St. Thomas Aquinas College welcomes international students to our campus and our International Student Counselor can help you with all of your concerns. St. Thomas is a growing, vibrant, liberal arts college that offers nearly 100 different programs to choose from at the undergraduate and graduate level -- including partnerships we have developed with other colleges and universities. St. Thomas is located 20 miles north of New York City in suburban Rockland County. St. Thomas students come from all over the world and we can guide you through the process.
- Application- $25 U.S. to complete the application for admission online.
- World Education Services (WES) for transfer : course by course evaluation for freshmen : evaluation upon completion of high school studies.
- TOEFL Scores- Required for all students whose primary language is not English unless they have earned a N.Y.S. Regents Diploma or their primary instruction has been English - score of 80 or higher.
- SAT or ACT Scores- Students are required to take the SAT or ACT as part of their application to the college. These scores are also used together with high school grades to determine scholarship. Download the SAT bulletin at http://www.collegeboard.org
- Essay/Personal Statement
- Letter of Recommendation
Once your application is complete, a decision will be made and you will be notified within a few weeks. Deposits submitted by May 1st are given preference.
Accepted Students Preparing for I-20
What is an I-20?
All students, regardless of any treaty arrangements regarding travel, are required to have an I20 issued from the college they plan to attend, and also an F1 student VISA.
The I20 is a Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F-1) Students. This document allows students abroad to apply for an F-1 Student Visa at their consulate in order to be able to travel to the U.S. to pursue a degree. By issuing an I-20 STAC is verifying that you have been admitted as a full time student and that upon admission you have the means necessary to fund the fund the full course of study.
As an accepted student, you will be required to submit financial documents necessary to support the student for the full course of study. The items listed below are required for submission. We can accept copies, however the original documents must be submitted during the VISA interview at your Consulate. We encourage that you get these documents notarized.
- Tax Returns-most recent years
- Bank Statement – most recent being less than two months old
- Proof of Income-pay stubs that verify the income listed on tax return
- Affidavit- to verify any support coming from other sources
- Proof of outside scholarships or funding
- Lease, deeds, rent receipts and utility bills-these can be used as additional support to prove financial stability
- I 20 application
- Financial worksheet grad-studies
- Financial worksheet undergrad-studies
Accepted Students Preparing for VISA
Now that you have the I-20, you are required to pay the SEVIS fee of $200 at www.fmjfee.com. This fee must be paid before the VISA interview at the Consulate. Please note that the Visa cannot be issued earlier than 4 months before the program start date.
1. Get Visa Photo - http://travel.state.gov/visa/visaphotoreq/visaphotoreq_5334.html
2. File online DS-160 Non-immigrant Visa Electronic Application. Apply at http://evisaforms.stae,gov. For frequently asked question go to http://travel.state.gov/visa/forms/forms_4401.html.
3. Pay Visa application Fee $140+ at www.usembassy.state.gov
4. Make an appointment for Visa Interview
The Visa Appointment
To prepare for the interview gather the following evidence and bring these with you:
- MRV Fee receipt for Visa application
- Receipt for SEVIS fee payment
- Passport – Valid for at least 6 months beyond the program end date
- Form I-20
- Evidence of funding for the full course of the program which has to be less than 6 months old. All copies must be original:
- Tax Returns
- Bank Statement – Most recent being less than two months old
- Proof of Income which should be a series of pay stubs
- Affidavit - A written statement of facts, sworn to and signed by a deponent before a notary public or some other authority having the power to witness an oath.” In other words, when you sign an affidavit, you’re simply attesting, under law, that you swear a statement written in the affidavit is true.
