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International Students

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Fostering mutual understanding and global learning through international education.

ECC Admissions Live Chat

Join ECC, one of America's best community colleges, as a full-time international student with an F-1 or J-1 visa! We're here to assist you at every turn. We value diversity and inclusion, welcoming students from over 25 countries annually. We want to help you reach your educational goals. Whether you want to earn a degree or certificate, transfer to a top university, or improve your English skills, we are here to support you.

Top Five Reasons

To Choose Elgin Community College for Your International Journey

  1. Guaranteed university transfer (2+2) admission. ECC is a leader in helping students transfer to universities. Each year, hundreds of ECC students move on to universities around the country. You can complete the first two years of your bachelor’s degree at ECC and then transfer to top universities like UIC, the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign, the University of Wisconsin–Madison, Arizona State University, and more.
  2. Affordable value. ECC offers tuition at a fraction of the cost of universities. Save money on tuition and fees by starting at a top community college! Check out how much you can save by completing your first two years at ECC. 
  3. Full-time Intensive English Program. ECC offers a full-time Intensive English Program to improve your English language proficiency. The Intensive English Program helps prepare students for the rigors of college-level academic courses.
  4. Excellent location. Located just 60 kilometers from Chicago, Illinois, the third-largest city in the USA, the Chicago metropolitan area is a major center for social, economic, financial, and educational activities. It offers great opportunities and attractions for international students.
  5. Diverse and welcoming campus. A modern and safe campus welcomes you warmly to our local community! The Midwest is known for its hospitality and friendly nature, and you can experience all the region has to offer by studying at ECC. We are an inclusive and diverse community that respects different perspectives, cultures, and experiences.
David Sam
As a former international student, I fully understand the thrill of attending college in the United States. That is why I take great pleasure in inviting you to attend Elgin Community College. When you come to ECC, you are joining a true community, both within our campus and beyond. Our academic resources are top-notch, our student life programs are dynamic, and our surrounding communities are diverse, lively, and enriching. Make ECC part of your journey.

David Sam, PhD, JD, LLM, ECC President

Information and Resources

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How to Apply

With 130 degrees and certificates to choose from, you can find the right path for your goals and interests. Explore our programs and start your journey toward your dreams at ECC.

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Online Now In-Person Later

After scheduling a virtual meeting with one of our knowledgeable academic advisors, you'll have the opportunity to discuss your educational goals, interests, and any questions about our programs.

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2+2 University Transfer

ECC collaborates with colleges and universities for smooth transfers around Chicago or nationwide. Depending on your major, complete your bachelor's degree at ECC through our university partners.

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Intensive English

Prospective ECC students, international students, professionals, business people, and others want to improve their English skills and cultural understanding, which are necessary for success in higher education, the business world, or personal growth and development.

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Exchange Students and Gap Year

Elgin Community College has international partnerships with foreign colleges, universities, and other learning institutions. Students may come to study at ECC for one or two semesters as exchange students on an F-1 student visa.

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Hear their stories and insights on the unique opportunities, challenges, and experiences they've encountered while pursuing their education here. Gain perspectives and insights that could inspire and guide your educational journey at our institution.

Take a Virtual Tour

Imagine yourself at Elgin Community College from wherever you are. View the classes and spaces you’ll walk in as a student. No matter where you are in your college search, we can help.

View Virtual Tour

I-20 Eligible Programs

The following programs are eligible for Form I-20.

Associate Degrees

Our available associate degrees include the following:

Frequently Asked Questions

Please refer to Application Deadlines for information. We accept applications for international student admission on a rolling basis throughout the year.

We strongly encourage you to submit all application materials at once to ensure fast processing. You can apply online at However, your Form I-20 or DS-2019 will not be processed until all required application materials are on file and reviewed by a Designated School Official (DSO).

There are many on-campus jobs available while at ECC. You may work on-campus part-time (up to 20 hours per week). You must maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or better. Positions are available across all college departments. On-campus employment is a great way to meet new people and gain valuable experience. To apply, visit

Off-campus employment requires approval by USCIS and/or a DSO. For more information on off-campus employment options, please view resources for current international students.

Unfortunately, international students are not eligible for an associate degree in nursing. Applicants MUST be legal residents of Community College District 509. Working in District 509 does not meet this requirement. International students on an F-1 visa are not eligible to apply to the nursing program.

Your achievements inside and outside the classroom can earn you scholarship money to help pay for educational expenses. Scholarships are a free resource you do not have to repay and are awarded for several reasons, including academic standing, leadership, specialized talents, and financial need. Scholarships are awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis.


Under federal F-1 regulations, you are permitted to arrive no earlier than 30 days prior to the program start date listed on your Form I-20.

Once all required admission documents are on file, your application materials will be reviewed and processed. The average time to process a request for a Form I-20 is 5-10 business days once a DSO has reviewed all application materials. Your Form I-20 and acceptance letter will be sent to you by email. Processing times may increase during peak periods. To check on the status of your application, please log in to the application portal or email us at

Full-time enrollment is defined as a minimum of 12 semester hours in college-level courses or full-time enrollment in the Intensive English Program during the fall and spring semesters. In the summer session, full-time enrollment is defined as 6 semester hours.

You can view tuition fees and rates online at

You can submit financial documents and an Affidavit of Sponsorships for multiple sponsors contributing financially to your education.

Like many community colleges in the U.S., ECC does not have traditional on-campus residence halls (dorms). However, there are several alternative housing options available to students. You must finalize your housing arrangements no later than 60 days before your program start date. You and your parents/guardians (if under age 18) are responsible for making final housing arrangements and decisions. ECC provides resources to assist with housing arrangements but does not finalize or monitor living arrangements for students other than those participating in the International Student Homestay Program. The cost of and responsibility for arranging suitable housing is ultimately that of the student.

Please note: If you arrive at ECC and have not previously arranged to house prior to your arrival, you will be directed to a local extended stay and will be responsible for the cost of lodging and transportation.

Elgin Community College continues to monitor the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19). In accordance with state and local regulations, a social distancing protocol is in place, and masks are required for those coming to campus. For more information on the college’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, please visit the emergency management webpage.

You can also watch a video of what to expect on campus.

We offer international students a holistic, one-stop area for all matters about non-immigrant status while studying in the U.S. In addition to new international student admission and international student advising, the college also offers:

  • Academic and transfer advising 
  • Admissions and recruitment
  • Advising on F-1 visa regulations and policies
  • Career development services
  • Cultural activities and programs on/off-campus
  • Disability and accommodation services
  • Early alert system
  • Full testing service center
  • Fitness center on-campus
  • Free professional tutoring
  • International student orientation and activities
  • Wellness services


Admissions & Recruitment

Building B, Room B110
Fax: 847-608-5458

Live Chat

Monday through Thursday: 7:30 am to 7 pm
Fridays: Closed

*Bilingual Admissions Coordinator: 847-214-7689


Center for Global Engagement

Building B, Room B105

Connect with Us

Monday through Thursday: 8 am to 5 pm
Friday: 8 am to 4 pm


Admissions & Recruitment

Building B, Room B110
Fax: 847-608-5458

Live Chat

Monday through Thursday: 7:30 am to 7 pm
Fridays: Closed

*Bilingual Admissions Coordinator: 847-214-7689