Saddleback College welcomes international students who are pursuing or hold an F-1 visa to join our vibrant academic community. To ensure a smooth transition and successful enrollment, please follow these steps for the international admissions process. Kindly email all required documents as PDF attachments to

International Students Admission Requirements

Once you have submitted all the required documents, you can expect to receive an email with your acceptance package within 7-10 business days. We look forward to welcoming you to Saddleback College!

NOTE: Picture files or screen shots will not be accepted.

When completing the online application, please select "F-1" as your visa type, even if you haven't yet received your visa.

Submit an online International Application

Please complete and submit the following:

International Student Application Supplement Form

Submit a bank statement from a checking or savings account, indicating a minimum balance of $30,000. This statement should serve as proof of financial support for your first year of study at Saddleback College. Ensure that all documents are in English and are not older than three months at the time of your application. Please note that we do not accept investment account statements as proof of funding.

Provide academic records equivalent to an American high school diploma or a higher degree. Transcripts or academic records in languages others than English must be translated and attested by a certified translation or credential evaluation service.

We accept students at all levels of English. 

If you have already taken an English Proficiency test (TOEFL, IELTS, etc.), you may be eligible for exemption from ESL courses at Saddleback.

Below is a list of which tests we accept.

  • TOEFL iBT - 52 overall (school code 4747)
  • IELTS - 5.0 overall
  • iTEP - 3.5
  • Cambridge English: 160 overall (B2 First, C1 Advanced)
  • Pearson: 41 overall
  • EIKEN - Grade 2A (Original test score reports are required for the EIKEN test)
  • GTEC CBT: 900
  • Duolingo: 80
  • SAT: 460 in Reading and Writing
  • ACT: 19 in Reading and English

If you have proof of English proficiency, please email the proof with the rest of your application documents.

If you have completed two years at any U.S. high school within the last five years and earned a cumulative 2.5 GPA are exempt from this requirement.
If you have a GPA of 2.0 or higher in English 1A or its equivalent at a college or university, please submit your transcript for review.

NOTE: If we do not receive a copy of your official score report or other demonstrated proficiency at the time of admission, you will be issued an I-20 for ESL. Upon completion of ESL or demonstrating English proficiency, you will be issued an Associate-level I-20.

Please provide a copy of the biographical page of your passport.

Transfer applicants currently studying in the US on an F-1 visa, the followings additional documents are required:

  • Copy of your F-1 Visa
  • Copy of your current I-20
  • Copy of your most recent I-94 document
  • Complete and submit a Confirmation of Status - F-1 Transfer-In Form

Important Information

Students, who are currently attending another institution and wish to take a few classes at Saddleback, please submit the following:

  1. Submit an Application. For Educational Goal choose #16 – 4 year college student taking courses to meet 4 year college requirements.
  2. A copy of your current I-20
  3. A copy of your passport information page
  4. A copy of your F-1 visa

High school students must submit a completed K-12 Special Admission Request Form; you must submit the completed form to the Admissions and Records’ office email:

The following are estimated expenses for one academic year (not including Summer sessions).

Tuition/Fees & Books Two Semesters/Annual
International Student Tuition: $492.00 per unit $11,808.00
Required Medical Health Insurance $2,260.00
Health Fee $52.00
Books, Housing, Transportation, Misc. Supplies $15,880
Total $30,000.00

The actual costs may vary.  All figures are in US dollars. Fees are subject to change by the State of California and the South Orange County Community College District.

There are multiple options for our international students to pay their tuition and fees.  We accept cash, check, credit card, and money order or you may pay using Flywire.

Payments made via Flywire would only be for those fees charged through MySite, which includes application fees and tuition related fees. The cost of books and student health insurance would not be included in the payment amount.

Phone: +1 800 346 9252

All international students are required to purchase the South Orange County Community College District-approved health insurance plan (SOCCCD Board Policy 5010). Outside health insurance plans are not accepted. 

Students will not have access to registration until the health insurance fee is paid.  Health insurance fees should be purchased AFTER the student is admitted to Saddleback College.

To purchase your health insurance plan online please visit the following link:

New students must first create an account.

Returning students may access their accounts with previously created email and password.

  • For questions regarding enrollment, or plan materials call Academic Health Insurance Services at (800) 537-1777 or email
  • For questions about ID card, claims, network directory, or benefits contact Aetna Life Insurance Company at (855) 236-2138 or visit

It is the responsibility of each student to be familiar with the immigration requirements related to their status. Following the guidelines below will help you to avoid violation of your F-1 status.

Effective August 9, 2018, USCIS updated policy regarding Unlawful Presence, which increases potential consequences for F-1 students who violate their status. The best way to avoid these consequences is to make sure you properly maintain your F-1 status while you are a student and during any F-1 post-completion training periods. Unlawful presence days begin accruing from the day you violated status and can impact your ability to return to the US in the future, including 3 or 10 year bars on re-entry (dependent on number of days accrued).

