Menu

International Student Services

  • International Student Services Welcomes You

    An international student studies on a non-immigrant visa.  At Erie Community College International Student Services, we are here to help our international students every step of the way and extend a warm welcome to you. As a student, you will receive information and advice on the application process, U.S. immigration regulations, cultural adjustment, and academic and personal support.

    As a member of the State University of New York (SUNY) family of institutions, ECC is part of the largest public university system in the USA. Students can discover a field of study from among over 100 educational programs options at the college.

    In addition, Buffalo has been rated #1 on housing affordability by Forbes.com and great food by Travel and Leisure magazine. Most recently, according to TrendingBuffalo.com, Buffalo has earned the top spot on a list of U.S. cities with the best weather. This area offers year-round activities with our lakefront beaches, winter sports and cultural events.

  • Apply now!

    Start today with no application fee. Here is what you need to know to apply:


    1. Language Proficiency

      English Proficiency Exam: Prior to an international student’s acceptance at the college, the applicant must demonstrate English proficiency by taking the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language), and scoring a minimum of 48 internet-based (460 paper-based or 140 computer-based). An IELTS (International English Language Testing System) score of 5.5 is also acceptable.

      • Erie Community College school code for TOEFL is 2228 and the link is www.ets.org/toefl. The IELTS link is www.ielts.org/
      • Attending South Campus: For acceptance into an academic program at ECC’s South Campus in Orchard Park, New York, TOEFL score must be 79 IBT (or equivalent) or higher; IELTS 6.5 or higher as there are no ESL courses available at South Campus.
      • Canadians: Canadian citizens attending an English language high school do not require TOEFL or IELTS but will be required to take ECC’s English placement test. 

      Required English Classes: All students with a TOEFL score less than 79 internet-based (550 paper-based or 213 computer-based) or IELTS score less than 6.5 are mandated to take EN132 Reading/Writing III and EN142 Oral/Aural III during the first semester at ECC.

    2. International Requirements

      Matriculation: All F-1 international students must be admitted into an academic degree or certificate program.

      Full-time Enrollment: All F-1 international students must maintain enrollment of at least 12 credit hours continuously throughout each entire semester. At least 9 credit hours must be in regular seated courses (not internet, hybrid, or distance learning courses). It is the student’s responsibility to abide by these regulations which must be treated seriously. Students not matriculated and maintaining full-time enrollment will be reported to the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) as out of status.

    3. Costs and Responsibility

      Tuition and Fees: The international student can expect to pay approximately $5,300 - $5,500 per semester for tuition and fees, plus books and insurance. International students must come prepared to pay the total fees by the date on their registration bill, prior to the start of classes. International students are not eligible for the Tuition Installment Plan (TIP).

      Mandatory Health Insurance: All F-1 international students will be billed separately for health/repatriation insurance offered through the college. The approximate cost is based on age and is billed per semester in September for the Fall semester (5 months of coverage) and in early February for the Spring semester (7 months of coverage) as follows:

      AgeFall Semester Cost
      (5 Months of Coverage August-December)
      Spring Semester Cost
      (7 Months of Coverage January-July)
      24 and under$230$322
      25-29$410$574
      30+$975$1365
      Dependents (any age)$2325$3255

      Adequate Finances: International students must demonstrate that they can adequately finance their stay in the United States without working. Financial sponsor documentation in the amount of $18,800 or more is required with the ECC application and for the U.S. Embassy when applying for an F-1 student visa. Additional funding is required for students with dependents. Financial aid is not available for international students.

      Employment – International students should budget their stay in the United States without employment, as employment opportunities are limited for F-1 international students, and are not guaranteed. The following types of employment are permitted by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for qualified students:

      Curricular Practical Training (CPT) - Curricular Practical Training is employment that is directly related to and an integral part of the established curriculum. The employment must be required for degree completion. The internship employment must be part of an official internship course in the curriculum that the student is currently enrolled in and for which there will be a grade issued. Not all internships are paid internships. To be eligible for CPT, the following conditions must be met:

      • Full-time completion of one academic year (not including summer session) in the current ECC academic program
      • Lawful F-1 status
      • Written approval of curriculum department head and approval of International Advisor
      • The student must not have used 12 months or more of full-time CPT or Optional Practical Training (OPT)
      • The student must apply to International Student Services at ECC according to CPT regulations

      CPT is strictly regulated and enforced by the USCIS.

      Optional Practical Training (OPT) - Optional Practical Training is employment directly related to the student’s curriculum that provides the student with practical training in the enrolled degree program field of study. To be eligible for OPT, the following conditions must be met:

      • Full-time completion of one academic year (not including summer session)
      • Lawful F-1 status
      • Written approval of curriculum department head and approval of International Advisor
      • The student must not have used 12 months or more of full-time CPT or OPT
      • The student must apply to International Student Services at ECC according to OPT regulations at least 6 weeks prior to the completion of the academic program

      OPT is strictly regulated and enforced by the USCIS.

      On-campus Employment - On-campus employment is not available the first semester, is extremely limited, and requires the successful completion of EN132 and EN142 (or placement into EN110). Employment is limited to departments on campus.

      Student Housing: Erie Community College does not have on-campus student housing. International Student Services can assist you with locating housing options or you may obtain options through an internet search.

      Transportation: Students receive a free bus pass to assist with transportation. For more information on student transportation visit https://www.ecc.edu/parking-transportation/.

    4. Application Process

      How Do I Apply?

