International Frequently Asked Questions

We know that international students have additional processes to go through during the application process. How can we help?

What is the international student tuition? [back to top]
There is no difference in tuition for international students - domestic and international students pay the same tuition rate. Visit our Graduate Business Program Comparison page for current tuition by program. 

What resources does Saint Mary’s have for international students? [back to top]
The Center for International Programs (CIP) is ready to assist international students with questions about study abroad, international student visas, insurance coverage, International Club membership, Global Living and Learning Community placement and much more.

CIP is the home for international students at Saint Mary's and is the first stop that international students make on campus. CIP staff assists students with a variety of needs including immigration and visa advisement, academic advisement, and adjustment to campus life. The CIP provides an interactive orientation program, academic counseling, tutorial services, and social and intercultural communication programs. As home for the SMC International Club, the Center is the place to gather and meet students from a number of countries.

For further information, please visit the CIP webpage or Susie Miller-Reid at or (925) 631-4352.

What travel documents and passports do I need? [back to top]
The Certificate of Eligibility, either Form I-20 or Form DS-2019, is required when applying for the appropriate visa for entry to the United States. Your Certificate of Eligibility indicates the latest date by which you should report to Saint Mary’s College, usually the first day of Orientation. If you want off-campus housing, we recommend arriving earlier to allow enough time for you to locate suitable accommodations before Orientation and registration activities begin. Unless you are a Canadian citizen, you must obtain a passport and a visa before you will be permitted to enter the United States. (Canadian citizens should see the special section that pertains to them).

You must have a passport valid for travel to the United States and with a validity date for at least six months after your proposed date of entry into the United States.

When should I apply for a visa? [back to top]
You should apply for your student visa well in advance of the date you would like to depart for Saint Mary’s College. Remember that you are required to show proof of having paid the new Federal SEVIS Fee when you appear for your visa interview. Holiday periods are very busy times at the US embassies and consulates world wide, and it is important for you to have your visa in time to arrive and begin orientation and registration activities. Appointments are now mandatory for all student visas, and some U.S. embassies and consulates require that appointments be made at least four to eight weeks in advance. All U.S. embassies and consulates provide the latest information on visa procedures.

What if my visa is denied or delayed? [back to top]
The visa officer must verbally inform you of the reason for the visa denial. If your visa is denied, please send us an e-mail and provide the date and location of your visa interview, and details regarding the reason given by the visa officer for the denial.
Much more common than a visa denial is a visa delay. The U.S. Department of State requires that all applicants for non-immigrant visas be interviewed. This policy has created delays at visa issuing posts around the world. This is why it is so important to apply for your visa EARLY!

What are the SEVIS requirements? [back to top]
Visa officials are required to verify your record in the SEVIS system before a visa can be approved. This is also true for any dependents. If the visa official is unable to access your record in SEVIS and you have a SEVIS I-20 or DS 2019, please contact the CIP by email, phone or fax to alert us to the problem.
The SEVIS I-901 fee is U.S. $200 and must be paid before your visa appointment. Make sure to keep your fee receipt. You will need to show this receipt during your visa interview.

What if I am currently in the United States? [back to top]
F-1 and J-1 Students:
If you already have valid F-1 student or J-1 student status by being enrolled at another school, college or university in the United States, by now you have already completed the required Transfer Verification Form and requested that the international student advisor at your current school release your SEVIS record to Saint Mary’s College. Your new Saint Mary’s College I-20 or DS-2019, endorsed for pending transfer, is mailed to you as soon as the release date for your SEVIS record (as determined by your previous school) is reached. Once you are enrolled at Saint Mary’s College and we have confirmed your registration, the transfer process will be completed. If you are in F-1 status, a new I-20 will be issued to you. Be sure to report to the Center for International Programs as soon as possible after your arrival.

All Other Non-Immigrant Visa Classifications:
If you are currently in the U.S. in a visa classification other than F-1 or J-1, you should contact the Center for International Programs for information. 

Do I need health insurance? [back to top]
Health insurance is mandatory for all international students, and unless a waiver of enrollment is completed, students will automatically be enrolled in the College's insurance plan. The program is designed to provide minor as well as major medical services in the event of illness or accident. For more information, visit the CIP's health insurance website.

Can I apply for financial aid or scholarships? [back to top]
International students are not eligible for the federal financial aid, but they are welcome to apply for the Saint Mary’s College scholarships. For more information on available scholarships and requirements, please visit our Scholarships page.