Frequently Asked Questions

Who is an international student?

An international student is any person who currently resides or plans to reside in the United States on a non-immigrant visa while studying at Pacific Northwest College of Art.

U.S. citizens living abroad, permanent residents (green card holders), and persons with asylum or refugee status are NOT considered international students.

How do I know which level to apply for?

Undergraduate: If you have not yet completed a first university degree (equivalent to a 4-year U.S. bachelor’s degree), you should apply as an undergraduate student.

Graduate: You should complete a Graduate application if you want a Master’s degree.



What is an I-20 form?

PNCA issues I-20 Certificates of Eligibility via the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) to admitted international students who meet all immigration and admission requirements. The I-20 form allows you apply for an F-1 visa to study in the U.S. with the exception of Canadian citizens. Canadian citizens do not need to apply for a F-1 visa to study in the U.S. but will still need the I-20 form to study in the U.S.

What is SEVIS?

SEVIS is the electronic database that maintains information on international students and exchange visitors in the U.S.

Why do I need an I-20 form?

If you currently do not reside in the U.S., you will need an I-20 form from PNCA to apply for an F-1 student visa at the U.S. Embassy in your home country. The I-20 form allows you to establish your F-1 non-immigrant status to study in the U.S.

If you currently study at another institution inside the U.S. as an F-1 student, you must transfer your SEVIS record to PNCA. PNCA will then create the transfer-in I-20 form. This will maintain your F-1 status.

I’m currently in the U.S. on a visa other than the F-1 or J-1 student visa. Must I be a full-time student?

No. Only holders of F-1 or J-1 student visas must be enrolled full-time (at least 12 credits per semester for undergraduate students, and 9 credits per semester for graduate students). With most other non-immigrant visas, you may be part-time or not enrolled at all. But if you currently reside in the U.S. with a B-1, B-2, or F-2 visa, there are special restrictions on your ability to study in the U.S. Please contact the Office of Admissions to discuss your situation.

What is required to receive an I-20 if I am outside the U.S.?

A student cannot receive an I-20 form until all admissions requirements including supplemental requirements for international students have been submitted and the student is accepted to a program. Once a student has been accepted admission to PNCA, an I-20 form will be created and mailed out to the student at the address the student provides in the International Student Information Form.

What do I do with the I-20 form once I receive it?

After receiving your I-20 form, you must pay the SEVIS fee and apply for an F-1 student visa. The procedure can be lengthy so be sure to allow sufficient time to complete the entire process. The U.S. Embassy or U.S. Consulate in your home country can answer questions about how long it will take to request and receive a student visa.

I’m already in the U.S. as an F-1 student. Do I need to get a new transfer I-20?

If you are attending another school in the U.S.  you must go through our application process and be admitted to PNCA before your I-20 form can be transferred to us. All admission requirements for international students from abroad apply to international transfer students currently studying in the U.S. You can request for your SEVIS record to be transferred to PNCA after you have been accepted for admission to PNCA.

Please do not ask your international student advisor to release your SEVIS record to PNCA until AFTER you have been admitted. Your PNCA transfer I-20 must be issued before the first day of your initial admission term.

If you currently are not studying in the U.S. on F-1 or J-1 student visa, you do not need to satisfy this requirement.

I am a transfer student who has left the U.S. and have been accepted to PNCA. What do I need to do?

You will need to request that your SEVIS record be transferred to PNCA. After your SEVIS record has been transferred, we will create your I-20 and mail it to you. You cannot enter the U.S. with your previous school’s I-20 once the transfer takes place. You must enter the U.S. with PNCA’s I-20 form. In addition you must make sure that your passport and F-1 visa are valid. If they are expired, you must apply for a new passport and/or F-1 visa.

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