New Students

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New I-20 Students


STEP 1: Admission for New Students

Entry Semester Semester Begins Deadline

The following documents are required for admission to MCC and an I-20. TOEFL is not required for admission.

  1. International Application - 1.0179App (PDF)
  2. $50 USD non-refundable application fee.
  3. Official or Attested Secondary School Transcripts (accompanied by an official English line-by-line translation if originals are not in English).
  4. Affidavit of Support - Affidavit of Support (PDF)
  5. Bank statement or bank letter verifying s/he has at least $16,500 USD for student's education. The bank statement must be less than 6 months old and show the sponsor's full name.
  6. Affidavit of Room and Board (if applicable) - Affidavit of Room and Board (PDF)
  7. Copy of the identification page of the student's passport.

Send documents to:


MCC-Penn Valley
International Coordinator SEC012
3201 SW Trafficway
Kansas City, MO 64111




Documents can be scanned and sent via e-mail to

STEP 2: Verify I-20 Information and Apply for the SEVIS Fee

Before paying the SEVIS fee, review the information that appears on your Form I-20. If any information on your form is incorrect, please contact us immediately using the contact information provided in the cover letter.

The spelling of your name on all U.S. visa and immigration documents must be exactly the same as the spelling of your name in your passport. The same is true for dependents. If your name and/or date of birth on Form I-20 is not exactly the same as the information in the passport, please request a corrected document.

If all information is correct, sign and date the I-20 on line 11.


F-1 students are required to pay a fee to the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). Go to for detailed information. Please follow the steps below when paying the SEVIS fee:

  1. Sign and date the I-20.
  2. If paying by credit card on-line, submit SEVIS fee at least 3 days before your interview. Print receipt and bring to the interview.
  3. If paying by U.S. check/ money order/ foreign draft by mail, Form I-797 receipt will arrive via mail. Bring receipt to the interview.Be sure to allow enough time for immigration to process the fee and return receipt by mail (approximately 3 weeks).
  4. Make visa appointment with U.S. Embassy/Consulate office abroad (excluding citizens from Canada). Explain you need an "expedited" student interview. Go to
  5. If paying by Western Union Quick Pay, go to to locate the office closest to you. Submit the SEVIS fee payment at least 3 days before the interview. Obtain SEVIS fee payment receipt from Western Union and bring to the interview.
  6. Report to U.S. Embassy/consulate for visa interview. You cannot pay the SEVIS fee at the Consulate.

If the F-1 visa application is denited the SEVIS fee will not be refunded. However, if you reapply for a new visa within 12 months of the denial, you will not have to pay the fee again.

Students from Canada, Bermuda, or contiguous islands are required to pay the fee.

Help with fee payment issues

If you are having a problem with the SEVIS fee payment process please visit the following website:

STEP 3: Apply for the Visa

What is a Visa?

A visa is an official document issued by a consulate overseas allowing a foreign national to apply for admission into the United States. Students should obtain an F1 visa. Having a visa in the passport is not an automatic guarantee that you will be admitted into the U.S. in that status. A visa is like an invitation that allows you to apply for admission into the U.S. in a particular immigration status. Without the right visa, you will not be admitted in that status.

Visa example

Citizens of all countries except Canada are required to have an F1 visa in their passports if they are to enter the U.S. in student status. A good resource that provides basic information about student visas is

How to Apply

There are several steps to apply for a visa. The order of these steps and how you complete them may vary at the U.S. embassy or consulate where you apply. Please consult the instructions available on the embassy or consulate website where you intend to apply. [learn more]

  • Complete the Online Visa Application
  • Photo –You will upload your photo while completing the online Form DS-160. Your photo must be in the format explained in the Photograph Requirements.

Schedule an Interview

While interviews are generally not required for applicants of certain ages outlined below, consular officers have the discretion to require an interview of any applicant, regardless of age.

