International Student Enrollment Checklist

Welcome to Albion College!

There are still a few things left to do before you can call yourself a Briton! Review the list below to be sure you have completed all steps.

Get your F-1 Visa

Contact Dena in the International Student Services Office at [email protected] with any questions about these F-1 visa requirements.

I-20 Certificate of Eligibility Toggle Accordion

All international students requiring an F1 student visa must upload the following documents into their Briton Bound accounts in order to receive an I-20 Certificate of Eligibility from Albion College:

  • Completed I-20 Request Form
  • Copy of Passport Biography page (Please submit this document as a PDF)
  • Funding Options (Please submit this document as a PDF)
    • Personal Funds: bank statement issued within the last 6 months showing adequate liquid funds
    • Sponsor: Sponsor’s Statement and Bank Statement in sponsor’s name showing adequate liquid funds
    • Government Scholarship: A scholarship letter issued by the governing authority

Please review your I-20 to make sure all of the information on it is correct. If you have any questions, please contact [email protected].

Financial Documentation Toggle Accordion

Please show all sources of your financial support and ensure that the sum equals or exceeds the estimated expenses (includes tuition and fees, as well as living expenses) for yourself and any dependents.

All financial documentation must meet the following requirements:

Bank Statements:

  • The bank statement must be in English and on original bank letterhead
  • The statement must be less than 6 months old at the time of I-20 issuance
  • Must clearly state the account holder’s name in English
  • Must clearly list the currency of the funds in the account (if not U.S. dollars) in English
  • Must be a type of Liquid Account (Checking, Savings, Deposit, etc.)
  • Must show the balance of the account
  • Must show the date of issuance

Loan Sanction Letters:

  • The statement must be in English and on Bank/Institution letterhead
  • The loan must be Sanctioned, In-Principle Sanctioned, or approved
  • The Date of Issuance must be within 6 months of date of I-20 issuance
  • The letter must state the principal amount of loan being given
  • All borrowers/co-borrowers must hand sign the Albion College Statement of Financial Support 

Salary Statements:

  • The statement must be on the official company letterhead.
  • The statement must be signed by someone with signatory authority, such as Human Resources .
  • The sponsor’s name must be visible on the statement.
  • Salary statements must show the amount of money your sponsor makes per year. We can apply up to one third of the total annual base salary towards the required funding for your I-20.
  • Must have an issuance date no older than 6 months from the date the DSO advisor reviews your financial documents.
  • The statement must be in English.

Government Organization:

If your education is being sponsored by a governmental organization,  you must provide:

  • A letter from the governmental organization on official letterhead. 

Please note: that the processing of your I-20 request may be significantly delayed if your financial documentation does not meet these requirements.

Financial sources must be readily available liquid assets, such as:

  • Checking or savings accounts
  • Money market accounts
  • Certificates/term deposits/fixed deposits with maturity dates no later than the program start date or stating that funds can be withdrawn at anytime
  • Educational loans (a loan application is not sufficient)
  • Benevolent account
  • Current account
  • University scholarships

The following are examples of sources that are NOT acceptable:

  • Investment portfolios (Examples: stocks, bonds, mutual funds)
  • Business accounts
  • Retirement plans
  • Public provident funds
  • Available lines of credit
  • Wire transfers
  • Deeds to real estate
  • Leases with rental income
  • Salary agreements or paystubs
  • Material items (examples: livestock, land, jewelry, fur)
  • Income tax forms

SEVIS I-901 Fee Toggle Accordion

Before you apply for your visa, you must use the SEVIS I-901 website to pay your I-901 fee the US Department of Immigration and Customs Enrforcement.

Your “SEVIS ID” number is a 10 digit number that starts with “N” and is on the top left hand corner of your I-20.  The SEVIS I-901 fee is paid directly to DHS and is used to cover their SEVIS operational costs.  All new students or scholars who have been issued an I-20 or DS-2019 form will be required to pay the SEVIS fee (in addition to the other visa application fees).

Pay your SEVIS I-901 fee

DS-160 Visa Application Toggle Accordion

You will apply for a US F-1 Visa using this online DS-160 FormWatch an overview of the online application process and read Frequently Asked Questions about the DS-160 if you have questions.

Below are suggested answers you are welcome to use when you fill out this form. Please be aware that you are ultimately responsible for the accuracy of information you provide in this form.

  • If you do not have family in the United States, use this point of contact and address:  Dena Reuben, Albion College, 611 E. Porter St., Albion, MI 49224.
  • When asked for the person paying for your trip, list your primary source of funding as it appears on your I-20/DS-2019.

