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International Students

If you are a student who needs an I-20 in order to apply for an F-1 Student Visa to legally study in the US, then you're identified as an international student.

The International Student Office is here to help you from the time you apply through graduation.

Coming to the US to study on an F-1 visa can be confusing. We are here to help with that!

All international students must be familiar with and follow the policies and procedures that keep them in status with federal regulations governing their presence in the US. Study in the States is a great resource for those interested in attending a US college or university, as well as for those who are currently studying with a student visa.

Important Information

Requirements to Study in the United States

Getting a visa to study in the United States can be a long process. Here is how it works:

  1. Apply to Ensign College and get accepted.   See Admissions Requirements Here
  2. Apply for an I-20. Once you get your acceptance letter, you need what’s called an I-20, which proves your acceptance to school and allows you to apply for a visa. We will send you an email with detailed instructions for this process. You will need these things:
    • Valid passport: The passport must be valid for at least 6 months after your start date at Ensign College.
    • Proof of Financial Support: You need to show that you can pay the minimum Cost of Attendance . This can be a personal bank statement, an affidavit of support and bank statement from a sponsor, or a combination of both.
    • International deposit: This money will support you while you get settled and begin your studies. The deposit is US$5,000 for members of the Church and US$7,500 for non-Church members.
    • SEVIS Fee: Once you receive your I-20 from Ensign College, pay the SEVIS fee (I-901).
  3. After receiving your I-20, you must obtain an F-1 visa from a US embassy or consulate in your country to travel to a US port of entry. (Canadian citizens entering from Canada are not required to have a visa, but must show their Form I-20 and proof of Canadian citizenship.)
  4. Schedule an F-1 Visa interview with the US Embassy or Consulate in your home country. There is a fee (US$185) for this interview.
  5. If you are approved for a visa, the Embassy will issue it to you.

    View More Visa Information

  • Toggle Item
    Can I bring my family?
    If you would like to bring your family while you're studying, they will need to apply for F-2 visas. This visa is limited to the immediate family (spouse and children) of those who have an F-1. An additional $2,000 must be added to the Affidavit of Support/bank statement for each dependent.

    The F-2 visa allows your family to reside in the US. However, they cannot work or attend college full-time (full-time elementary or secondary school is allowed).
  • Toggle Item
    I am in the U.S. on an F-2 visa. Can I attend Ensign College?
    If you are an F-2 (a dependent of an F-1), you can study at Ensign College following the SEVP regulations, which are that the student under F-2 is only allowed to enroll in fewer than 11 credits. You will not be permitted to work on or off campus.

Your Pre-College Checklist

Once you've been admitted to Ensign College, it's time to get ready. Make sure you take care of the things listed below.

  1. Traveling to the US: Plan your travel in advance!
    • You will not be able to enter the US with your F-1 visa more than 30 days before the start date listed on your I-20. The start date for Ensign College is the first day of class.
    • Bring your passport and Form I-20. It is also recommended to keep proof of your financial documents and your SEVIS Fee payment with you when you travel.
  2. Registration: To ensure you get classes at convenient times, we encourage you to register early!
    • A full course load is 12 credits each semester, with 9 of the 12 credits being in-person classes.
    • Register using College Scheduler.
    • If you have questions about registration, please contact Enrollment Services at or 801-524-8140 Monday through Friday from 8 am-5 pm.
  3. Money: You will want to make sure your funds are available to you in the US when you arrive.
    • College scholarships are limited. All questions should be forwarded to the Scholarship Office. International students should not expect to finance studies through employment or scholarships. Your sponsor is the designated person to help with finances.

Welcome to Ensign College!

We are thrilled that you have chosen to pursue your studies with us. As you begin your first semester, here are a few things you need to be aware of.

  1. International Student Check-In

    As an international student, you are REQUIRED to do the International Student Check-In online at Ensign International within 5 days of the start of your first semester. (This includes transfer students.)

    We need all the documentation that is included in the Check-In to register your I-20 with SEVP. If we do not have the documents in time, your I-20 could be terminated.

     What you need to check-in:

    • A copy of your F-1 Visa
    • All three pages of your signed I-20 from Ensign College
    • Your most recent I-94 entered on your F-1 Visa
    • Your US mailing address

      • Please note that if you move while attending Ensign College, you will need to update your address within ten days of your move
    • If you have dependents, you will need to upload all their documents as well, including dependents' passports.
  2. Tuberculosis (TB) Test

    • All international students (with the exception of Canadian Nationals) must be tested for Tuberculosis (TB) AFTER entering the United States. The TB test must be negative, and the results must be sent to the International Student Office.
    • You cannot register for your second semester until a negative test result is submitted to the International Student Office.
    • If you transferred to Ensign College and have recently taken the Tuberculosis Test in the US, please send a copy to the International Student Office. The test will only be accepted if you have not left the country for more than 5 months since the test was taken.
    • If you get a positive test result, you will need to get a blood test. If the blood test is still positive, a Chest X-Ray will be necessary. You will need to complete any prescribed treatment.