You must schedule an appointment for your visa interview, generally, at the U.S. embassy or consulate in the country where you live. You may schedule your interview at any U.S. embassy or consulate, but be aware that it may be difficult to qualify for a visa outside of your place of permanent residence. [learn more]

Wait times for interview appointments vary by location, season, and visa category, so you should apply for your visa early. Review the interview wait time for the location where you will apply.

New Students – F-1 and M-1 student visas can be issued up to 120 days in advance of your course of study start date. However, you will not be allowed to enter the U.S. in F-1 or M-1 status earlier than 30 days before your start date.

Prepare for Your Interview

  • Fees - Pay the non-refundable visa application fee, if you are required to pay it before your interview. For current fees for Department of State government services select Fees. When your visa is approved, you may also pay a visa issuance reciprocity fee, if applicable to your nationality. Please review theVisa Reciprocity Tables to find out if you must pay a visa issuance fee.
  • Review the instructions available on the website of theembassy or consulate where you will apply to learn more about fee payment.

Gather Required Documentation

Gather and prepare the following required documents before your visa interview:>

  • Passport valid for travel to the U. S. - Your passport must be valid for at least six months beyond your period of stay in the U. S. (unless exempt bycountry-specific agreements. If more than one person is included in your passport, each person who needs a visa must submit a separate application.
  • Nonimmigrant Visa Application, Form DS-160 confirmation page Application fee payment receipt , if you are required to pay before your interview.
  • Photo – You will upload your photo while completing the online Form DS-160. If thephoto upload fails, you must bring one printed photo in the format explained in thePhotograph Requirements .
  • Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F-1) Student Status-For Academic and Language Students, Form I-20A-B or Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (M-1) Student Status for Vocational Students, Form I-20M-N – Your school will send you a SEVIS-generated Form I-20 once they have entered your information in the SEVIS database. You and your school official must sign the Form I-20. All students, their spouse and minor children if they intend to reside in the United States with the student, must be registered in the Student and Exchange Visitor System (SEVIS). Each person receives an individual Form I-20.

Additional Documentation May Be Required [learn more]

Review the instructions for how to apply for a visa on the website of theembassy or consulate where you will apply. Additional documents may be requested to establish that you are qualified. For example, additional requested documents may include evidence of:

  • Your academic preparation
  • Your intent to depart the U.S. upon completion of the course of study; and
  • How you will pay all educational, living and travel costs.

Attend Your Visa Interview

During your visa interview, a consular officer will determine whether you are qualified to receive a visa, and if so, which visa category is appropriate based on your purpose of travel. You will need to establish that you meet the requirements under U.S. law to receive the category of visa for which you are applying.

Ink-free, digital fingerprint scans will be taken as part of your application process. They are usually taken during your interview, but this varies based on location.

After your visa interview, your application may require furtheradministrative processing . You will be informed by the consular officer if further processing is necessary for your application.

When the visa is approved, you may pay a visa issuance fee if applicable to your nationality, and will be informed how your passport with visa will be returned to you. Review thevisa processing time , to learn how soon your passport with visa will generally be ready for pick-up or delivery by the courier.

Additional Information

  • We cannot guarantee that you will be issued a visa. Do not make final travel plans or buy tickets until you have a visa.
  • For information about employment, reviewStudents and Employment andForm I-765 Work Authorization Instructions on the USCIS website.
  • Students who are outside the United States, and who have not been attending classes for five (5) months or more, should apply for a new student visa to reenter the United States.Learn more.
  • All visa applicants applying for renewals must submit:
    • All items listed in the Required Documentation section and;
    • A new I-20 or an I-20 that has been endorsed on the back by a school official within the past 12 months  
  • Unless canceled or revoked, a visa is valid until its expiration date. Therefore, a valid U.S. visa in an expired passport is still valid. If you have a valid visa in your expired passport, do not remove it from your expired passport. You may use your valid visa in your expired passport along with a new valid passport for travel and admission to the United States.

Spouse and children

  • Your spouse and unmarried, minor children who intend to reside with you during your study may apply for F-2 or M-2 visas. Your school must issue them an individual Form I-20, which is required to apply for their visas. You must provide a copy of your F-1 or M-1 visa and provide proof of relationship.
  • Your minor children are permitted to attend school in the United States while accompanying you.