Schedule your F-1 Student Visa appointment Toggle Accordion

Schedule your F-1 Student Visa appointment with the US embassy closest to you.  Note:

  • If you cannot find a visa appointment: the US consulate websites refresh daily to reflect new cancellations; please check the website daily to find an availability.
  • If visa appointment wait times are long: consider going to a consulate in your country of citizenship with a shorter wait time.
  • Albion College does not have direct contact with US embassies or consulates: each has their own internal procedures and set of requirements. You are responsible for working directly with the consulate/Embassy to complete all visa application steps.
  • You must take responsibility in submitting all visa application materials on time. If you submit an incomplete/incorrect application or submit your materials late, it may not be possible to obtain your visa in time for the start of the semester, which jeopardizes your participation in the program.

Tips for a Successful Visa Interview Toggle Accordion

Ties To Your Home Country

Under U.S. law, all applicants for nonimmigrant visas, such as student visas, are viewed as intending immigrants until they can convince the consular officer that they are not. You must therefore be able to show that you have reasons for returning to your home country that are stronger than those for remaining in the United States. “Ties” to your home country are the things that bind you to your home town, homeland, or current place of residence: job, family, financial prospects that you own or will inherit, investments, etc.


Anticipate that the interview will be conducted in English and not in your native language. One suggestion is to practice English conversation with native speakers before the interview, but do NOT prepare speeches!

Speak For Yourself

Do not bring parents or family members with you to the interview. The consular officer wants to interview you, not your family.

Know The Program And How It Fits Your Career Plans

If you are not able to articulate the reasons you will study in a particular program in the United States, you may not succeed in convincing the consular officer that you are indeed planning to study, rather than to immigrate. You should also be able to explain how studying in the U.S. relates to your future professional career when you return home.

Be Brief

Because of the volume of applications received, all consular officers are under considerable time pressure to conduct a quick and efficient interview. They must make a decision, for the most part, on the impressions they form during the first minute of the interview. Keep your answers to the officer’s questions short and to the point.

Additional Documentation

It should be immediately clear to the consular officer what written documents you are presenting and what they signify. Lengthy written explanations cannot be quickly read or evaluated. Remember that you will have 2-3 minutes of interview time, if you’re lucky.

Not All Countries Are Equal

Applicants from countries suffering economic problems or from countries where many students have remained in the U.S. as immigrants will have more difficulty getting visas. Statistically, applicants from those countries are more likely to be intending immigrants. They are also more likely to be asked about job opportunities at home after their study in the U.S..


Your main purpose in coming to the United States should be to study, not for the chance to work before or after graduation. While many students do work off-campus during their studies, such employment is incidental to their main purpose of completing their U.S. education. You must be able to clearly articulate your plan to return home at the end of your program.

Dependents Remaining At Home

If your spouse and children are remaining behind in your country, be prepared to address how they will support themselves in your absence.

Maintain a Positive Attitude

Do not engage the consular officer in an argument. If you are denied a student visa, ask the officer for a list of documents he or she would suggest you bring in order to overcome the refusal, and try to get the reason you were denied in writing.

Complete Your Albion Forms

Contact Lauren in the Office of Admissions at 517-629-0440 or [email protected] with any questions about these Albion requirements.

Submit Your Enrollment Deposit Toggle Accordion

After you receive your Albion College I-20, you must submit a New Student Deposit through your Briton Bound account to secure your place at Albion College. After you pay your deposit, you will get access to the additional steps below.

Your deposit will be applied to your first semester tuition bill after you arrive on campus.

Secure Your Housing Toggle Accordion

As a four-year residential college, Albion provides a range of on-campus housing options.  Complete the Housing form in your Briton Bound account to begin your housing assignment process.  Learn about Albion’s communities, and move-in and move-out expectations.

For questions about living at Albion, see the Office of Community Living’s  information for new students or contact them by email at [email protected] or by phone at +1-517-629-0224.

Complete Your Enrollment Forms Toggle Accordion

All students are required to complete their enrollment forms located on your Briton Bound account.  If you don’t complete the assessment in a timely manner, you may experience a delay in receiving your completed class schedule.

Complete your Albion Arrival Form Toggle Accordion

Complete the “Albion Arrival Form” in Briton Bound account after you have purchased your plane ticket.  This will save your place at orientation, for your airport pickup, and to meet your global peer advisors.

Reserve your plane ticket to arrive at the Detroit Airport (DTW) before 6pm on August 17 for fall 2024 new students.  CIE offers free airport pickups at noon and 6pm that day, otherwise you must make your own arrangements by completing a Campus Shuttle Transportation FormAbion does not offer an early check-in to your campus housing.  If you arrive before that day, find a place to stay near the DTW airport, many nearby hotels have free airport shuttles.  Then return to the airport on Sunday for your airport pickup, where we will get you settled into campus.

Pay Your First Semester Bill Toggle Accordion

Your first semester’s tuition bill will be due by the first day of classes for your semester.  Before you leave your home country, prepare to transfer your first semester’s charges to Albion College.

How much do I owe? 

Look on your I-20 form under the “Financials” section.  Add the “personal funds” and “funds from another source” amounts and divide by 2.  This is a close estimate to your first semester costs, and will be sufficient for your first payment.

What are the options to pay my fees?  

