International Students

Southern Virginia University welcomes international students. Because foreign applications often take more time and effort to prepare and process, review the requirements for application carefully. Be sure to plan for enough time to prepare the application, secure finances, receive an I-20, and obtain a visa. If you have questions, please contact your admissions advisor.

Canadian students can apply to the university using the same application procedures as American students. They are required, however, to comply with our Visa Requirements.

Additional Application Requirements for International Students

International students outside the U.S. and Canada seeking admission to Southern Virginia University must comply with the following steps in addition to the normal application process:

$255 Administration Fee

Students outside of the United States and Canada are required to pay a non-refundable $255 administration fee. This fee will be fully applied to their first semester of tuition. The application cannot be accepted until this fee is paid.

Transcript Evaluation

In addition to their transcript, students applying to Southern Virginia from outside the U.S. or Canada are required to submit to the university an evaluation of foreign academic credits by a recognized foreign credential evaluation service as part of their application process. Recommended transcript evaluation services include:

World Education Services
Bowling Green Station, P.O. Box 5087, New York, NY 10274-5087
212-966-6311, 212-739-6100 (fax)

International Educations Services, One Dupont Cir. NW Suite # 520, Washington, DC 20036-1135
202-293-9161, 202-822-3940 (fax)

International Education Research Foundation
P.O. Box 3665, Culver City, CA 90231-3655
310-258-9451, 310-342-7086 (fax)

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)

All international students whose primary language is not English are required to submit scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) before being accepted by Southern Virginia University. The TOEFL score serves as an academic performance indicator similar to the ACT or SAT.

TOEFL scores must be received directly from the Educational Testing Service (ETS). Applicants taking the TOEFL exam must take all three sections of the exam: listening comprehension, structure and written expression, and vocabulary and reading comprehension.

Students should score at least the following:

Exceptional students with lower TOEFL scores may be admitted but will be required to secure ESL tutoring. The cost of any required tutoring in English as a second language must be borne by the student. Since the university does not currently sponsor ESL tutoring, students must rely on their own initiative to identify potential sources of such training.

Student Visa Requirements

International students who wish to study at Southern Virginia University need an SVU I-20 form, an F-1 student visa, and a valid passport. Once the student has been accepted to the university and has made satisfactory payment arrangements, the Registrar’s Office will issue the I-20 form. Upon receipt of this form, the student must pay the SEVIS I-901 fee and apply for an F-1 visa.

Paying the SEVIS I-901 Fee

First-time international students must pay a $200 SEVIS I-901 fee prior to their visa interview. We recommend that students apply for the I-901 and pay the fee online at to expedite this process. Be sure to print a receipt from this site when the payment has been made.

Applying for a Student Visa

Prospective nonimmigrant students must apply to the local U.S. consulate for an F-1 visa and schedule an interview. Students are instructed to bring the following documents to their appointment:

  1. The signed Form I-20
  2. Evidence that the SEVIS I-901 fee has been paid
  3. A signed passport, valid for at least six months after the date of entry into the United States
  4. A Form DS-156, Nonimmigrant Visa Application Resource Document: DS-156 with photo
  5. A Form DS-157A, Supplemental Nonimmigrant Visa Application Resource Document: DS-157
  6. A Form DS-158A, Contact Information and Work History for Nonimmigrant Visa Applicant Resource Document: DS-158
  7. Transcripts and diplomas from previous institutions
  8. Scores from standardized tests, such as the TOEFL, SAT, and ACT
  9. Financial evidence of sufficient funds to cover tuition and living expenses for at least the first year of study

Prospective nonimmigrant students from visa exempt countries (such as Canada) will need to bring their documentation to the Point of Entry (POE) and apply for entry as an F-1 nonimmigrant student.

Registration and Completion Requirements

International students are required to report to the Registrar’s Office within one week of arrival on campus.

All international students in attendance must register for and complete at least 12 credit hours during the fall and spring terms or 6 credit hours during a May or June term.


Students with an F-1 visa are only allowed by law to work on campus. They must also not work more than 20 hours per week while school is in session. Students will need to apply for a temporary social security number for payroll purposes. Please contact the Registrar’s Office for more information.

Additional Questions and Contact Information

For additional questions and concerns, please contact the Primary Designated School Officer (PDSO) for international students:

Whitney Larsen
Registrar and PDSO
Phone: 540-261-8530
Fax: 1-540-266-3554