The Visa Interview

10 Points to Remember When Applying For a Nonimmigrant Visa - (PDF)

All applicants for a student visa are required to be interviewed. Typically these are very short and the consular officer will take your pictures and fingerprints digitally. During the interview, you must make a good impression. Be positive and respond to the questions with clear, concise answers. Be prepared to discuss the following: [learn more]

  • If your wife and children will remain in your country explain how they will support themselves in your absence
  • Why you chose to study at a community college; why MCC?
  • What your academic plans are
  • What you plan to do after your studies
  • Proving Nonimmigrant Intent

You must establish to the satisfaction of the U.S. consular officer that your ties to your home country are stronger than your ties to the U.S.

If you are fortunate, you may not be asked to provide any particular documentation to establish that you intend to return home. It may be sufficient for you to say, if asked, that you plan to return to your country to work, to continue your studies, or to do whatever you plan to do when you return home. However, many people applying for student visas (F) are asked to establish their ties to their home country and their intention to return.

Below are some questions to help you decide if you should make a special effort to prove your "nonimmigrant intent." The more questions to which you respond with the answer "yes," the more important it will likely be for you to make a special effort to prove your intent to return home after your activities in the U.S.

  • Is it difficult to obtain either tourist or F-1 visas in your country?
  • Are a significant percentage of F visa applications denied by the U.S. consulate in your country?
  • Are one or more members of your immediate family (mother, father, brother, sister, spouse, or child) living in the U.S.?
  • Are your spouse and children accompanying you to the U.S.?
  • Are one or more of your immediate relatives legal permanent residents of?
  • Is this your first trip to the United States?
  • Have you ever been denied a visa to come to the U.S.?

If, based upon your answers to these questions, you believe you should make a special effort to prove that you intend to return home, the following factors may be taken into consideration:

Financial Ties

If you own property or have financial investments in your country, documenting them may help prove you have strong financial ties. To prove this, you may not use any assets that will be needed to pay for your F-1 activities. You will need to prove the availability of that financial support separately in order to meet the minimum requirements for the visa.

Documents to Submit: Official papers proving property ownership, copies of investment statements or certificates, a letter or financial statement from your bank or accountant.

Family Ties

If all members of your immediate family live in your country, the U.S. Consular officer may understand that you have strong family ties to that country. If you are your parents' oldest child or only child, the Consular officer may believe that you are more likely to return home because of that fact. If one or both of your parents are not in good health, this is another reason you might be expected to return home.

Documents to Submit: Copies of official documents proving family relationships and residence of each family member, letters from physicians explaining important medical conditions of one or both parents.

Employment Ties

If you will be employed full-time upon your return, this indicates strong employment ties to your country. The "higher" your job is in terms of prestige, importance and salary, the stronger your employment ties.

Documents to Submit: A letter from your current employer stating that you will resume your work with them after your time in the U.S., a letter from a prospective employer stating that a position will be offered to you upon your return. The best letter is one that guarantees a job upon your return and states how important your U.S. activities will be for the type of work the employer wants you to do upon your return.

Why you Selected a Community College

You need to be able to explain why you chose to attend a community college. Reasons can include the tuition savings for your family, the specific program you want to study or the Intensive English Program that is available. If you plan to transfer to a four-year university, clearly explain how the 2-year degree transfers to the next school.

Documents to submit: School Catalog, Intensive English Program Information, Articulation Agreements. Show school is accredited.

Your Visa and Immigration History

If you have visited other countries and returned to your country after those visits, you have demonstrated a pattern of behavior that may lead the U.S. Consular Officer to believe that you will return home after your time in the U.S. The more trips you have made, the better your situation.

Documents to submit: Current and/or previous passports containing entry and exit stamps from your country to other countries, other official documents indicating departure and return.

Visa Denials

There are 3 outcomes from the visa interview.