TB Testing Cost and Locations

Maintaining your F-1 Student Status

Maintaining your international student status is essential for your success at Ensign College. Here's some tips:

To stay in status:

  • Check your email every day
  • Maintain a valid passport at all times
  • Enroll full-time (12 or more credits) each semester and make sure you have at least 9 in-person credits
  • Only engage in authorized employment
  • Successfully progress toward completing your program within the established time-frame and maintain a 2.0 Grade Point Average (GPA)
  • Apply for changes, such as transfers, in a timely manner (allow 2 business days for processing)

If an international student chooses to engage in status-violating activities, the procedures and regulations established by law must be enforced and a student’s I-20 will be terminated.

Travel Endorsement: A travel endorsement is a signature on the second page of your I-20 from a Designated School Official (DSO) in the International Student Office. The signature serves as confirmation that you are maintaining F-1 status. A valid travel endorsement is required for re-entry to the U.S., and is valid for one year.

Annual Vacation Semester: Please complete the Annual Vacation Application at Ensign International and receive approval before taking a vacation. Be aware that you cannot enroll in online classes if you leave the US for your annual vacation semester.

Between-semester breaks, such as Christmas and summer break, are separate from annual vacations. You must have specific permission to work during a school break. You may not work more than 20 hours a week during classes.

Changing Programs: During your academic journey, you might decide to change degrees. This needs to be processed the semester before you start the new program. If you are changing from an associate degree to a bachelor’s degree, you will need to provide new financial support for four years due to the time you are adding to your program.

Program Extensions: If your I-20 is about to expire and you have not finished your program requirements, you will need an I-20 extension. Program extensions are carefully examined. Extensions are granted only when extra time is required to finish your program due to a change in degree or other extenuating circumstances. We strongly encourage you to meet with your academic advisor each semester to ensure you're on track to complete program requirements in a timely manner.

An international student who has not made satisfactory academic progress is not eligible for an extension.

To apply for an extension, please complete this form .

Employment: Your are expected to pay for educational and living expenses without employment. However, if you would like a job, international students are only allowed to work part-time (no more than 20 hours per week) on-campus at:

  • Ensign College Building
  • BYU Pathway Worldwide
  • Global Service Department (GSD)

If you are unsure whether the employment offer you received is on-campus, please contact the International Office. The consequence of unauthorized employment is termination of your I-20.

Filing Taxes: International students are taxed as non-resident aliens, which means they are taxed only on US-source income. You must file a tax return if you were in the US during the previous calendar year, whether you earned income or not.

During the Winter Semester, we provide a workshop hosted by BYU to help students fill out their tax forms.

Disclaimer: DSOs are not tax specialists and cannot advise on tax matters or help complete tax forms.

Things to Know For Your Final Semester

You’re so close to finishing! Below is information you might find useful for your last semester, and your plans after graduation.

Credit Requirement: At the end of your studies, you may not need 12 credits to meet your graduation requirement. In your last semester, you can apply for a Reduced Course Load (RCL).

To Apply:

  • Fill out an RCL form
  • Have your Student Success Advisor sign it
  • You or your advisor will return it to the ISO where it will be reviewed
  • The ISO will email if approved or denied
  • If approved, a new I-20 will be created for you with the RCL

Plans After Graduation:

  1. Return Home/Exit the US: After completing your program, you are granted 60 days in the US to make your arrangements to return home.
  2. Transferring: If you are planning to transfer to another school, you must notify the International Student Office by completing the SEVIS Record of Transfer Form located on  Ensign International. You have 60 days from the last day of your final semester to transfer your record.

    Upload a copy of the acceptance letter from the school you are transferring to. The ISO will transfer your SEVIS record on the date requested on the application. Transfer Outs will be processed only when an international student has maintained his/her status.

    You may remain in the United States for up to five months while transferring. This is calculated from the last day you attend Ensign College to the first day at the school you transfer to. If that time period exceeds 5 months, the SEVIS record cannot be transferred.

  3. Applying for OPT: Optional Practical Training (OPT) is work permission available to F-1 students once they graduate. The purpose is to give students more real-world experience in their major of study. If you are interested in OPT, please contact the International Student office for more information.

Have Questions? Want to Talk to Someone?

Feel free to contact the International Student Office.


Phone: 801-524-8142

WhatsApp: 385-235-1098

Have a question? Our Virtual Assistant may be able to help.

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