- Lease, deeds, rent receipts and utility bills
- Letter of admission to St. Thomas Aquinas College
- Test scores and academic records which are transcripts and diplomas. These must be official documents from your previous school or institution
- Evidence of “compelling ties”. This means evidence that proves that you will return back home after course of study. This can include the following:
- Previous US travel
- Plans upon return
- Socioeconomic issues
- Career Opportunities (Proof that major will aid you in home country)
- Documentary evidence (Documents proving ties to community)
- Documents are crucial
- Practice your English
- Have an Educational goal that can be expressed to the interview. EXAMPLE: purpose of the degree
- Understanding that the interview is intended for you to prove the purpose of desiring to attend school in the US and that you will be returning
- Do not mention working while in the US
International students can not receive U.S. or New York State aid. International students are eligible for college scholarships and awards. For a complete list of scholarships and criteria, visit the Scholarship Webpage
International applicants are required to show that they have sufficient funds to support themselves during their studies. The amount and source of funds are necessary on the Certificate of Eligibility (I-20) when applying for F-1 visas
Alternative Sources for Financial Aid
Smart Guide to Financial Aid
International Education Financial
Foriegn Fulbright Program
New International (F-1) Students:
You must keep your passport valid. You must also report a new address within 10 days of moving to the college you attend. You must attend the school that you are authorized to attend as indicated on your I-20 and you must be a full time student. You must maintain registration each semester until graduation. You must obtain permission from the College's international student advisor to drop below full-time. There are limited exceptions to the full-time course rule. You are permitted to move from one educational level to another (Undergraduate to Master's) and you are permitted to transfer from one school to another. Both of these actions require prior approval. You are permitted to on-campus employment of 20 hours per week if you have the proper working papers in order.
New international students are required to provide a medical history form and verification of several immunizations. To be completed by a physician in your home country and returned to Health Services at least one month before you arrive in the United States.
Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
CPT is employment directly related to the student’s field of study. It must be an integral part of the curriculum. It can be a paid or unpaid internship, practicum, or other type of employment arranged with the approval of the student’s department. It may take place during the academic year and/or the summer. CPT may be required or recommended.
What do I need to apply?
Example of Letter from Employer
To Whom It May Concern:
(Student's Name) has been offered the position of (name of position). This position begins on (start date) and ends on (end date). The position will be for (number of hours) each week.
The duties of this position will include:
(brief description of duties)
Name of employer
Optional Practical Training (OPT)
OPT is a paid employment directly related to your major area of study. Students in F-1 status must have been lawfully enrolled in school on a full time basis for at least one full academic year to be eligible for OPT. It is limited to a total of 12 months. A student becomes eligible for another 12 months of practical training when he/she changes to a higher educational level. F-1 students may be authorized to participate in OPT prior to completion of studies. However the post-completion OPT period must be reduced if students have been previously authorized to work part-time in OPT or if students have spent more than one year in full-time Curricular Practical Training (CPT). Note that part-time OPT is calculated at a rate of one half of full-time OPT. A student must apply for Post-Completion Optional Practical Training during their final semester of course requirements. To apply for Post-Completion Optional Practical Training, the student must submit to the Designated School Official (DSO) required paperwork and forms (see Application for OPT).
What do I need to apply?
Optional Practical Training Form
You may use the admissions office address for delivery of the EAD card or you may use a residential address (you can use your own or a friend/family member who can send the EAD card to you when it arrives.
HELPFUL LINKS FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS
- $340.00 check or money order made payable to US Citizenship and Immigration Services or Department of Homeland Security.
- Photocopy of most recent I-94 (both sides) and visa
- Photocopy of the identity pages of your passport, which includes your picture.
- A copy of any previous EAD Card (both sides) if applicable
- 2 Photos with a white background
- Include a photocopy (not original) of your SEVIS I-20 for OPT, pages 1 and 3, after it is endorsed by the Office of Admissions.
- Include photocopies of all other previous I-20s issued to you by St. Thomas Aquinas College.
- Include photocopies of all I-20s issued to you by any other U.S. school you attended
- The cover sheet from international advisor to USCIS
Applying for a NYS Learner's Permit or Driver's License
Foreign Drivers Licenses And Driving In New York State
Social Security Numbers And ID Cards
Applying for a Social Security Number
Opening A Bank Account