Basic Guidelines

  • Keep your passport valid for at least 6 months.
    Contact your home country's embassy in the U.S. for information about renewing your passport validity.
  • Keep your local address updated.
    Keep your local residential address current through MySite student account. It must be updated every time you move.
  • Maintain full-time enrollment.
    You must be enrolled in full-time units each semester. For immigration purposes, students must complete a minimum of 12 units per semester. Out of those 12 units, only 3 units or one course can be online (Absolutely NO exceptions).
  • Get the International Office approval before a withdrawal from Saddleback College.
    If for some reason you must reduce your enrollment below full-time units or withdraw from your program, you are required to have approval from the International Office before doing so.
  • Attend the school noted on your I-20.
    You must have a current, valid I-20 from the school you are attending full-time. If you transfer from another school to Saddleback College, or from Saddleback to another school, make sure you follow the proper procedure to transfer.
  • Keep your I-20 valid at all times.
    Your I-20 is only valid as long as you are a continuing, full-time student in your program, or on your approved post-completion training. If you graduate early, your I-20 will be shortened to the last day of your final semester of enrollment. You must notify the International Office of your early completion in order to avoid overstaying. If you need more time to complete your program, apply for an Extension of Program BEFORE the current completion date on your I-20. The completion date can be found on page one of the I-20 form under "Program End Date". You must also request a new I-20 if you change your major.
  • Get a travel endorsement.
    Before any international travel, obtain a travel signature from the International Office. Travel endorsements are valid for one year during the program of study, but ISO recommends to obtain a new signature every time you travel outside of the U.S.

    Exception: Travel endorsements during F-1 post-completion OPT/STEM are only valid for 6 months.
  • Be aware of your grace periods.
    You have a 60 day grace period at the end of your F-1 program. The grace period ends when you depart the U.S., or no later than 60 days after the end of the I-20 or your EAD card (if on OPT), whichever comes first.

    An F-1 student may enter the U.S. initially up to 30 days before, but no later than, the program start date on the I-20.

    An F-1 student may remain in the U.S. for up to 60 days beyond:
    • the completion of the program of study
    • the completion date of any authorized post-completion OPT.​​​​​​​
  • Get proper employment permission and follow employment reporting rules: 
    • On-campus employment - Students who successfully complete their first term with a minimum of 2.50 GPA are allowed to work on campus. Limit employment to 20 hours per week during the academic year. Employment on-campus may be full-time in the summer (if summer is not your first or last semester of enrollment) and vacation periods.
    • Off-campus employment - Work permission must be approved through the International Office and the USCIS. Be aware of employment authorization application procedures, eligibility, deadlines and rules for maintaining status during OPT.


Things to do Before You Arrive in the U.S.:

  • Receive and sign your Form I-20
    The I-20 is required to obtain your visa and enter the US. Currently, the I-20 forms are emailed to the students’ personal email.

    If you are a transfer student, contact your previous school to release your SEVIS record to Saddleback College.
  • Pay the I-901 SEVIS Fee (Initial Students Only)
    Pay at is external) print the receipt (Form I-901). Form I-901 is required to obtain your visa.
  • Apply for an F-1 visa
    Schedule a visa appointment at a U.S. Consulate or Embassy(link is external). Come prepared and check your new F-1 visa for any errors once you receive it.
  • Purchase Health Insurance
    All students are required to purchase health insurance prior to class registration. (See information above.)
  • Housing and Transportation
    Saddleback College does not offer housing or transportation.
  • Book your Travel to the U.S.
    Arrive in the U.S. no more than 30 days before the program stat date on your I-20! Carry your I-20, passport, F-1 visa, and I-901 receipt in your carry-on bags.

Things to do as Soon as You Arrive:

Update your U.S. address, phone number and emergency contacts on your MySite student account.

  • Sign-Up and Attend Orientation
    All Incoming international students are required to attend orientation. Please sign up for orientation and arrive on time. If you miss orientation, you must sign-up for a make-up session scheduled later in the semester.
  • Meet with an Academic Counselor
    An academic counselor will help you plan your academic goals and choose classes. Call or visit the ISO to request a counseling appointment.
  • Register for Classes – 12 units
    Choose classes as soon as possible and register on MySite. You must complete at least 12 units each fall and spring semester and no more than 1 online class. This includes enrollment in the Counseling 1 course (designed for International Students). To choose courses, view the Class Schedule.
  • Pay registration fees
    Online through MySite or in the Student Payment Office located on the 2nd floor of Student Services Center, SSC 208.

