When planning to attend school in the United States, it is important to understand which visa you are requesting. At Bluegrass Community & Technical College, we accept three different visa types: F, M, and J. We also accept visiting students that already possess a visa and I-20 at another University but wish to take a class at BCTC.
To learn more about the visa type that you are requesting and the requirements for each, click the links below.
By definition, a student requesting a F-1 visa is seeking to come to the United States to pursue full-time academic studies or English language training at a government approved institution of higher education. In order to obtain an F-1 visa, a student must first apply to their desired college or university, receive a Form I-20, and schedule an interview with the US Consulate. For a complete checklist of how to become a F-1 student at BCTC, visit our International Student Checklist webpage.
All International Students will need a BCTC I-20 Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant F-1 Student Status, a valid F-1 visa (the visa stamp in your passport) issued by the U.S. embassy/consulate overseas, a valid passport, and your SEVIS fee receipt. To enter the U.S. as an F-1 student, Canadian citizens do not need U.S. visas. Please be advised that you may not enter the U.S. more than 30 days prior to the start date in section 5 on your I-20. When you enter the U.S., you will receive an admission stamp in your passport marked F-1 and D/S (duration of status) or you can access your I-94 electronically (new window).
Once the F-1 student arrives in the United States, they must maintain their legal status. Failure to abide by the rules and regulations set forth by the Federal Regulations and college policies may result in termination of the students' I-20 and possible deportation.
To maintain their legal status, an F-1 student should:
- Obey the laws of the United States.
- Attend the mandatory International Student Orientation on Cooper Campus.
- Attend the college you are authorized to attend. This is the college that issued your I-20.
- Maintain communication with the BCTC PDSO (Primary Designated School Official) concerning any changes that you would like to make concerning your housing, class schedule, etc.
- Be in good academic standing and make progress towards an academic program.
- Extend your I-20 prior to its expiration date if you are unable to complete your academic program by the original expiration date.
- Maintain full-time enrollment during the academic year. A full-time student is a student enrolled in at least 12 credit hours.
- Limit on-campus employment to 20 hours per week during academic year.
- Students should not work off campus without authorization.
- Keep your passport valid at all times. The passport must be valid for at least 6 months into the future on the day you return to the U.S. from a trip abroad.
- If you plan to study abroad, obtain the endorsement signature from the BCTC PDSO or DSO.
- Maintain health insurance coverage.
As a J-1 exchange visitor, you will need a BCTC issued DS-2019 Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitors and a valid J-1 visa (the visa stamp in a passport) issued by the U.S. embassy or consulate to enter the United States. Canadian citizens need a DS-2019 but do not need a U.S. visa. You must also carry the receipt of your paying the SEVIS fee. Please be advised that you may not enter the U.S. more than 30 days prior to the begin date on your DS-2019 and not later than 15 days after the begin date. When you enter the U.S., you will receive an I-94 Arrival/Departure Record card marked J-1 and D/S (duration of status) or you can access your I-94 electronically (new window).
At Bluegrass Community & Technical College, prospective J-1 students must complete a J-1 Request Form and return it to the Office of International Student Services.
The M-1 visa is a non-immigrant visa for international students who wish to pursue a course of study that is not principally academic in nature.
Requirement for a M-1 Visa:
- You have been accepted for a full course of study by a vocational institution approved by the US Citizenship & Immigration Service (USCIS).
- You are sufficiently fluent in English to pursue the intended course of study. This includes meeting the minimum English Proficiency requirement at BCTC.
- You have sufficient funds to cover your first year of study and access to sufficient funds to cover subsequent years of study. You must demonstrate this by completing the Financial Verification Form and supplying sufficient documentation.
- You have a permanent residence in your home country, which you do not intend to abandon.
- You intend to leave the US upon completion of your course of study.
A student who is maintaining valid F-1 status may transfer from one school to another by following the transfer procedures set forth in the regulations. All BCTC students who intend to pursue their bachelor degree will need to officially transfer to a four year school after completion of their course of study at BCTC. SEVIS procedures must be followed.
The transfer process does not require government adjudication. Rather, it is a notification process that takes place as an update event in SEVIS with the active participation of the student, the transfer out school and the transfer in school. The transfer in SEVIS requires the Designated School Official (DSO) to authorize at both the transfer out school and the transfer in school. The student must ask the new school for its Transfer Clearance Form. The student completes the student portion of the form and brings it to the DSO at the old school. The DSO will complete and verify that the student has been in status and eligible to transfer and the release date that the student will be transferred out in SEVIS. The new school can then issue the student a new I-20 from that school and will verify the transfer in SEVIS.
Basic Conditions of Eligibility for F-1 Transfer:
- The student must be maintaining status at the current school.
- The course of study at the new school must begin within 5 months of the end of the course of study at the old school or transfer out date.
- The student must be eligible for an I-20 at the new school.
- The proper transfer procedures must be followed in SEVIS.
Students seeking to transfer in to BCTC must apply as a "Transfer Student" and provide accurate information about their present institution.
Bluegrass Community and Technical College accepts Visiting International Students. A student is considered a Visiting Student if they only wish to enroll in 6 or fewer credit hours at BCTC and are currently enrolled at another institution. The student must maintain their visa status at their home institution. BCTC will not issue a Form I-20 to a Visiting Student.
In order to be accepted as a Visiting International Student, the student must apply online and indicate that they wish to be a "Visiting Student". The ISS office will then require the student to provide a Letter of Good Standing from their home institution and a copy of the student's I-20 and visa.