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New I-20 Students

STEP 1: Admission for New Students

Semester  Deadline
FALL (August) JULY 1

The following documents are required for admission to MCC and an I-20. TOEFL is not required for admission.

  1. International Application (PDF)
  2. $50 USD non-refundable application fee. Payable by cash, check or money order only.
  3. Official or Attested Secondary School Transcripts (accompanied by an official English line-by-line translation if originals are not in English).
  4. Affidavit of Support - Affidavit of Support (PDF)
  5. Bank statement or bank letter verifying s/he has at least $21,000 USD for student's education. The bank statement must be less than 6 months old and show the sponsor's full name.
  6. Affidavit of Room and Board (if applicable) - Affidavit of Room and Board (PDF)
  7. Copy of the identification page of the student's passport.

Send documents to:

Metropolitan Community College - Penn Valley
International Student Services
3201 SW Trafficway
Kansas City, MO 64111

Documents can be scanned and sent via e-mail to

STEP 2: Verify I-20 Information and Apply for the SEVIS Fee

Before paying the SEVIS fee, review the information on your Form I-20. If any information on your form is incorrect, please contact us immediately using the contact information provided in the cover letter.

The spelling of your name on all U.S. visa and immigration documents must be exactly the same as the spelling of your name in your passport. 

If all information is correct, sign and date the I-20.


F-1 students are required to pay a fee to the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). Go to Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) SEVIS I-901 Fee processing Website  to pay the fee. 

Help with fee payment issues

If you are having a problem with the SEVIS fee payment process please visit I-901 SEVIS Fee Frequently Asked Questions website.

STEP 3: Apply for the Visa

What is a Visa?

A visa is an official document issued by a consulate overseas allowing a foreign national to apply for admission into the United States. Students should obtain an F-1 visa. Having a visa in the passport is not an automatic guarantee that you will be admitted into the U.S. in that status. 

Visa example

Citizens of all countries except Canada are required to have an F1 visa in their passports if they are to enter the U.S. in student status. A good resource that provides basic information about student visas is EducationUSA.

How to Apply

There are several steps to apply for a visa. The order of these steps and how you complete them may vary at the U.S. embassy or consulate where you apply. 

  • Complete the Online Visa Application, Form DS-160-bring the confirmation page to your interview. 
  • Photo –You will upload your photo while completing the online Form DS-160. 

Schedule an Interview

While interviews are generally not required for applicants of certain ages outlined below, consular officers have the discretion to require an interview of any applicant, regardless of age.

You must schedule an appointment for your visa interview, generally, at the U.S. embassy or consulate in the country where you live. You may schedule your interview at any U.S. embassy or consulate, but be aware that it may be difficult to qualify for a visa outside of your place of permanent residence.

Wait times for interview appointments vary by location, season, and visa category, so you should apply for your visa early. Review the interview wait time for the location where you will apply.

New Students – F-1 student visas can be issued up to 120 days in advance of your course of study start date. However, you will not be allowed to enter the U.S. in F-1 status earlier than 30 days before your start date.

Prepare for Your Interview

  • Pay the non-refundable $160 visa application fee.
  • Review the Visa Reciprocity Tables to find out if you must pay a visa issuance fee.
  • Review the instructions available on the website of the embassy or consulate where you will apply to learn more about fee payment.

Gather Required Documentation

Gather and prepare the following required documents before your visa interview:

  • Passport valid for travel to the U. S. - Your passport must be valid for at least six months beyond your period of stay in the U. S. (unless exempt by country-specific agreements). If more than one person is included in your passport, each person who needs a visa must submit a separate application.
  • Form DS-160 confirmation page, application fee payment receipt, if you are required to pay before your interview.
  • Photo – You will upload your photo while completing the online Form DS-160.
  • Form I-20 – Your school will send you a SEVIS-generated Form I-20. You must sign the Form I-20. All students, their spouse and minor children if they intend to reside in the United States with the student, must be entered in SEVIS. 

Additional Documentation May Be Required 

Review the instructions for how to apply for a visa on the website of the embassy or consulate where you will apply. Additional documents may be requested to establish that you are qualified. For example, additional requested documents may include evidence of:

  • Your secondary education transcripts
  • Your academic degree plan at Metropolitan Community College - Kansas City
  • Your intent to depart the U.S. upon completion of the course of study
  • Proof of residence in home country
  • How you will pay all educational, living and travel costs.

Attend Your Visa Interview

During your visa interview, a consular officer will determine whether you are qualified to receive a visa. 

Ink-free, digital fingerprint scans will be taken as part of your application process. They are usually taken during your interview, but this varies based on location.

Additional Information

  • We cannot guarantee that you will be issued a visa. Do not make final travel plans or buy tickets until you have a visa.
  • Unless canceled or revoked, a visa is valid until its expiration date. Therefore, a valid U.S. visa in an expired passport is still valid. If you have a valid visa in your expired passport, do not remove it from your expired passport. You may use your valid visa in your expired passport along with a new valid passport for travel and admission to the United States.

