Frequently Asked Questions


New Students

What immigration paperwork do I need to bring with me?

Upon arrival in the U.S., international students must pass through immigration. You will be required to demonstrate you are entering the USA for study purposes. Be sure to carry the following documentation in your carry-on luggage: 

  • Passport
  • F-1 Visa
  • Form I-20
  • I-901 SEVIS fee receipt
  • U.S. address of where you will stay when arriving in Sacramento
  • The IEP welcome letter included with this pre-arrival packet
  • Cash and travelers checks in U.S. dollars (we don’t recommend bringing more than $200-400 in cash)

When do I have to start school?

Students are required to report to school no later than the program start date noted on their current I-20.

Do I have to attend orientation?

Yes, orientation is mandatory for all new ELI students. 

Current Students

Can I take a vacation?

Students in our program are eligible to take off one session if they have spent an equivalent of one academic year or nine months, studying continuously in the U.S. Students must intend to register for the following session.

How long can I stay in the U.S. after my completion date?

If the completion date on the I-20 has been reached and the student has completed the program, the student has 60 days to depart the country or initiate a transfer.

A student who has an authorized withdrawal by a DSO may remain in the U.S. for up to 15 days following the withdrawal noted in SEVIS, to prepare to depart the U.S. This 15-day grace period does not allow for preparation to transfer.

Unapproved withdrawals or terminations: If a student fails to maintain status, or withdraws from school or otherwise terminates or interrupts his or her course of studies without first obtaining DSO approval in SEVIS, the student is not eligible for any grace period, and would be considered to be out of status. The student should depart the U.S. immediately or consider applying for reinstatement. 

How do I stay in status?

Students must make academic progress as a condition of enrollment. Making progress is dependent upon completing assignments, passing tests, and attending classes. While absences are allowed, the ELI attendance policy requires students attend at least 85% of each course (or miss no more than five hours per course, per session enrolled). This standard is applied to all students regardless of immigration status, residency, or citizenship.

Students in violation of this policy will be dismissed.

F-1 students must keep full-time enrollment. A full-time course load for English Language Institute students is 20 hours per week. 

What does it mean to be a full time student?

Students must be enrolled in a minimum of 20 hours of instruction time per week to be considered a full time student. Students must maintain full time status throughout the duration of their study. No more than five absences are allowed for each session.

Transfer Students

Can I transfer to your school?  When do I have to start?

As long as you complete your transfer within the 60-day grace period that begins after your last day of study at your current school, you can transfer to ELI. Please note you will need to enroll in the next available session.

If I get an acceptance letter to another school can I stop attending the English Language Institute?

No, students must continue attending the English Language Institute and finish the session in good standing.

Applying to the University

How do I apply directly to California State University, Sacramento?

If you would like to attend California State University, Sacramento as an undergraduate or graduate student, you will need to complete the Cal State Apply online application form.

Click here to access Cal State Apply.

How do I learn more about the application process?

Visit the International admissions web page for more information on how to apply to California State University, Sacramento.

Conditional Admission

What does “conditional admission” mean?

Sacramento State offers conditional admission to undergraduate and graduate programs to students who are academically qualified but have not met Sacramento State’s English proficiency requirement at the time of application. These students are issued a conditional admission letter to Sacramento State and are required to attend the English Language Institute at Sacramento State or another Sacramento State-approved Intensive English Program until they meet the language requirement (IELTS or TOEFL).

How do I apply for conditional admission?

Please contact the International Programs & Global Engagement Office to learn more about the conditional admission process for California State University, Sacramento


Please visit the Program Fees page for more information.