Most CSU campuses welcome the applications of international students. As an international student you may be interested in starting a bachelor's degree, a graduate degree or in some cases an ESL (English as a Second Language) program.
International students include those who hold U.S. visas as students, exchange visitors, or other nonimmigrant classifications.
The application process for international students is different from U.S. resident students. Be sure to review all of the pages in this section to understand the basics of applying as an international student. Some campuses or majors may restrict enrollment of nonresident students due to heavy enrollment demands.
If English is not your native language or you have not had three years of your secondary education taught in
English, you will be required to provide proof of your English proficiency. Since most classes are taught in
English, you must demonstrate your ability to read, write, and speak English.
CSU campuses will use the TOEFL test to measure your
English proficiency. The TOEFL test is given year-round at permanent testing centers around the world. There are
three versions of the test – paper, internet (TOEFL iBT), and computer-based. Some campuses have higher score
requirements, and some may require additional examinations.
At the baccalaureate level, a minimum score of 500 on the paper-based exam or a score of 61 on the internet
(TOEFL iBT) version is required on most campuses.
At the graduate and postbaccalaureate level a minimum score of 550 on the paper-based exam or a score of 80 on
the internet (TOEFL iBT) version is required on most campuses.
If you need to take the TOEFL, we recommend that you take the examination as soon as possible. There are
registration deadlines for the TOEFL, and it does take approximately two - five weeks to obtain your results. Each
campus will have its own minimum score on either the paper TOEFL or on the computer-based TOEFL. You should have
Educational Testing Service (ETS) send your official scores directly to each campus where you are applying for
admission. For information about TOEFL, go to www.toefl.org.
In order to study in the United States as an international student, you must document that you have sufficient
financial resources to complete your course of study. You must prove that you have enough funds to cover all the
costs associated with your first year of full-time study. Each CSU campus determines the typical costs for
international students. This budget includes registration fees, housing, books, other living expenses and
As an international student you will need to have your financial institution provide a certification that you
have at least the amount required available, or that funds are available from a reliable source. International
students should not expect to work to cover the cost of their education in the United States.
Federal/state financial aid is not available for international students. Campus or private scholarships may be
available for international students but are not sufficient to cover all expenses.
The CSU campus will evaluate your high school or secondary school work as part of their admission determination
unless you have completed 60 semester units of transferable college work (generally, two years of study). You are
required to provide all official academic records from any postsecondary institution you have attended and your
secondary or high school records if required.
In the United States, the academic record is often called a "transcript." In other nations, these documents may
be called by another name — such as a leaving certificate, maturity certificate, bachillerato or baccalauréat.
It is very important that your academic records and examination scores be sent as early as possible. The campus
review of your application cannot begin until all of your academic records are received. Official academic records
from foreign institutions must be on file at least eight weeks before registration for the first term and, if not
written in English, must be accompanied by certified English translations. Many campuses require official records
sooner. Contact the campus international admission office to learn about deadlines.
CSU campuses will require you to complete a Health Evaluation Form. Check with the campus for their particular
form. Included on most forms is an immunization history. Be sure your medical doctor or health care provider
includes the day, month, and year of your immunizations. If this information is provided in a language other than
English, then translation is needed.
Medical health insurance is required for international students. Students may be able and may be required to
purchase campus health insurance. Insurance must be obtained before registering for classes. Check with the campus
for more information.
There is a U.S. $55 application fee for international students. This fee must be received when the application
for admission is filed. Your application fee can be paid by international money order or personal check payable in
If you are admitted, you will be required to obtain a student visa to enter the United States.
If the university accepts you, you will be sent an I-20 form. The I-20 verifies
your eligibility for an F-1 student visa. To obtain your F-1 visa, you must take your campus-issued I-20 to an American Consulate or Embassy in your country to apply for
the student visa. We strongly advise you to start your visa process as soon as you receive your I-20. All
embassies and consulates require interview appointments to issue a student visa. Interviews for a visa may take a
long time to schedule. Plan ahead. Bring all important documents with you to the interview. Check with the U.S.
consulate for what is required for the interview.
You cannot make your travel arrangements until you have been issued your visa so the earlier you handle this task
For students who are applying for a student visa for the first time or have been absent from the U.S. for more
than five months, a Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) payment of $100 is required after you receive your I-20 form (F-1 visa) or DS-2019
form (J-1 visa)
and before you schedule an interview at the U.S. Consulate for your visa. Check with the U.S. consulate in your home country for required documents
and procedures for your interview.
When you travel to the U.S., you must have your passport, visa, I-20/DS-2019, I-94,
confirmation of SEVIS payment, and letter of admission. All international visitors and students go through
US-Visit Program where a scanned fingerprint and digital photo is required. You cannot enter until 30 days before
the date on your I-20/DS-2019. You must register at the school that is listed on the I-20/DS-2019.
If you are transferring from another U.S. school, you need to request that the international student advisor at
your current school release your SEVIS record to the campus where you have been admitted. Your new I-20, endorsed
for pending transfer, is createad as soon as the release date for your SEVIS record is reached. Your new I-20 will
be mailed to the address on your application. Once your new campus has confirmed your registration, the transfer
process is complete.