Spouse and children

  • Your spouse and unmarried, minor children who intend to reside with you during your study may apply for F-2 visas. Your school must issue them an individual Form I-20, which is required to apply for their visas. You must provide a copy of your F-1 visa and provide proof of relationship.
  • Your minor children are permitted to attend school in the United States while accompanying you.

The Visa Interview

10 Points to Remember When Applying For a Nonimmigrant Visa - (PDF)

All applicants for a student visa are required to be interviewed. Typically these are very short and the consular officer will take your pictures and fingerprints digitally. During the interview, you must make a good impression. Be positive and respond to the questions with clear, concise answers. Be prepared to discuss the following: 

  • If your wife and children will remain in your country explain how they will support themselves in your absence
  • Why you chose to study at a community college; why Metropolitan Community College - Kansas City?
  • What your academic plans are
  • What you plan to do after your studies
  • Prove your intent to return home

You must establish to the satisfaction of the U.S. consular officer that your ties to your home country are stronger than your ties to the U.S.

If you are fortunate, you may not be asked to provide any particular documentation to establish that you intend to return home. It may be sufficient for you to say that you plan to return to your country to work, to continue your studies, or to do whatever you plan to do when you return home. 

Below are some questions to help you decide if you should make a special effort to prove your intent to return home (nonimmigrant intent). The more questions to which you respond with the answer "yes," the more important it will likely be for you to make a special effort to prove your intent to return home after your activities in the U.S.

  • Is it difficult to obtain either tourist or F-1 visas in your country?
  • Are a significant percentage of F visa applications denied by the U.S. consulate in your country?
  • Are one or more members of your immediate family (mother, father, brother, sister, spouse, or child) living in the U.S.?
  • Are your spouse and children accompanying you to the U.S.?
  • Are one or more of your immediate relatives legal permanent residents?
  • Is this your first trip to the United States?
  • Have you ever been denied a visa to come to the U.S.?

If, based upon your answers to these questions, you believe you should make a special effort to prove that you intend to return home, the following factors may be taken into consideration:

Financial Ties

If you own property or have financial investments in your country, documenting them may help prove you have strong financial ties. To prove this, you may not use any assets that will be needed to pay for your F-1 activities. 

Documents to Submit: Official papers proving property ownership, copies of investment statements or certificates, a letter or financial statement from your bank or accountant.

Family Ties

If all members of your immediate family live in your country, the U.S. Consular officer may understand that you have strong family ties to that country. If you are your parents' oldest child or only child, the Consular officer may believe that you are more likely to return home because of that fact. If one or both of your parents are not in good health, this is another reason you might be expected to return home.

Documents to Submit: Copies of official documents proving family relationships and residence of each family member, letters from physicians explaining important medical conditions of one or both parents.

Employment Ties

If you will be employed full-time upon your return, this indicates strong employment ties to your country. 

Documents to Submit: A letter from your current employer stating that you will resume your work with them after your time in the U.S., a letter from a prospective employer stating that a position will be offered to you upon your return. The best letter is one that guarantees a job upon your return and states how important your U.S. activities will be for the type of work the employer wants you to do upon your return.

Why you Selected a Community College

Reasons can include the tuition savings for your family, the specific program you want to study or the Intensive English Program that is available. If you plan to transfer to a four-year university, clearly explain how the 2-year degree transfers to the next school.

Documents to submit: School Catalog, Intensive English Program Information, Articulation Agreements. Show school is accredited.

Your Visa and Immigration History

If you have visited other countries and returned to your country after those visits, you have demonstrated a pattern of behavior that may lead the U.S. Consular Officer to believe that you will return home after your time in the U.S. The more trips you have made, the better your situation.

Documents to submit: Current and/or previous passports containing entry and exit stamps from your country to other countries, other official documents indicating departure and return.

Visa Denials

There are 3 outcomes from the visa interview.

  • Approval
  • Denial - Applicant receives denial letter immediately with explanation
  • Pending - Some kind of clearance or additional information is necessary - a letter is given to the applicant

If you are denied and the letter cites 214(b), here is the explanation.

What Is Section 214(b)?

Section 214(b) is part of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). It states:

Every alien shall be presumed to be an immigrant until he establishes to the satisfaction of the consular officer, at the time of application for admission, that he is entitled to a nonimmigrant status.

Consular officers must decide in a very short time if someone is qualified to receive a temporary visa. Most cases are decided after a brief interview and review of whatever evidence of ties an applicant presents. To qualify for a visitor or student visa, an applicant must meet the requirements of sections 101(a)(15)(B) or (F) of the INA respectively. Failure to do so will result in a refusal of a visa under INA 214(b). The most frequent basis for such a refusal concerns the requirement that the prospective visitor or student possess a residence abroad he or she has no intention of abandoning. Applicants prove the existence of such residence by demonstrating that they have ties abroad that would compel them to leave the United States at the end of the temporary stay. The law places this burden of proof on the applicant.

How can an applicant prove "strong ties?"

Strong ties differ from country to country. Some examples of ties can be a job, a house, a family, a bank account. "Ties" are the various aspects of your life that bind you to your country of residence: your possessions, employment, social, and family relationships.

