ask questions or encounter difficulties. Many applicants will also contact faculty or administrators in the particular program of interest. Every academic program and academic unit has a website that highlights distinctive features, particular areas of strength, and contact information. Graduate applicants especially are encouraged to contact the Director of Graduate Programs (see http://www.ncsu.edu/grad/about-grad/dgp.php for a list of names and email addresses) for admission questions, deadlines, and requirements related to the specific department.
Foreign nationals will not be granted F-1 and J-1 visa documentation (the I-20 and DS-2019 respectively) based on admission to a Distance Education (DE) or On-line program. Additionally, it is a violation of status for an F-1 or J-1 student to change curriculum or major from a traditional course of study to a DE or On-line program after arrival to NC State University.
Sponsored F-1 and J-1 students are prohibited from enrolling in DE courses with or attending courses at NC State alternate sites of instruction, including but not limited to sites related to programs with the College of Education and the MBA program at Research Triangle Park. Any questions about international students and enrollment at alternate sites of instruction should be directed to the Office of International Services.
Who is an international applicant?
While we want every NC State student to be international and globally competent, we use the term “International student” to designate students who are not US citizens or lawful permanent residents of the US (also known as Resident Aliens, Permanent Residents, and Green Card holders). Applicants and students who are in the US in a nonimmigrant visa status or are overseas and need a student visa to enter the US for study purposes are international students.
Who needs a visa?
Most international students at NC State are here on a student visa and are either in F-1 status or J-1 status (named after the visa types F-1 and J-1). Not all international students have a current visa in their passport and several hundred other international students are not on a student visa at all, but on an employment visa, a dependent visa, or are in some other status that permits study. See the section on Visas for more information.
Types of International Applicants:
- International applicants who reside overseas and need a student visa to enter from abroad
- International students who are already in the US on a student visa (F-1 or J-1) and need to transfer their SEVIS record to NC State
- Nonimmigrants already in the US who are in a nonimmigrant status that permits study without having to change their status
- Nonimmigrants already in the US who are in a nonimmigrant status that permits study but wish to change their status for personal, immigration, or employment eligibility reasons.
- Nonimmigrants already in the US who are in a nonimmigrant status that does NOT permit study and need to change their status or leave and re-enter on a student visa
- Nonimmigrants who are out of status, are undocumented, or otherwise need immigration assistance and advice in order to study in the US
- Overseas students who wish to enroll in a DE program and who will remain overseas or are ordinarily on-campus students but who will engage in a study abroad program, overseas research program, or a temporary leave of absence
For more information about visa status options available to applicants, please click here.
The Visa Process for International Applicants
International applicants who have applied to NC State and have been offered admission to an on-campus degree program or certain full-time non-degree programs (study abroad exchange, GTI certificate or other full-time non-degree program, summer ESL program) may request a student visa certificate if needed to enter or remain in the US. The University cannot issue a student visa certificate to those admitted to distance
education programs or part-time study programs.
Once an international applicant has met the criteria for academic admission (the list of eligibility requirements and application materials is listed on each admissions website) and is offered a spot in the program, additional instructions will be available through the admissions website (ApplyYourself for graduate applicants or WolfPAW/Admission Pros for undergraduate applicants) or from the application itself. Typically this involves submitting documentation of funding necessary for the issuance of a visa certificate.
Applicants who are already in the US and are not US citizens or lawful permanent residents will also be asked to provide documentation of their nonimmigrant status on the Visa Clearance Form. Admitted applicants who are already in the US and need to transfer their SEVIS record or apply for a change of status or for re-instatement need to communicate with OIS to verify further procedures regarding possible travel, employment, filing additional forms, etc.
Overseas applicants who are offered admission to degree programs will generally be issued a Form I-20 for an F-1 student visa by the Admissions office. Non-degree applicants (GTI students, Summer Institute ESL students, and Study Abroad students), those who require a J-1 visa, those who wish to transfer their SEVIS record to NC State, and those who need immigration advising will generally be issued their visa certificate from OIS. A current, original visa certificate from the University is necessary before an admitted student can apply for a student visa at the US Embassy in the home country.
Applicants may be offered admission to more than one US school, but should choose one school to attend and use the Form I-20 from the school they wish to attend to both apply for the visa and to enter the US. More information about the process for applying for a visa is available in the Visas & Immigration Info section of this website. If an admitted student decides to not enroll in the school for any reason – or to request a deferment of admission, the student should contact both the academic department and OIS. Students in F-1 or J-1 status may enter the US up to 30 days prior to the report date on the visa certificate, but OIS generally recommends an entry and arrival date of 3-5 days before the date of New International Student Orientation. Students should make every effort to arrive in the US before Orientation and not face the difficulties that accompany students who arrive late. New international students must check in with OIS upon arrival – check the Orientation schedule on the OIS website and in the Pre-arrival information.