International Students

Information and Resources for International Students (F-1 Visa)

Welcome to the Central’s International Students page.  Here, you will find forms, links, and information to guide and advise you during your studies at Central.

NOTE: All forms and documents can be submitted to the International Student Office by using the contact form below.

Important Forms

Here are some online forms for our current F-1 VISA Students:

Current students can also find many more forms related to enrollment status in the Populi student information system.

Visa Interview Preparation Information


Most F1 visa interview questions will be related to these questions, so be ready to answer:

  • Your study plans
  • Your university choice
  • Your academic capability
  • Your financial status
  • Your post-graduation plans

Practice and be prepared for the interview in English, but don’t just memorize your answers.

Keep your answers short and to the point. (Interview time is 2 -3 minutes)

Make sure to contact the embassy or consulate BEFORE your interview. Ask them what documents you will need for your interview. Be sure to have all of the required documents and receipts.


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

You may be nervous, but the consular officer wants to see how excited you are to study in the U.S. Show your enthusiasm!

Be ready to describe what, why, and where you plan to study.

Do not argue with the consular officer.

If you are denied a student visa, ask the officer for a list of documents he/she would suggest you bring to overcome the refusal.

If you are denied, be sure to request a written explanation for the denial. This will help you plan for another interview if you decide to reapply.


If you cannot articulate why 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 immigrate. You should also be able to explain how studying in the United States will affect your future professional career in your home country.

Here are some questions you might be asked as part of your interview:

  • Why do you want to study in the US?
  • Why do you want to quit your job and study abroad? (Especially for people of marriageable age)
  • What will you specialize in for your degree?
  • What will be your major?
  • Where did you go to school before this?
  • What did you do during your gap year? (Academic gap year, after military service, or unemployment)
  • Who is your current employer? What do you do for employment?
  • Why are you planning to continue your education in the United States?
  • Why did you choose Central Seminary? (For more information, refer to the school website and brochure)
  • Which campus of Central Seminary do you plan to attend? (you can find it on the school website)
  • What do you know about the local area of campus?
  • When are the program’s start and end dates? (It is listed on their initial I-20 form)
  • Can you not continue your education in your home country? Why?
  • How will this study program relate to your past work or studies?
  • Why do you want to pursue studies in the Korean language in the USA?


You must show that you have stronger reasons for returning to your home country than those for remaining in the United States.

“Ties” to your home country are the things that bind you to your hometown, homeland, or current place of residence (e.g., job, family, financial prospects that you own or will inherit, investments, etc.)

If you are a prospective student, the interviewing officer may ask about your specific intentions or promises of future employment, family or other relationships, educational objectives, grades, long-range plans, and career prospects in your home country.

You must prove to the visa officer that you intend to return home after your studies. For example, you may bring proof of:

  • Permanent address
  • Job/future job
  • Family
  • Property (owning a house)
  • Dependents (children or spouse)


This is the most important piece of obtaining your F1 visa. Regardless of your academic qualifications, you cannot be awarded an F1 student visa if you cannot demonstrate that you will be able to finance your education. The cost of education in the US is much higher than in other countries. It is important to investigate and have a solid financial plan. This plan should include more than just tuition expenses. You should consider housing, food, transportation, health insurance, and all other relevant expenses.

Here are some questions you might get from the consular official about finances:

  • What is your monthly income?
  • How do you plan to fund the entire duration of your education?
  • How much does your school cost?
  • How will you meet these expenses?
  • Who is going to sponsor your education?
  • What is your sponsor’s occupation?
  • What is your sponsor’s annual income?
  • How else will you cover the rest of your costs?
  • Do you have a copy of your bank statements?
  • Did you get offered a scholarship at your school?
  • Can I see your tax returns?

You must show documents proving a valid source of funds and explain clearly how they were obtained and/or will be obtained in the future.

You may be asked to explain any transactions in your financial documentation.

Suppose your guarantor is neither you nor your family. In that case, it is recommended that you prepare an answer to the question of your relationship with the financial guarantor, why the person stands for a financial guarantee, the job and income of the financial guarantor, and their dependent family member.

Examples of valid funding sources are bank statements, financial documents of the sponsor, or financial documents from a U.S. sponsor.

If your spouse or children remain home, be prepared to tell how they will support themselves in your absence. This is especially important if you are your family’s primary income source.

It is important to note that the financial documentation should include what is on the I-20. If the students support themselves according to the I-20, the financial documents should include their statements. If being sponsored, it should include the sponsor’s statements.

Be prepared to explain what your family members will do throughout your study. Your spouse is unable to work, but he/she can study part-time. How will you educate your children in the United States (which school will you send them to?)


Your main purpose for coming to the United States should be to study, not for the chance to work before or after graduation.

F-1 visa applicants must be aware that off-campus employment requires work authorization. During the interview, they should demonstrate awareness of F-1 student work eligibility limitations and confirm they will only work off-campus with proper authorization.

While F-1 visa holders can apply for OPT(Optional Practice Training) and gain work experience in the U.S. after completing their studies, it’s crucial to remember that the visa is intended for temporary stay and not permanent immigration.

If your spouse is also applying for an accompanying F-2 visa, be aware that F-2 dependents cannot, under any circumstances, be employed in the United States. If asked, be prepared to address what your spouse intends to do with his or her time while in the United States. Volunteer work and attending school part-time are permitted activities.


The F1 student visa is only granted to those who plan to return to their home country after graduation. Although it is not impossible to stay in the US after graduation through programs such as OPT and H1B, you must prove that you have ties and obligations, including family, property, or a job offer, that will lead to your return to your home country.

