Do I need a visa to study at IWS?
Yes, all international students must have an F-1 student visa to study at IWS. Students with an F-2 visa may apply to study part-time (i.e., on the IWS “extended schedule”) and participate in one on-campus session per year.
Can I study at IWS with a B1, B2, tourist, or other visa instead?
No, international students are required to have an F-1 visa if they wish to earn a degree at IWS. The only exceptions are for international students who wish to audit classes (no course credit) and in some cases for students with F-2 visas (these students can take courses for credit, but only if enrolled on the part-time schedule).
How do I obtain an F-1 visa?
Once your application is completed, submitted, and approved by the IWS Admissions staff, the Registrar will issue you an I-20 form. This form, along with other paperwork, will be mailed to you. You will need to bring this form to your embassy to apply for an F-1 visa.
What other requirements are there?
In addition to an F-1 visa, all international students are required to pay the I-901 SEVIS fee, which is $350. This fee goes directly to the US Government, not to IWS, and it cannot be waived. Proof of payment is required prior to your visit to the embassy to apply for a visa.
Since IWS is a low-residency school, a new I-20 form must be issued for each visit to campus. This means international students are also required to pay the $350 I-901 fee again for each visit to campus. Typically the MWS program requires 4 visits to campus and the DWS program requires 5 visits to campus.
Are there any exceptions for students from Canada?
Canadian students do not need to visit an embassy. Instead, they must be prepared to present their I-20 form and proof of payment of the $350 I-901 fee at the border. Failure to present these documents may result in the student being denied entry to the USA.
Can IWS approve my request for CPT/OPT?
OPT is not an option for IWS students or alumni. Regarding CPT, it is important to realize that IWS is a low-residency graduate school, and our students only come to the IWS campus for one week at a time to attend intensive classes. There are no dormitories or residential students at IWS. Furthermore, since IWS requires all students to have a ministry context prior to enrolling in classes, it is generally difficult to make the case for CPT, as it requires proof that a student’s job is necessary for their education. But the IWS staff is happy to work with international students on a case-by-case basis to determine whether they might qualify for CPT.
Can IWS consider other English fluency tests besides TOEFL?
No, at this time IWS is only able to accept TOEFL scores from within the past 2 years.
What services are offered to international students at IWS?
IWS can usually provide airport pickups/drop-offs for international students only, provided their flights arrive/depart at a reasonable time. Additionally, IWS may be able to provide our international students with a host home for the week. For more information about these services please read the housing and transportation guidelines carefully.