      • Discover our wide variety of academic majors and programs.
      • After you have chosen your program, apply online. There is no fee.
      • Submit your documentation to International Student Services. To avoid processing delays due to incomplete, inaccurate or non-official documents, we recommend sending documents as they are completed. We will match them with your file. All applications will be treated equally according to order of receipt.
      • Once we have reviewed and approved all documents, you will be notified by email of your acceptance. We will issue a letter of acceptance and an I-20 Certificate of Eligibility for Non-immigrant (F-1) Student. There is a $200 US fee to activate the I-20.
      • You will need to apply for an F-1 visa at the US Embassy in your home country. You must obtain an F-1 visa prior to arriving in the United States at https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/study-exchange.html. Canadian students need not apply for an F-1 visa. The I-20 Certificate of Eligibility for Non-immigrant (F-1) Student is the document needed when crossing the Canada/United States border.
      • Once accepted, the international student has an obligation to comply with all immigration laws including maintaining lawful status, matriculation, full-time enrollment, and reporting change of address and change of program. For information on immigration law, go to www.uscis.gov. The student must make an appointment with International Student Services to have the I-20 endorsed each year prior to the signature date on the I-20. It is the student’s responsibility to comply with immigration laws and requirements. Violation of federal regulations will be reported to the government and will jeopardize the student’s U.S. visa.

      What Do I Need?

      You will need to submit the following documents to International Student Services:

      • Original high school diploma or graduation certificate - certified true copies also accepted with each page stamped and signed by the official. Regular copies or scans are not acceptable.
      • Original high school transcript showing classes taken and grades received - certified true copies also accepted with each page stamped and signed by the official. Regular copies or scans are not acceptable.
      • Proof of financial responsibility - Original signed letter on bank letterhead showing $18,800 (or equivalent) on account in name of sponsor or student with account number ( Sample Bank Letter) Bank statements are not acceptable; copies are not acceptable.
      • Proof of English language proficiency - TOEFL (48 or higher), IELTS (5.5 or higher)
      • A copy of your passport
      • Any other documents you feel would support your application.

      Transfer Students – You must also include:

      Canadian Students - If you live within 75 mi (120 km) of the border, you may commute and attend part time. The amount on the Proof of Financial Responsibility bank letter should be at least $10,600 USD. Canadian citizens attending an English language high school do not require TOEFL or IELTS but will be required to take ECC’s English placement test. Official SAT scores may waive you from the English or math portion of the Placement Test. Be sure to include this when sending your documents.

      Where Do I Send My Documents?

      All documents must be in English or accompanied by a notarized translation. Please send documentation and any translations by postal mail, courier service, or in person. Copies, faxes, and computer downloads are not acceptable and will delay application processing.

      Erie Community College, North Campus
      International Student Office
      6205 Main Street, Room G-155 
      Williamsville, New York 14221-7095
      USA

    5. Deadline Dates

      Application Deadline: To allow sufficient time for verification, processing, and issuing the I-20 Certificate of Eligibility, the following are the preferred deadlines:

      • Fall (September) Semester – June 30*
      • Spring (January) Semester – November 30*

      These deadlines allow applicants who are out of the United States additional time for the delivery of the I-20 Certificate of Eligibility and time to make an appointment at the US Embassy if they do not have a valid F-1 visa. Applications received after the preferred deadline will be processed as time allows. Applicants who are in the United States and have a valid F-1 visa may not need as much processing time. All applications are treated equally according to order of receipt. Applications received after the preferred deadline may not have sufficient processing time for the preferred semester.

      *Some academic programs such as Health Sciences (Dental Hygiene, Nursing, etc.) require advance submission of completed application. These programs are competitive, have limited enrollments, and may require pre-requisites. Acceptance is based on criteria such as grades and courses already taken. International Student Services does not guarantee acceptance into these programs. It is important to understand the conditions, dates, deadlines, and additional requirements for competitive, limited enrollment programs. For more information, visit Degrees and Certificates.

  • Frequently Asked Questions

    1. How do I obtain a student visa?

      1. Upon acceptance to ECC we will issue a letter of acceptance and an I-20 Certificate of Eligibility for Non-immigrant (F-1) Student.
      2. There is a $200 US fee to activate the I-20. Regulation requires all prospective F-1 students to pay the I-901 Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) Fee before the Department of State issues you a visa. To pay the I-901 SEVIS Fee, visit FMJfee.com. Watch the I-901 SEVIS Fee payment tutorial to learn about each step of the payment process.
      3. You will need to apply for an F-1 visa at the U.S. Embassy in your home country. Contact your local Embassy for information on applying.

      For more information, please visit Homeland Security - Study in the States.

    2. How will I adapt to living and studying in the U.S.?

      You will attend Orientation at the beginning of your first semester to learn about all the many resources available to enrich your learning experience at ECC and your living experience here in Western New York. Meet new friends and show future employers your interests and leadership potential by joining a campus club or association. The advisors at International Student Services are also available to assist you in your adjustment.
    3. What services are available to me after I am admitted?

      The professionals at International Services are here to assist you with any concern or question you may have during your time at ECC. Also, please visit the many on-campus student services, including a full-service library, bookstore, health services, tutoring support, including math learning centers and the English Skills Center. We welcome your questions and are here to help.
  • Need Help?

    International Student Services

    North Campus
    Gleasner Hall (Administration), Room 155
    6205 Main Street
    Williamsville, NY 14221
    P: (716) 851-1359
    Monday - Friday8:30 a.m. - 12 p.m.
    and 1 - 2:30 p.m.

  • Brenda Mbiabo

    You can start your success story at ECC.  Let us show you how.

    Why is Brenda smiling? A native of The Republic of Cameroon, West Africa, Ms. L. Brenda Mbiabo won the SUNY Chancellor’s award for Student Excellence and is the first international student to win the ECC President’s medal. A member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, and a student in the honors program graduating on the Dean’s list in the Liberal Arts and Science program, Brenda is a true ECC success story! She will be furthering her education with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Biology.