  1. TransferMate.  Recommended, as it offers favorable exchange rates, and reduces hiccups with transferring money from other countries to the US.
  2. E-Check. 

For further details on billing, visit the Billing Information page of the Student Accounting Office’s website or contact Nathan Isaacs at [email protected].

Prepare for Health Insurance Toggle Accordion

All Albion College enrolled international students holding or pending an F1, F2, J1, or J2 immigration status are required to maintain health insurance for all semesters in which they are physically present in the United States.  Albion provides this coverage, under the international student health insurance plan.  You will see the charge for this insurance plan every semester on your Albion tuition bill.

Albion’s Student Health Insurance Policy provides more details on this requirement.

If you have other coverage that meets or exceeds the minimum requirements, contact Amanda Ewers at [email protected] to discuss waiving the Albion insurance.

Come to the US

Contact Dena in the International Student Services Office at [email protected] with any questions about these arrival details.

Packing and Preparing Toggle Accordion

Packing list suggestions for international students.

Get a US Sim Card before you leave your country! This gives you a US phone number to use as soon as you arrive in the US. Several companies provide free Sim cards, such as CampusSims.

Use your Albion College “Kellogg Center” box number to mail a pillow, sheets, and comforter to Albion College so it is here when you arrive!

Traveling to the US Toggle Accordion

The following documents are required/ recommended when coming to the U.S. and requesting an F-1 or J-1 visa status. Bringing these documents will minimize the risk of delays, additional questions, or denial at the U.S. port of entry.

  • Valid passport with an expiration date that is at least six months beyond the date you will re-enter the U.S.
  • Valid F-1 or J-1 visa (Canadian citizens are exempt of the visa requirement)
  • Original and updated I-20 or DS-2019
  • Official or unofficial transcripts
  • Albion College catalog description of your major
  • Proof of financial support
At the US Border/ Airport:

If you are missing any of the required documents when you are entering the U.S. you may be allowed to enter the U.S. temporarily. USCIS may issue you a Form I-515A, “Notice to Student or Exchange Visitor.” If you receive an I-515A it is important that you respond in a timely manner. If you do not properly respond, you are at risk for status termination.

After arrival, review your immigration record by logging into the CBP I-94 site. This will tell you your immigraiton status, and the length of time you are allowed to stay in the US.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officers have the authority to search any and all electronic devices such as mobile phones and laptops brought into the U.S. at a port of entry. In addition, CBP also has the authority to search the social media accounts of individuals entering the US if deemed necessary.

If you miss a connecting flight or have difficulty when in U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, contact Albion College at +1-517-629-0392 during the day, or if it is after 5 p.m. call Albion College Campus Safety at +1-517-629-1234 — a Campus Safety representative will then get in touch with our Designated School Official.

Airport Pickups Toggle Accordion

International Student Move-In Date of August 17:  International Students are expected to arrive to Albion College on August 17th to move into their dorm and attend the mandatory Fall 2024 Global Brits Student Orientation.  If you arrive in the United States before August 17th, plan to reserve a hotel room until the August 17th move-in date.

Limited Free Airport Shuttle on August 17:  Albion will offer 2 free airport shuttles from the Detroit (DTW) airport to Albion College on August 17th.  The first leaves the DTW airport at 12 noon, the second leaves the DTW airport at 4pm.  If you are not able to be at the DTW airport for a free shuttle, you will be expected to pay for your own ride to campus, approximately $125 through the paid Campus Shuttle.

New degree-seeking and exchange international students will arrive at the Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW) before the first day of class. Register for a campus pickup by completing the Airport Pickup Form in your Albion portal. Contact [email protected] with questions. This is open to new degree-seeking and exchange international students only.

If you arrive to the DTW airport outside of the free Airport Shuttle hours, arrange your own way to campus using the Shuttle Transportation form and pay the accompanying fee. Taxis, buses, trains, or other public transportation options are not available directly from the DTW airport to Albion, as it is a 77 mile/124 kilometer distance.

Orientation Toggle Accordion

Global Brits Orientation 2024: August 17 – 21

Albion-O Orientaiton 2024: August 21-25.

Orientation is where you’ll have the chance to meet fellow classmates, register for classes, and familiarize yourself with college resources.  All new F-1 international students are required to attend 2 orientations:  Global Brits Orientation (for international students only) and Albion-O (for all new students).

Global Brits Orientation (before Albion-O).  The Global Brits Student Orientation matches new international students with upper-classers to discuss topics unique to international students. The orientation will cover a range of topics including Academic Success in the US, Culture Shock, Health and Safety, Legal Matters, and Social Life. We will ease your transition and provide help with course registration, campus activities, opening a bank account, mobile phones, and shopping trips.  In addition, you will be matched with Global Brits Peer Advisers, upper-class students who will help you get acclimated and connected to Albion’s international student community.

Albion-O is required for all students.  It begins immediately after the Global Brits Orientation ends.