U.S. consular officers look at each application individually and consider professional, social, cultural, and other factors. In cases of younger applicants who may not have had an opportunity to form many ties, consular officers may look at the applicants specific intentions, family situations, and long-range plans and prospects within his or her country of residence. 

Is a denial under Section 214(b) permanent?

No. The consular officer will reconsider a case if an applicant can show further convincing evidence of ties outside the United States. Unfortunately, some applicants will not qualify for a non-immigrant visa, regardless of how many times they reapply, until their personal, professional, and financial circumstances change considerably.

Applicants refused visas under section 214(b) may reapply for a visa. When they do, they will have to show further evidence of their ties or how their circumstances have changed since the time of the original application. It may help to answer the following questions before reapplying: (1) Did I explain my situation accurately? (2) Did the consular officer overlook something? (3) Is there any additional information I can present to establish my residence and strong ties abroad?

Applicants will be charged a nonrefundable application fee each time they apply for a visa, regardless of whether a visa is issued.

Who can influence the consular officer to reverse a decision?

Consular officers overseas have the final say on all visa cases. An applicant can influence the post to change a prior visa denial only through the presentation of new convincing evidence of strong ties.

STEP 4: Arrival

You must arrive in the United States at least by the date indicated on your Form I-20. You may enter the United States as early as 30 days prior to the official arrival date indicated on your I-20.

Travel Tips 

  1. Reconfirm your flight at least three days before leaving your country.
  2. To reduce jet lag, drink plenty of non-alcoholic fluids on the plane and get some rest.
  3. Carry your money, passport, immigration documents, and important documents with you on the plane. Do not pack these items in your luggage. You should have at least $6,000 in Traveler's Checks or cash when you arrive to cover initial expenses such as taxi or bus fare, meals, first rent installment, books and supplies. Bank drafts, other than negotiable Traveler's Checks will take one or two weeks to clear.
  4. If you need help, ask an airport employee.
  5. Never leave your luggage unattended.
  6. Be cooperative, patient and courteous when waiting in travel lines (queues). You can check the Airport Status Information website for wait times.

Entering the US - What to do at the U.S. Port of Entry

Be ready to present your passport, visa, your I-20 and supporting documentation. 


US-VISIT will be used to track millions of visitors to the United States. All students are required to go through the screening process, which includes a digital photograph and electronic fingerprints. 


If you are issued an I-515A at the port of entry, you have 30 days to fix your immigration status. Bring the information to the International Office. We will help you mail the necessary documents to:

Student and Exchange Visitor Program
ATTN: SEVIS/I-515A Processing Team
500 12th Street SW STOP 5600
Washington, DC 20536-5600

Transportation from the Airport

Please note that MCC does not provide airport pickup. The Kansas City International Airport is located approximately 45 minutes from the college. 

For more airport information or for ground transport information visit the Kansas City International Airport.

To reach a hotel, you can take a cab (taxi) from the airport. 

For other transportation services visit

To drive from KCI to MCC travel:

I-29 South to I- 169 South
Go over the Broadway Bridge
Take I-35 South
Broadway Exit (left exit)
Go South on Broadway until stoplight at Linwood.
Go Right on Linwood for two blocks.
Pull into MCC parking lot on right-hand side.

Housing Options

You should plan on arriving in Kansas City at least a week or two before classes start to find housing. 

Short-Term: Motel & Hotel Options

If you need temporary lodging, there are hotels located near campus.

STEP 5: Housing


You may also search Internet-based apartment search engines such as Social Serve or Apartment is another free resource to find housing. Each city on the website is broken down into neighborhoods, highlighting pricing, noise level, nearby attractions, restaurants, shopping, etc.

Additional Housing Search Websites:

Penn Valley Apartments are owned by a private business next to the campus. The studio apartments are $450 per month for MCC students. This does not include utilities. There is a laundry facility in the basement. For rental information, contact Gladstone Partners at 816.332.6139 or e-mail

To rent an apartment, it is customary that you sign a lease. A lease is a binding contract, and is required for a fixed period, typically 12 months. Leases obligate you to pay rent for the term of the lease even if you move out of the apartment.

Rooms in private residences

Apartments/ townhomes/ condominiums can be rented by yourself or shared by multiple students depending on the lease options of the apartment complex. It is reasonable to expect off-campus housing to cost between $500 to $800 per month, depending on the number of people sharing the expenses which include monthly rent and utilities (water, phone, electricity, gas, trash, cable etc.). A security deposit (usually one month's rent) is also required for most off-campus housing. In addition, utility companies (phone, electricity, etc.) may require deposits in advance as well. Find assistance with internet or cable TV.


STEP 6: Check In and English Placement Test

Upon arrival

  • Check in with the International Student Office at MCC - Penn Valley. 
  • Take the English Placement Test. TOEFL is not required for admission. Testing hours Monday - Thursday 9-1.
  • Enroll and pay for classes

MCCKC offers comprehensive English as a Second Language testing and instruction. Grammar, composition, reading/vocabulary and speaking/listening are available at the beginning, intermediate and advanced levels. Day and evening classes are offered.

Students may take classes at any of the five campuses in the MCC District once they have completed any required ESL coursework. At the current time, ESL classes are only offered at the Penn Valley campus.