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Initial F-1 Students

Congratulations on being admitted to Sinclair Community College! Sinclair has been a leader in education for over 125 years and it is with great pleasure that we welcome you to join this tradition. Please follow the steps below to prepare for your arrival.

  1. Request your admission packet mailed to your country.
    The Office of International Education will mail documents through eShipGlobal. You should have received an email with instructions on how to have it shipped to your address in your country. Remember all communications from Sinclair are sent to the email address with which you applied.
  2. Apply for your F-1 visa. Once you receive the I-20, you can apply for the F-1 visa by following these steps:
    1. Pay the SEVIS I-901 fee and print the receipt.
    2. Schedule a visa appointment. Find the U.S. Embassy close to your home and check if there are any special instructions.
    3. Review these helpful resources on applying for a visa.
      1. Overview of the student visa process, the visa appointment wait time, fee, and online visa application.
      2. 10 points to remember when applying for a student visa:
    4. Practice and attend the visa interview.
      Visa interviews are quick and last only 2-10 minutes. The consular official who is interviewing you will determine whether you have provided enough evidence to be qualified to receive a student visa. It is important that you practice before the scheduled interview date to prepare clear and concise responses.

      Here are four main questions you should consider while preparing for your visa interview:
      • Who are you, what is your story, and what/why do you plan to study in the U.S?
      • What have you done in the past that lead to your plan to study in the U.S.?
      • What do you plan to do after graduation?
      • What are your ties to your home country and how do you plan to pay for the entire period of study?
  3. Plan your trip to the U.S.
    1. After you successfully obtained the F-1 visa, you can start preparing for your trip to the U.S. Below is a list of common questions that need students have:
      1. When should I arrive?
        You can enter the U.S. with the initial F-1 status (meaning you are a brand new international student, not a SEVIS transfer student) up to 30 days before the program start date on your I-20.
        Your I-20 should indicate the earliest date you can center the U.S.:Example of I-20 Document
      2. What are the program start date, the program end date, and the start of classes date?
        The program start date listed on your I-20 takes into account mandatory orientation and other testing and registration activities before the start of classes.
        Note: For new students who plan to transfer to another school without enrolling at Sinclair, you must:
        • report to Sinclair before the program start date;
        • submit a written confirmation of acceptance to the transfer-in school, the SEVIS school code for the transfer-in school, and the contact information for the new school’s International Student Advisor/DSO before the program start date;
        • demonstrate that the program start date for the transfer-in school is within 30 days of the student’s initial date of entry to the United States.

          The program end date is the date you are expected to complete the program.

          The initial session start date/the start of classes date is the first day of class for your first semester at Sinclair. You should arrive no later than the start of classes date.

      3. You should make your travel arrangements as soon as possible and prepare for your departure. The two closest international airports to Sinclair are:
        • Dayton International Airport (12.4 miles away from campus)
        • Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (65.2 miles away from campus)
    2. Entering the U.S. border/Port of Entry Inspection
      Once you have bought the ticket, you are ready to travel to the U.S. Please visit the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) website for detailed information regarding the process for admission into the U.S. and what to bring.

      Please make sure to have all the documents listed below with you while travelling. Don’t put your travel documents in your checked bags!
      • Passport
      • Visa
      • Your acceptance letter
      • Proof of financial ability
      • And other supporting documentation (for more information about arriving in the U.S., please go to:
    3. I-94 Arrival/Departure Record
      After examining your passport and visa, the CBP officer issues a passport admission stamp and writes D/S (Duration of Status) on it. This means you can remain in the U.S. as long as you are properly maintaining your status and your I-20 has not expired. An electronic record of your admission, called the I-94, will also be generated by U.S. CBP officers. You can obtain a copy of your I-94 from Please make sure that the information on the record is correct. It is strongly recommended that you retrieve this record each time you enter the U.S.
  4. Report to the Office of International Education
    Once you arrive on campus, please report to the Office of International Education immediately. We are located in building 10, third floor, room 10303. When you check-in with our office, you should bring your passport (with the F-1 visa stamp) with you. Please note that you must check in with our office by the program start date listed on your I-20. Our office is required by law to report your arrival to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. You will be considered in violation of your status if you fail to follow this rule.