International Students

Are you a non-U.S. citizen interested in attending college on an F-1, J-1, or M-1 visa? Welcome to ECC!

Applying to ECC as an international student is easy, and we look forward to meeting you! ECC is committed to diversity and inclusion and welcomes applications from students outside the United States who are interested in furthering their education. Please allow ample time for application processing. Once all documents are received and verified, the turnaround time for an acceptance decision is seven (7) business days. Please apply to the college in a timely fashion to allow for visa processing.

As a student of ECC, you'll be able to enroll in academic credit courses and our full-time, intensive English program.

Steps to Apply

Here are the steps to follow to apply for a Form I-20 (F-1 and M-1 students) or a DS-2019 (J-1 exchange visitors):

Please apply online and upload all required documents through the online application system. If you do not have reliable internet access, you may complete the PDF application and submit required documents by email to or by mail to:

  • Elgin Community College, Center for International Education and Programs
    1700 Spartan Drive, Elgin, IL 60123-7193.
  • Pay the $50 processing fee by cash, check/money order, or international wire transfer by Flywire by peerTransfer.

Check Application Deadlines

New, initial students outside the U.S.

We accept admissions applications on a rolling basis throughout the year. New initial students outside the U.S. should apply by the following priority deadlines to allow ample time for visa processing:

  • Fall semester: June 15
  • Spring semester: November 1
  • Summer term: April 1

Applications from new, initial students close 30 days prior to the ‘New Program Start Date’ listed on the Form I-20 or DS-2019 for each new semester or Intensive English Program session. Students should plan accordingly to meet these deadlines. Please note that late applications received from new, initial students outside the U.S. will be deferred to the next available session date.

Students in the U.S. Transferring from a U.S. Institution

Transfer students in the United States on a valid F-1 visa and in Active status in SEVIS may apply for admission up to the Wednesday before the start of classes. Please contact the Center for International Education and Programs at 847-214-7809 for orientation program information based on your program start date and intended program of study.

Students Seeking Reinstatement or a Change of Status

Applications from students seeking reinstatement or a change of status to F-1 are accepted on a case-by-case basis throughout the year for enrollment at the next available program start date. Please contact the Center for International Education and Programs at 847-214-7809 for specific information and advice related to your situation. Resources for F-1 Students

Submit Required Documentation

  • Proof of Financial Ability. U.S. federal regulations require you to certify your ability to meet all expenses for your first year of intended study before you can receive a Form I-20. Acceptable documentation includes:
    • An official bank statement (in English) showing available funds of $21,000 for first-year expenses at ECC, exclusive of travel expenses
    • The report must include the account holder’s name, type of account, current balance, and date of the statement
    • Certification of funds must be dated within six months of issuing the I-20.
  • Affidavits of Sponsorship (if applicable). Anyone who is contributing financially to your education (including family members) must complete an affidavit of sponsorship.
  • Transcripts from Secondary School. Transcripts must be certified and submitted in English; translation or evaluation services may require an additional fee.

If you haven’t completed high school/secondary education, you may apply if you meet the following requirements:

  • Age 17 years or older by intended start date at ECC
  • Submission of high school/secondary transcript showing completion of at least 11 years of secondary education (equivalent to a junior level standing in high school).
  • A photocopy of your passport. Include photocopies of the biography page and the identity page with your photograph.
    • If you are currently in the U.S., please include a copy (front and back) of your hard copy I-94 card or a printout of your electronic I-94 record (available at and current visa or visa stamp.
    • If you have applied for a change of status, please submit a copy of any I-797 forms received from USCIS.
    • You must show proof of age in the form of valid birth date on their passport or official government-issued identification. You must be at least 17 years old by the start of classes to be issued a Form I-20 or Ds-2019 by ECC.
  • Transfer Release Form (if applicable). If you are transferring from another school in the United States, ask your school to complete the transfer release form.

English Proficiency

You don’t need to be proficient in English to be accepted to ECC, and we don’t require the TOEFL or IELTS. If you’re not proficient, you’ll take an English language proficiency test when you get here so we can place you into the appropriate level in the Intensive English Program.

Students who believe they satisfy the English language proficiency requirement as required by federal law must present proof of such proficiency by submitting one of the following:

  • Minimum scores on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) of 550 (paper-based), 213 (computer-based) or 71 (internet-based)
  • Minimum international English language testing system (IELTS) overall band score of 6.0
  • Proof of graduation from a high school where English was the language of instruction
  • Successful completion of college-level English composition where English was the language of instruction

Placement Tests

As an incoming international student, you’ll take several placement tests to assess your skill levels and place you in the appropriate classes. For more details,

Post-Secondary Transcripts

If you have completed post-secondary courses (university or college), we strongly encourage you to submit official, English-translated copies of transcripts for possible credit. You will need to have your transcripts evaluated by an evaluation service.

Attend New Student Orientation

Orientation is required of all new international students attending ECC. Once we receive your application and required documentation, we will send you a date for your new student orientation.

Change of Status and Reinstatement to F-1 Visa Status

  • Reinstatement. If you are currently in the U.S. and out-of-status on your F-1 visa, ECC may be able to help you regain your F-1 status. USCIS allows F-1 students who have fallen out-of-status to apply for reinstatement if certain conditions are met. You’ll have to submit additional documentation to USCIS. Once you have received confirmation from the Center for International Education and Programs that you are eligible for reinstatement, please begin your reinstatement application online or download and complete the Reinstatement Application

Are you a non-U.S. citizen interested in attending a top American community college on an F-1, J-1, or M-1 visa? Apply today to Elgin Community College (ECC)!

Elgin Community College warmly welcomes international students from more than 25 countries from around the world! ECC is about 40 miles from Chicago, which has world-championship sports teams, an internationally acclaimed symphony orchestra, award-winning theater, dozens of museums and historical sites, premier shopping and some of the best restaurants in the United States.

Apply Now