Here are some questions you might get about your plans for after you complete your degree program:

  • Do you have relatives or friends currently residing in the US?
  • What are your plans after graduation?
  • Do you have a job or career in mind after you graduate?
  • Upon graduation, do you plan on returning to your home country?
  • Are you sure you won’t stay in the US after graduation?
  • Will you continue to work for your current employer after you graduate?

Maintaining Your Status

  • Maintain Your Status
  • Study in the States
    • Enroll
      • Need to be enrolled for full time each term.
      • Only one online course (up to 3 credits) is allowed per term. NOTE: Due to the pandemic, SEVP has made a temporary allowance for more online coursework. Please check with the DSO for further details.
      • Students needing a reduced course load due to medical or academic reasons, should request an RCL from the DSO.
      • NOTE: your I-20 needs to be activated at the beginning of every term (after your registration is verified).
      • I-20 documents will only be emailed to the student’s CBTS email address.

About the I-20 document

The I-20 is a US government document that verifies your status as a student at a school in the US. It must be updated anytime there are changes to your information and enrollment status. The I-20 is required for visa appointment and should be kept with the student at all times. NOTE: I-20 documents will only be emailed to CBTS email addresses.

  • I-20 Reprint Request online form
  • Transfer your I-20 to CBTS
    • Get accepted at Central Seminary (CBTS) (Apply Now)
    • Submit your Admission Letter & Foreign Student Advisor Report to your current school
    • After your current school’s International Student Advisor submits the International Student Transfer Form & your I-20 released by your current school, you will be required to register for full time at CBTS to maintain your VISA.
  • Transfer your I-20 out of CBTS
    • Get accepted to another SEVP certified school
    • Submit your new Admission Letter and any other documents required by your new school to CBTS
    • Submit anF-1 SEVIS Transfer Out Request form to indicate your transfer & to drop your remaining courses
  • Obtain an F-1 VISA from out of the U.S.
    • Get accepted at CBTS (Apply Now)
    • Receive CBTS I-20 and admission letter for submission to your consulate or embassy in the U.S. (Click here for Embassy Links) & wait to receive your F-1 VISA.
    • When you receive your F-1 VISA, please note your program start date; you are allowed entrance to the U.S. 30 days or less before your program start date.
    • After you arrive in the U.S., please notify CBTS of your arrival and complete the following:
      • Submit your most recent I-94 to CBTS
      • Submit a copy of your approved VISA and Passport to CBTS
      • Inform CBTS of your address in the U.S.
      • Enroll for full-time at CBTS
  • Reinstatement
    • After your I-20 gets terminated (when you fail to maintain your F-1 Status, or due to no fault of your own), you have two options to regain your F-1 Status:
      • Depart the U.S. and receive a new I-20 (see ‘Obtain an F-1 VISA from out of the U.S.’ above) *no guarantee of approval*
      • Apply for reinstatement while staying in the U.S.


  • It is a good idea to have a plan for after you complete your program. Here are some of the options you have:
    • Apply for Post-Completion OPT (see Employment section below)
    • Apply and be admitted to another program at CBTS
    • Be admitted and transfer to another institution in the U.S.
    • Depart the U.S. (grace period is 60 days after your degree completion or OPT completion)
    • Apply & receive approval for change of status from USCIS (Click Here)


The employment opportunities for F-1 visa holders is restricted. Working without prior authorization is not allowed. Here are the employment options for international students:


Here is some important information related to the admission and documentation process:

  • The application for international students requires additional documentation, such as proof of finances and a copy of passport. Please get all the documentation prepared and submitted with your application materials.
  • Students for whom English IS NOT their first language will need to show proof of English proficiency during the admission process.
  • Central does not have full scholarships available to cover tuition and housing. International students will need to their own money or financial support from a sponsor to cover their costs.
  • The I-20 document will be emailed only after the student is admitted and has signed the new student enrollment agreement.

Students who wish to remain outside the United States and study online should contact an admission advisor for information about scheduling and available programs.

Our Master’s and Doctoral level programs offered in the Korean language are accepting F-1 visa applicants. At the Diploma level, only the Christian Formation program in the Korean department is approved. None of our certificate programs are approved to host F-1 students.

Currently, Central’s English-language masters and diploma programs are not accepting new F-1 visa applicants. This applies only to our English-language Master of Divinity, Diploma, Master of Arts in Counseling, and Master of Arts in Theological Studies programs. We hope in the future to be able to admit students with F-1 visas to these programs.


Upload Documents Here

ISO Contact Form

International Student FAQs

Please see below for answers to our most common questions related to international students.

What is the process for becoming an F-1 student?

International students must first be admitted to the school before they receive documentation to apply for an F-1 visa. In addition to the regular application information and documents, international students must submit financial documents to prove their ability to pay for one year of their program and other identity documents, such as the copy of their passport.

What is the process for transferring from another US school to Central?

Potential transfer students must complete the admission process first. Once admitted to the seminary, the admission letter and transfer form will be sent to the student. The student can then send the admission letter and transfer form to their current school to start the I-20 transfer process.

Which programs are approved to host F-1 students?

Our Master’s and Doctoral level programs offered in the Korean language are accepting F-1 visa applicants. At the Diploma level, only the Christian Formation program in the Korean department is approved. None of our certificate programs are approved to host F-1 students.

Currently, Central’s English-language masters and diploma programs are not accepting new F-1 visa applicants. This applies only to our English-language Master of Divinity, Diploma, Master of Arts in Counseling, and Master of Arts in Theological Studies programs. We hope in the future to be able to admit students with F-1 visas to these programs.