    24 hours after you register for classes, you may have your Student ID Card printed at the Admissions and Records Office. You should know and memorize your ID number. Note: When visiting the campus for any in-person services, please bring a Picture ID for verification.
  • TB (Tuberculosis) Test
    Schedule an appointment for a Tuberculosis (TB) test as soon as you arrive in the US by calling the Student Health Center at (949) 582-4606. The test will be given after the semester begins and you must provide the International Student Office with your results within the first 10 days of the start of the semester.

On-Campus Employment for F-1 Students

  • F-1 Visa students may get permission to work part-time during the fall and spring terms when work is available on the college campus for a maximum of 20 hours per week while school is in session. 
  • The employment must take place on school premises.
  • Students are required to complete their first semester of studies and must maintain minimum grade point average of 2.50.
  • If you were offered employment, your supervisor will need to provide you with a written job offer.
  • Meet with an immigration advisor. Your advisor will need your job offer and will prepare additional documents needed for you to visit the Social Security Administration Offices. You may NOT start work without a Social Security Card.
  • The International Student Office will provide our district human resource department with documentation that includes a formal approval for you to start work.
  • If you fail to maintain your full-time enrollment and academic standing your employment authorization will be terminated.

F-1 Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

CPT is an academic experience, and is not intended to be used for regular on-going off-campus work. Students should be mindful to keep all records of CPT and the academic work related to CPT, and how that employment is integral to the degree program. CPT is semester specific. Students must apply for each semester and enroll in proper CWE course.

To obtain CPT, a student must:

  • Be in valid F-1 immigration status for at least two full-time semesters (one academic year).
  • Secure an academically appropriate internship offer directly related to the student's field of study.
  • Have an academic plan that includes CWE (Cooperative work experience) and you are pursuing a major that offers CWE in the current catalog.
  • Obtain CPT authorization BEFORE beginning employment; authorization cannot be back-dated.

F-1 Optional Practical Training (OPT)

Optional Practical Training (OPT) is 12-month work authorization available to F-1 international students who have been full-time students for at least two consecutive semesters and plan to seek employment in the United States in their fields of study. OPT is an employment benefit of a student's F-1 status and is generally applied for in a student's last semester.

A job offer is not required to apply for OPT. However, be aware that during your 12-month OPT period, you are only allowed a cumulative total of 90 days of unemployment. If you accumulate 90 days or more of unemployment, you are in violation of your F-1 status. You are expected to leave the U.S., transfer to another school or start studying a new program before the 90th day.

To be eligible for OPT, students must:

  • Be in full-time F-1 status for at least one academic year. 
  • Be seeking employment in the major field of study listed on their current I-20.
  • Be completing their program of study at Saddleback College. 
  • Be physically present in the United States at time of the application to USCIS.

When to Apply for OPT:

  • You can apply for OPT up to 90 days before and up to 60 days after your expected program completion date.
  • In addition, USCIS must receive your application within 30 days of when the DSO recommends your I-20 for OPT.
  • You must be physically present in the United States at the time USCIS receives your OPT application.
  • For more details, please contact the International Student Office

All international students and their dependents present in the U.S. during any part of the previous calendar year are responsible for filing annual tax forms (often called "tax returns" because you may get some money back). Filing tax forms is required for all F visa holders, including dependents.  This is a requirement even if you did not work or earn income in the U.S.

External Tax Resources

Although Saddleback International Office does not advise on individuals' tax matters, we want to help you find the resources you need. Listed below are some additional resources to assist you:

Internal Revenue Service

California Franchise Tax Board

Additional Tax Services for Nonresidents

More Information/Forms


Saddleback College does not offer dormitories or on-campus housing. However, international students have two housing options: homestay or apartments. 

Our students can live with local host families. There are companies that provide host family/homestay placement services in the local area. Second, our students can find a wide variety of off-campus apartments located near the college as well as nearby communities. Please review the information below for more information regarding your housing options!

Homestay Programs

A homestay program is a great option for international students. Arrangements are made for international students to live with local hosts/ families during their studies. In a homestay program, you will typically have your own room, but join the family for meals and learn about the American culture and traditions. This accommodation is the most popular among international students as they are very welcoming and assist in an easy transition. 

View the List of Homestay Agencies.


If you are looking to live alone or with another person where you have a more private living space an apartment is a great option. In an apartment you will have a kitchen, bathroom, your own room and many more necessities essential for being able to live comfortably while you are studying abroad. There are a wide variety of apartment complexes near Saddleback College that offer great accommodations.

View the List of Apartment Complexes.

Support Schedule

We are available to support you via email at Please provide your student number and full legal name in your email.

Please email to make an appointment to chat by zoom.

Zoom Chat Link (PC, Mac, Linux, iOS, or Android)

(949) 582-4637

  • Monday - Thursday: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
  • Friday: 9 a.m. - 12 p.m.

SSC 107

  • Monday - Thursday: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
  • Friday: 9 a.m. - 12 p.m.