International and Visa Students


Students must complete the application process by the semester deadlines below. If your application is incomplete by the deadline of your intended admission semester, your admission may be considered for the next term.

  • Fall Semester (late August – mid-December): June 1
  • Spring Semester (early January – early May): November 1
  • Summer Semester (early May-early August): April 1

Allow 10 working days for processing after all your documents have been submitted and received by the college. Be aware that processing time for transcripts can take up to six weeks.



Polk State College is authorized to enroll nonimmigrant alien students, classified as International Students (F-1 visas), Vocational Students (M-1 visas), or other nonimmigrant visa holders. International Students who hold an F-1 visa enter the United States specifically for the purpose of obtaining English language training or to pursue a prescribed program of study, which includes associate of science, associate of arts, and bachelor degrees. Students with an M-1 visa enter the United States to pursue vocational training, which includes certificates and associate of applied science degrees. Students with F-1 and M-1 visas are required to attend school full time, which is a minimum of 12 credit hours per semester, and pay the out-of-state tuition and fees during their entire enrollment at Polk State College.

Anyone who enters the United States on a visa type other than F-1 or M-1 is here for a purpose other than education. Most are eligible to attend school at Polk State College part time while maintaining the status of their nonimmigrant visa. The exceptions include B1 or B2 Tourist visas and J-1 Exchange Student visas. Persons holding these visa types who wish to attend Polk State may apply as an International Student and, upon acceptance, may either change their status while remaining here in the United States or return home to apply for an F-1 or M-1 student visa.

Most holders of a nonimmigrant visa are required to pay out-of-state tuition and fees; however, there are a few visa types that may qualify for Florida residency for tuition purposes after one year of residency in a valid, eligible visa category. You may complete a Residency Declaration to determine your eligibility for in-state tuition.

Polk State College students interested in International travel should go to the Global Initiatives page.

Special Note: Students who are not U.S. citizens must submit documentation each term: spring, fall, and summer as to the student’s legal status.  A ZI hold will remain on the student record for the duration of academic studies at Polk State.  When documentation is presented, the student hold is overridden for the term allowing students to register.


STEP ONE – Complete a Free Application at

  • Complete the free application for admission online by clicking here. You may also enter the following URL into your browser:
    • You will receive a confirmation email with additional instructions, generally within one week of submitting your application.
    • There are two additional steps for you to complete:
      • Proof of Financial Support
        • Affidavit of Support is required for any individual or any commercial organization that will be sponsoring your education. Please print one of these forms for each sponsor. Each sponsor must also submit a recent bank statement showing the funds they have committed to your education are readily available.  The Affidavit of Support needs to be submitted within the six months prior to the start date of the semester you intend to start classes. If you are not admitted for the semester you intended, you will need to submit an updated Affidavit of Support and bank statements to be considered for a subsequent semester.
      • International Student Application

STEP TWO – Submit Official Transcripts

STEP THREE – Provide Proof of Financial Support

  • An Affidavit of Support is required from each sponsor.
    • Recent bank statement(s) from each sponsor showing funds promised are readily available.
    • The Affidavit of Support needs to be submitted within the six months prior to the start date of the semester you intend to start classes. If you are not admitted for the semester you intended, you will need to submit an updated Affidavit of Support and bank statements to be considered for a subsequent semester.
  • International students do not qualify for any US federal financial assistance.

STEP FOUR – Complete Testing and Placement Requirements

  • Proof of English proficiency:
    • Affidavit of Native Language
      If English is your native language and is listed on the affidavit, please print and complete this affidavit.
    • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System for Study (IELTS): If English is not your native language, you must prove English proficiency.
      • TOEFL is the most common means of proving proficiency. The ETS website provides information about TOEFL at A score of 61 is needed to establish English proficiency.
      • The International English Language Testing System for Study (IELTS) is also accepted. A score of 5.5 is needed to establish English proficiency.
    • Proof of completion of a regionally-accredited English Language program.
    • See the college catalog for additional means of proving English proficiency.
  • Levels of English Proficiency (LOEP)
    • If you do not meet the TOEFL requirements, you may begin your studies at Polk State College in the English for Academic Purposes (EAP) program, which provides English instruction. The LOEP is the test for placement into EAP courses.
    • It is highly recommended that the student have a basic understanding of the English language before entering EAP.
  • Postsecondary Educational Readiness Test (PERT)
    • This is the college placement test you will take upon arrival at Polk State College.  Take a sample test by clicking here. No login required.

STEP FIVE – Acceptance and Visa Issuance

  • Acceptance letter and receipt of SEVIS I-20
    • International students who provide all of the required admission documents above and meet all the requirements for admission by the semester deadline will be issued an acceptance letter and a SEVIS I-20, Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Students (F-1 or M-1).
  • Once you have received your I-20, you will need to pay the I-901 SEVIS fee. You can pay online at or you can follow the directions on the I-901 form sent with your SEVIS I-20. Print your I-901 receipt; you will need it at your visa interview.
  • Visa Issuance
    • Apply for your student visa online by completing the DS-160 Application for Non-immigrant Visa.
    • Make an appointment at the nearest US Embassy for a visa interview.
    • Upon receipt of the F-1 or M-1 visa, apply for your medical insurance online. The medical insurance students purchase must include basic medical coverage, emergency medical coverage, medical evacuation and repatriation.
    • Make travel arrangements.

STEP SIX – Arrival in the US and Reporting to Polk State College

  • The Arrival & Reporting Procedures document describes the procedures to follow upon receipt of your SEVIS I-20.
  • It is required to officially report to Polk State’s International Student Office within the first 15 days of the semester. Bring your passport, I-20, and I-94 printout from the web.


  • Attend international student orientation.
  • Register for classes in orientation.
  • Pay tuition.

Still, have questions?

Contact international student services at or visit:

Lakeland campus
3425 Winter Lake Road, Lakeland, FL 33803

Winter Haven campus
: 999 Avenue H NE, Winter Haven, FL 33881

Resources for International Students