  • Approval
  • Denial - Applicant receives denial letter immediately with explanation
  • Pending - Some kind of clearance or additional information is necessary - a letter is given to the applicant

Go to for more information. If you receive a letter, please fax the letter to 816.759.4083 so we can help you decide to reapply or collect the additional information the consular officer has requested. The U.S. Consulate in Beijing provides a practical overview of what it means to be denied based on non-immigrant intent. Go to for details.

Special Situations

Special visa processing is required for citizens of North Korea, Cuba, Syria, Sudan, Iran, Iraq and Libya.

STEP 4: Travel to the U.S.

You must arrive in the United States at least by the date indicated on your Form I-20. You may arrive in the United States as early as 30 days prior to the official arrival date indicated on your I-20.

Travel Tips


  1. Reconfirm your flight at least three days before leaving your country.
  2. To reduce jetlag, drink plenty of non-alcoholic fluids on the plane and get some rest.
  3. Carry your money, passport, immigration documents, and important documents with you on the plane. Do not pack these items in your luggage. You should have at least $1,500 in Travelers Checks when you arrive to cover initial expenses such as taxi or bus fare, meals, first rent installment, books and supplies. Bank drafts, other than negotiable Travelers Checks will take one or two weeks to clear.
  4. Never carry a large amount of cash.
  5. If you need help, ask an airport employee.
  6. Never leave your luggage unattended.
  7. Be cooperative, patient and courteous when waiting in travel lines (queues).

Airport Status Information is available at

Entering the US - What to do at the U.S. Port of Entry

Be ready to present your passport, visa, your I-20 and supporting documentation. You will be given a Form I-94 to complete either before your arrival or upon arrival in the United States.

What is an I-94 Arrival/Departure Record?

The I-94 card is a small white card that international visitors receive when they enter the U.S. It contains a unique eleven-digit number in the upper left hand corner, the name of the individual admitted, their birth date, citizenship, date of admission, and the immigration status given at the port of entry. This document is used to determine how long a foreign national is allowed to remain in the U.S. Most foreign nationals have an expiration date written on the I-94 that represents the last day they are authorized to be in the U.S. Students in F-1 status and their dependents, who hold F-2 status, are admitted as D/S (Duration of Status). The I-94 card should be attached to your passport.

  1. I-94 card number
  2. Legal Status
  3. Expiration date
  4. Annotation of sponsoring institution (if any)

The top portion of the form I-94 will be kept by immigration, and the bottom portion will be stamped and returned to you. This portion should be stamped F-1 and the letters D/S should be written next to the stamp. Your Form I-20 should also be stamped.

If the bottom portion of Form I-94 is not returned to you, or if a specific expiration date is instead of D/S, please ask the immigration inspector for clarification. Do not leave the immigration area at the port of entry unless your documents are in order; if there is a problem, it is much easier to take care of it before you leave the Immigration area. Keep your portion of the I-94 with your passport. More information is available at


US-VISIT is a part of the new immigration system that will be used to track millions of visitors to the United States. All students are required to go through the screening process, which includes a digital photograph and electronic fingerprints. For more information go to U.S. Visit Program.

Additional Information

If you are issued an I-515A at the port of entry, you have 30 days to fix your immigration status. Bring the information to the International Office. We will help you mail the necessary documents to:

Attn: Form I-515A Processing Team
Chester Arthur Building
425 I Street NW Suite 6034
Washington DC 20536
Fax 1.202.353.4625

Transportation from the Airport

The Kansas City International Airport is located approximately 45 minutes from the college. Please note that MCC does not provide airport pickup.

For more airport information or for ground transport information visit the Kansas City International Airport online at

To reach a hotel, you can take a cab (taxi) from the airport. It costs approximately $30 to $40 USD, plus gratuity (tip).

You can also take the KCI Shuttle (bus) Tel: 816.243.5000

Cost for ONE WAY transportation on a KCI Shuttle (bus) is approximately $14.00 USD plus gratuity. All Major Credit Cards, Cash and International Travelers Checks are accepted.

