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. These students already have 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
- Pursue English language training at a government-approved institution of higher education
To get an F-1 visa, a student must first:
- Apply to their desired college or university
- Receive a Form I-20
- 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
- A SEVIS fee receipt
To enter the U.S. as an F-1 student, Canadian citizens do not need U.S. visas. However, 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. You will also have the 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 & regulations set forth by the Federal Regulations and college policies has consequences. This may result in the termination of your 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.
- 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). This includes any changes that you would like to make to 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 can't complete your academic program by the original end date, you'll need to extend.
- 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 six
months into the future when you return to the U.S.
- For example, if you return from your trip abroad in June, your passport must be valid through December.
- 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, to enter the United States you will need:
- A BCTC-issued DS-2019 Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitors
- A valid J-1 visa (the visa stamp in a passport) issued by the U.S. embassy or consulate
Canadian citizens need a DS-2019 but do not need a U.S. visa. You may not enter the U.S. more than 30 days before the begin date on your DS-2019. You may not enter the U.S. later than 15 days after the begin date. When you enter the U.S., you will receive an I-94 Arrival/Departure Record card. It will be 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. Please return the completed form to the Office of International Student Services. Important documents for International Students can be found on the International Student Services webpage.
The M-1 visa is a non-immigrant visa for international students. It is for those who wish to pursue a course of study that is not academic in nature.
Requirement for a M-1 Visa:
- You are attending a full course of study by a vocational institution. The institution has to be approved by 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. You also have access to sufficient funds to cover subsequent years of study. You must demonstrate this by completing the Financial Verification Form and supplying 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 maintains a valid F-1 status may transfer from one school to another. They must follow the transfer procedures set forth in the regulations. All students who plan to pursue their bachelor's degree will need to transfer to a four-year school after BCTC. SEVIS procedures must be followed.
The transfer process does not require government adjudication.
It is a notification process that takes place as an update event in SEVIS. Who plays an active role in the process? You (the student), the transfer-out school, and the transfer-in school.
The transfer in SEVIS requires the Designated School Official (DSO) to:
- Authorize the transfer-out school
- Authorize the transfer-in school
You must ask the new school for its Transfer Clearance Form. You'll complete the student portion of the form and bring it to the DSO at the old school. The DSO will complete and verify that you have been in status and are eligible to transfer. The DSO will also verify your SEVIS transfer release date. The new school can then issue you 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 maintain status at the current school.
- The course of study at the new school must begin within five 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". You'll need to provide accurate information about your current school.
Bluegrass Community and Technical College accepts Visiting International Students.
You are a Visiting Student if you:
- Only wish to enroll in 6 or fewer credit hours at BCTC
- 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.
To be a Visiting International Student, you must apply online and indicate that you wish to be a "Visiting Student".
The ISS office will then need you to provide:
- A Letter of Good Standing from your home institution
- A copy of your I-20 and visa.