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How to Apply - International - Next Steps

Here are more important details for international students who decide to apply for admission to SF State.

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Check Application Status Online

A student who has submitted an online application will be sent an important email from the university with an assigned SF State ID number and information about how to set up an account password. With the ID number and password, students can log in to their Student Center (through the SF State Gateway) to see their “To Do List” for documents required for the admission process. A YouTube video is available to explain how to log in to your Student Center.

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Housing in San Francisco can be challenging and it is best to start this process early. Students interested in living on campus are strongly encouraged to fill out a housing application before being admitted to the University. Applications for on-campus housing are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. Please see the University Housing Web site for more information about on-campus housing. You can also visit the following link for additional housing resources: oip.sfsu.edu/f1/new/housing.

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Accept Admission Offer

Newly admitted students who plan to attend San Francisco State must accept their Admission Offer during the following periods:

  • If admitted for the Spring semester: between November 1 and December 2
  • If admitted for the Fall semester: between April 1 and May 1
  • Students admitted after these periods have two weeks after their date of admission to accept the Admission offer

For more information, including frequently asked questions, go to Accept Admission Offer.

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Prepare for Arrival: Information for Admitted Students

Students who are admitted and plan to attend San Francisco State University can visit our page for Admitted Students to start working on the next important steps.

Students who are planning to be in F-1 status for their studies at SF State should view the page for New International Students.

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How to Obtain a Form I-20

For student who plan to enter the U.S. in F-1 status, the Form I-20 (Certificate of Eligibility) cannot be issued by SF State until the student shows proof of full financial support for one year of study at SF State. A financial statement must show that the student has the cost of living and studying at SF State for two semesters in deposit at a financial institution in the U.S. or foreign country. The estimated total tuition, fees, and living expenses are available in the Costs and Fees section.

Below are the documents required before SF State can issue the I-20. These documents may be submitted by mail or by email to ugintl@sfsu.edu as .pdf attachments.

  1. Financial Affidavit Form

    Complete the Financial Affidavit Form. Students may display financial support in any combination of personal or sponsored funding. A bank letter, monthly statement, or award letter should be included as proof of finances (see below for more information).

  2. Proof of Finances
    • A bank letter or monthly statement must be issued by a financial institution.
    • The date issued should be no earlier than June 1st for Spring applications or October 1st for Fall applications.
    • The document should also include the account owner’s name, account balance, and type of currency.
    • If the document is not in English, a certified English translation should be submitted along with the foreign language document.
    • Students receiving a scholarship from a government, employer, or organization can provide a signed award letter on the organization’s letterhead detailing the amount of funding and term of sponsorship.
  3. Sponsor (if applicable)

    A sponsor is a person willing to financially support the student while he or she is studying at SF State. The sponsor must submit a letter indicating willingness to support the student, signed and dated by the sponsor, or the sponsor may sign and date the Sponsor Agreement section on the Financial Affidavit Form. In addition, the sponsor must submit her/his proof of finances (see above for requirements) and attach it to the letter or Financial Affidavit Form.

  4. Copy of Passport

    Applicants should provide a copy of the biographical page of the passport to verify the name and date of birth before issuing the I-20.

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Transfer I-20

F-1 international students who are studying at other U.S. institutions, have maintained F-1 status, and it has been no more than 5 months since the last date of attendance or the last day of OPT, may be able to transfer to SF State without applying for a new visa. However, these students still need to submit the Financial Affidavit Form, proof of finances, sponsor agreement (if applicable), and a copy of the passport. After these documents have been submitted, please visit the I-20 Transfer Procedures page for instructions on obtaining the transfer I-20.

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California Residency

To be eligible for California residency for tuition purposes, an applicant must be either a U.S. citizen or permanent resident (Green Card holder) or have a visa that allows residency, and have maintained residency in California at least one year. F and J visa holders are not eligible for California residency. Under California law, nonresidents are required to pay nonresident tuition. For more information regarding California residency, please visit the Residency page.

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Financial Loans or Scholarships

There are scholarships available to continuing and currently enrolled international students at SF State. International students are not eligible for United States federal or state financial aid. For more information: oip.sfsu.edu/financialassistance.

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SF State E-Mail Account

Admitted students will automatically have an SF State e-mail account generated for them. Information about your created account will be communicated to the email account submitted on your CSU Mentor application after you Accept your Admission Offer.

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