Directions to MCC from Kansas City International Airport

To drive from KCI to MCC travel:

I-29 South to I- 169 South
Go over the Broadway Bridge
Take I-35 South
Broadway Exit (left exit)
Go South on Broadway until stoplight at Linwood.
Go Right on Linwood for two blocks.
Pull into MCC parking lot on right-hand side.

Check in with the Registrar located on the 2nd floor of the Campus Center Building.

Housing Options

You should plan on arriving in Kansas City at least a week or two before classes start in order to find suitable living accommodations and to make the necessary rental and transportation arrangements.

Short-Term: Motel & Hotel Options

If you need temporary lodging, there are hotels located near campus.

Quarterage Hotel at Westport
Tel: 816.931.0001
560 Westport Road, Kansas City, MO
Holiday Inn Express-Westport/Plaza
Tel: 816.931.1000
801 Westport Road, Kansas City, MO
Embassy Suites
Tel: 816.756.1720
220 W. 43rd Street, Kansas City, MO
Rodeway Inn
Tel: 816.531.9250
3240 Broadway, Kansas City, MO

STEP 5: Housing

MCC does not have college dormitories. You must make your own housing arrangements.

Rooms in private residences

Apartments/ townhomes/ condominiums can be rented by yourself or shared by multiple students depending on the lease options of the apartment complex. It is reasonable to expect off-campus housing to cost between $350 to $800 per month, depending on the number of people sharing the expenses which include monthly rent and utilities (water, phone, electricity, gas, trash, cable etc.). A security deposit (usually one month's rent) is also required for most off-campus housing. In addition, utility companies (phone, electricity, etc.) may require deposits in advance as well.

The Homestay Program is coordinated by the Applied Language Institute You can stay with an American family, which helps improve your English outside the classroom. The cost is $500.00 per month (includes breakfast and dinner). There is an Application fee of $50.00 USD. For an application please contact Fran Golden at

The HomeSharing Program through Shepard's Center of KC Central matches people in need of low-cost housing with older adults who can provide a private bedroom in their home in exchange for rent.


You may also search Internet-based apartment search engines such as or, or the classified advertising section of the local newspaper The Kansas City Star, is another free resource to find housing. Each city on the website is broken down into neighborhoods, highlighting pricing, noise level, nearby attractions, restaurants, shopping, etc.

Penn Valley Apartments are owned by a private business next to the campus. The studio apartments are $450 per month for MCC students. This does not include utilities. There is a laundry facility in the basement. For rental information, contact Gladstone Partners at 816.332.6139 or E-mail

To rent an apartment, it is customary that you sign a lease. A lease is a binding contract, and is required for a fixed period, typically 12 months. Leases obligate you to pay rent for the term of the lease even if you move out of the apartment.

Renter's Insurance

Renter's insurance is insurance that pays for your or others’ personal property if it is damaged or stolen. Renter’s insurance can cover losses due to theft, vandalism, damage from explosions, water damage, fire and smoke damage, and much more whether you are at fault or not. Ask your building manager about recommended companies.

STEP 6: Check In and English Placement Test

Upon arrival, check in with the International Student Office at MCC - Penn Valley. Go to Learning Resources Room 207.

You will then take the Applied Language Institute's English Placement Test. This free test is only offered on the Penn Valley campus. Students will be placed at the appropriate level of ESL instruction (if needed) based on the results of the test. Students should schedule an appointment for testing once they have arrived in the U.S. TOEFL is not required for admission.

The Applied Language Institute offers comprehensive English as a Second Language instructional programs for academic, personal or professional purposes. Grammar, composition, reading/vocabulary and speaking/listening are available at the beginning, intermediate and advanced levels. Day and evening classes are offered.

You can contact the ALI via email to schedule an appointment.

Students may take classes at any of the five campuses in the MCC District once they have completed any required ESL coursework. At the current time, ESL classes are only offered at the Penn Valley campus.

Last Modified: 10/7/15