Initial Overseas Students

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Ready to join our family? Applying to CWC is easy, and we’re here to guide you every step of the way. Here’s what you’ll need to get started:

  1. Application Form. You can complete the form:
    • Online
    • By downloading the form and faxing, mailing or emailing it to us at:
      Columbia West College
      3435 Wilshire Blvd., Ste #1700
      Los Angeles, CA 90010
      (213) 368-3903 (Fax)
    • In-person at our campus
  2. Copy of university or high school diploma, GED certificate or equivalent OR transcript
  3. Copies of your financial statement(s). Acceptable financial statements include tax returns and bank statements. Your financial statement(s) must be dated within the last 3 months and show a balance of at least $4,500 for a 3-month Form I-20, $9,000 for a 6-month Form I-20 and $18,000 for a 1-year Form I-20
  4. Copy of passport
  5. Paying your Application and Mailing Fees. After you’ve submitted your application, you’ll need to pay your application and document mailing fees.
    • Application Fee (non-refundable) – $150
    • Document mailing fee (non-refundable) – $75

    We offer 4 convenient payment options to choose from:

    • PayPal: Go to our online payment page, where you can pay with PayPal.
    • Credit Card: You can give us your credit card information over the phone by calling (213) 368-3900. You can also fill out our Credit Card Payment Form, and send it to us by mail, fax or e-mail. We accept Visa, MasterCard and American Express.
      Columbia West College
      3435 Wilshire Blvd., Ste #1700
      Los Angeles, CA 90010
      (213) 368-3903 (Fax)
    • Check or International Money Order: Personal checks drawn on a U.S. bank are accepted, although cashier’s checks are preferred. You can usually get an international money order from your local post office or bank. Mail your check or money order to Columbia West College, 3435 Wilshire Blvd., Ste #1700 Los Angeles, CA 90010 USA.
    • Bank Wire Transfer: Contact us for details if you want to wire your payment to our bank account. Please remember that you’re responsible for paying all wire transfer fees.
  6. Receiving Your Documents. Once we receive your payment, we will express mail all the documents (Form I-20 and your welcome packet, which includes your official acceptance letter) you’ll need to apply for an F-1 student visa at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your country.You should receive your documents in about 2 weeks, but it may take more or less time, depending upon the country. If you want your documents sooner, you can choose to have them delivered by FedEx or DHL for an additional charge. Please contact us for details and pricing information.

After you receive your documents, you’ll need to apply for your F-1 student visa. The process is generally the same all over the world, but the exact details may vary from country to country. Here are the basic steps:

  1. Pay SEVIS fee. Visit the SEVIS I-901 fee website to learn more about the SEVIS I-901 fee and make your payment online. Follow the instructions carefully, and please be sure to print out and keep a copy of the receipt for your records.
  2. Complete Application Forms and Schedule Interview. Visit the U.S. Embassy website for nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate located in your country. Once there, you’ll need to:
    • Contact the embassy (or consulate) to schedule an interview using the information found on your Form I-20
    • Fill out your visa application form(s) (Online Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application, Form DS-160) and
    • Follow the instructions on the website to pay your visa application fee. Please be sure to get a copy of the receipt for your records.

    Student visa applications are given priority by the U.S. government, so the wait time for an interview appointment is usually very short, often just a few days. You can check the wait times for interview appointments and visa processing time information for each U.S. Embassy or Consulate worldwide here.

  3. Prepare for the Interview
    • Watch this video for some excellent insider tips on how to prepare for the visa interview.
    • Gather the following documents, and make sure your name is spelled correctly and appears the same on all your documents.
      • Passport (should be valid for at least 6 months past the end of your intended period of study)
      • Form I-20
      • Form I-901 SEVIS fee payment receipt
      • Official CWC acceptance letter
      • Financial statements (e.g., tax returns and bank statements)
      • Form DS-160 confirmation page
      • MRV visa application fee receipt
      • Diploma and transcripts (required by some U.S. Embassies)
      • Photo (required by some U.S. Embassies)
  4. Go to the Interview. Don’t forget to bring your documents with you to the interview. During the interview, you should be prepared to answer questions about:
    • Your English language skills
    • Academic background
    • Plans to study English at CWC, including the reasons why you want to study English in the United States
    • Ability to pay for your studies and living expenses
    • Strong ties to your home country (proof that you intend to leave the United States when you complete your studies, such as a job, school, family ties or home ownership)

For more information on the visa application process, you can also visit the following websites:


After receiving your F-1 Student Visa, please keep in mind when you are making your travel arrangements that you may enter the United States up to 30 days before the course of study start/report date shown on your Form I-20.

Also, please be prepared to show the following documents to the Customs and Border Protection officer when you enter the United States:

  1. Passport with F-1 student visa
  2. Form I-20
  3. Form I-901 SEVIS fee payment receipt
  4. Official CWC acceptance letter
  5. Financial statements (e.g., tax returns and bank statements)

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) no longer gives out paper Form I-94s (Arrival-Departure Record) when you enter the United States. Instead, CBP will stamp your passport with an admission stamp that shows the date of admission, class of admission and admitted until date. If you need your Form I-94 for any reason, you can get a copy at

We recommend that you visit the CWC campus at least seven (7) days before the study start/report date shown on your Form I-20 to complete the registration process. Please remember to bring the following:

  1. Form I-20
  2. Passport
  3. F-1 Student Visa
  4. Your local address in the United States
  5. Payment for tuition and remaining fees

During your visit, you will be completing the remainder of your enrollment forms and taking an English placement examination to assess your current level of English language proficiency. You will receive your test results during your appointment, and your class assignments will be based upon the scores you achieve on this examination.

You will also be participating in a student orientation before you begin your classes. The orientation is designed to familiarize you with our school policies, curriculum and activities, as well as to provide you with valuable tips and resources to help you make the most of your study abroad experience. Attending the orientation will give you a great head start on the road to success at Columbia West College and help you to adjust more quickly to life in Los Angeles.


We also work with agents in many different countries. If you prefer to have your application process handled by an agent, please contact us for more details.

For questions or assistance, you can always call the school at (213) 368-3900 or e-mail us at

We hope you have a pleasant trip to Los Angeles. See you on campus!