Students gather in front of the Cascade Buidling

How to Apply for a Student Visa

The visa application process is quite easy. First, you will need to apply for admission to Pierce College. As soon as we receive and approve all of your application documents, we will send you a letter of acceptance to Pierce College and an I-20 form. The I-20 is a U.S. Immigration document that you will need to take for your visa interview.

Contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your home country as soon as possible to make an appointment for a visa interview. Bring your I-20 form, letter of acceptance from Pierce College, previous school records, financial information and any other required documents with you to your interview.

It is important to contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your country early to allow plenty of time for your interview and processing your visa.

For specific information about how to apply for a visa in your home country, see the website.

Typically, the application process includes an interview with a consular official to determine the applicant's purpose of travel to the United States. Most visa interviews are brief (one to two minutes) and are conducted in English, so it is important to be well prepared.

How to Prepare for the Visa Interview

  • Describe why, where and what you plan to study in the U.S. You should also be prepared to discuss how long you intend to stay and study. Have a clear plan.
  • Demonstrate adequate funding to cover tuition and living expenses. For detailed expense information, see the Tuition web page.
  • Explain your intent to return home. Tie it to your specific situation and avoid generalities. Think about what you want to do after your studies, when you are back in your home country. You may be asked to outline what ties you have to your country; for example, a job or offer of a job, business, property or other assets, family, or social ties.

Note: If you will study in the Intensive English Program and this is stated on your I-20, you may request that your interview be conducted in your first language.

Maintaining Visa Status

Students admitted will be non-resident international students. College students must complete a minimum of 12 credit hours each quarter, and IEP students must complete 200 hours of class each quarter. All students must make satisfactory progress. In order to maintain visa status, international students must enroll for three consecutive quarters before they can take a vacation quarter. International students pay non-resident tuition regardless of how long they have lived in Washington State.