• Apply for your visa appointment early! Keep in mind that June, July, and August are the busiest months in most consular sections, and interview appointments are difficult to get during that time. It is important to apply for your visa several months before your travel departure date.

  • In general, all student visa applicants must submit the following documents and fees:

    • A valid passport (valid at least 6 months beyond your intended stay in the U.S.)
    • Form I-20, Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F-1) Student Status (this is the form issued by the Cal Poly International Center)
    • Proof of funds as stated on your I-20.
    • Visa application forms DS-160, DS-156, DS-158, and in some cases, DS-157. Forms are available on the U.S. Department of State Website.
    • Visa application fees (refer to the instructions on the forms for fee amounts)
    • SEVIS I-901 fee. Pay this fee online, print the receipt, and bring it to the visa interview and keep with your I-20 for entry to the USA.

    There may be additional requirements since each U.S. embassy and consulate sets its own interview policies and procedures regarding student visas. Therefore, students should consult embassy web sites or call for specific application instructions. To find the U.S. embassy website in your city, visit http://www.usembassy.gov.

    It is important to remember that applying early and providing the requested documents does not guarantee that the student will receive a student visa. Also, because each student's personal and academic situation is different, two students applying for the same visa may be asked different questions and be required to submit different documents. For that reason, the guidelines listed above are general and can be abridged or expanded by consular officers overseas, depending on each student's situation.

  • Applying to the Program

  • It takes about 2 weeks to review your application. Therefore, you should send in your application 14 to 18 weeks prior to the start of the program to ensure ample time to prepare.

  • You will be notified of the status of your application within 2 weeks.

  • We will use email as our primary form of communication. Check the email that you signed up with regularly for updates

  • All classes are available through Open University provided the following conditions are met:

    • The professor and/or department chair give approval for the student to attend class.
    • The student has proof of having met course prerequisite or has been approved to attend the class if pre-requisites are required.
    • The student will not be taking a seat from a registered student at the university.

  • VISIT program students do not qualify for financial aid from Cal Poly.

  • Yes. The International Center offers international student orientation at the beginning of each quarter. To view more information regarding orientation visit the New International Students page and scroll down to Quarterly Orientation Sessions for New International Students.

  • First, find at least 8 classes you are interested in by browsing the class list on the public class schedule, which is accessible to those who do not have a Cal Poly username and password.

    Navigate the public class schedule to find the term and use the different filters to show results. Then share the class descriptions with your college's advising center, who will determine if the Cal Poly classes you are interested in taking will substitute for classes at your home university.

  • Cal Poly exercises great care selecting knowledgeable and competent instructors. We make no guarantees, expressed or implied that classroom instruction will result in specific gain. We cannot be held responsible for any loss, material or otherwise, incurred while following an instructor's directions. EPaCE is not responsible for any personal property left behind. Students take courses at their own risk.

    EPaCE is not responsible for typographical or pictorial errors on our website or in any printed material that we may distribute. We reserve the right to correct all printed/web errors. Any typographical error related to any course or policy listed on our website will be corrected through a retraction posted in the applicable area.

  • All international students from non-English speaking countries registering must present a TOEFL score of 550 or higher (using the paper version) or 213 or higher (using the computer version) or 80 or higher (using the internet version). An average IELTS score of 7.0 is required for undergrads and 6.0 for graduate students.

  • Student Life

  • For quick facts including the student to faculty ratio check out the Cal Poly Quick Facts page.

  • All professors are required to hold office hours, and we highly recommend taking advantage of them to get extra help. Individual colleges and outside entities offer tutoring services as well. Here is a list of free campus tutoring services available:

  • Yes. There are many programs and clubs for international students to get connected to the community. Learn more about the Welcome Ambassadors Program, Poly Hosts, Cal Poly Clubs, Cal Poly Events, Student Diversity & Belonging, Student Life & Leadership by visiting the International Student and Scholars website.

  • As a Cal Poly student you will have access to all ASI run recreation facilities. Visit the ASI website for more information about facilities, equipment, and activities.

  • Yes. A California driver's license can be obtained at the San Luis Obispo Department of Motor Vehicles. Visit the California DMV website for more information. See the International Center Transportation page for more information.

  • On-campus employment may be possible. Off-campus work is restricted. Contact the International Student Advisor, Judy Mitchell, at jumitche@calpoly.edu for specific information about your visa status. Visit the Work Authorization page for more information.

  • Housing

  • The SLO Transit bus system is a convenient way for all Cal Poly students to travel within the San Luis Obispo city limits. Your PolyCard allows you to ride SLO Transit buses for free. The Regional Transit Authority (RTA) has buses that travel between cities within San Luis Obispo County, but your PolyCard will not give you free access to these routes. To view the SLO Transit bus schedule and map, click here.

  • Single rooms are available; however they are more expensive and limited in number. Visit the Housing website for more information.

  • Requirements

  • Yes, it is required for the student to purchase the Cal Poly International Student Health Insurance Plan. For more information, visit the Health Insurance and Immunizations page.

  • Students should have their current passport with their current visa stamp inside as well as current I-20 (for F-1 students) or DS-2019 Form (for J-1 students). Proof of I-901 SEVIS Fee Payment is also good to have. If you are Canadian, you will not have a visa stamp in your passport, but you will need to show your proof of funds along with the other documents including the I-901 receipt.

  • F-1 and J-1 students in the VISIT program may only study at Cal Poly and must maintain a full course load (12 units for undergrads and 8 units for grad students) to keep their visa valid. Students may only work on campus. See the F-1 Responsibilities and Benefits page for more details or the J-1 Responsibilities and Benefits page.