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International Student Program Brochure

Cuesta College is approved by the United States Student and Exchange Visitors Program, Immigration & Customs Enforcement as an institution of higher learning for non-immigrant  F-1 Visa (Academic Visa) students. Enrollees must attend Cuesta as full-time (12 credits minimum) students and be English-proficient.   

Application timelines for ALL international students, including transfers, are as follows: 




(click HERE for printer-friendly checklist)

Students must show evidence of ability to pay non-resident fees and must maintain enrollment of 12 credits during spring/fall semesters. Completion of financial certificate is required to verify that the student has sufficient financial resources for personal care, housing, and educational costs. Be advised that housing is not available at Cuesta College.

Financial aid is not available for international students through Cuesta College. Students holding F-1 Visas may work a maximum of 20 hours per week on the Cuesta College campus AFTER their first full academic year with prior approval from the Director of Admissions & Records.  F-1 students are not allowed to work off-campus, unless they have prior authorization from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

  • Proof of English Proficiency

    Classes are conducted in college-level English, therefore, it is necessary to be proficient in reading, writing, and speaking the language. For this reason, Cuesta College requires all F-1 students applying for admission to submit proof of passing an English proficiency exam.  Options are: 1) Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL iBT) or 2) International English Language Testing System (IELTS). 

    Exams must be completed within the year and official results submitted (sealed in original envelope or e-mailed directly from testing agency to Cuesta College).

TOEFL Information: Inst. Code:  4101; Dept. Code: 00; Dept. Description: Undergraduate

Required scores: Internet based minimum of 61, computer based minimum of 173, or a paper based minimum of 500. 

For more information contact: TOEFL iBT, Educational Testing Services, PO Box 6151, Princeton, NJ 08541-6155, phone (443) 751-4862 or (800) 468-6335 in US only.  Email:


IELTS Information:  Required minimum overall band score of 6 on IELTS Academic Exam.

Please contact the test center directly where you take the IELTS test and request that your official test scores either be electronically sent to Cuesta College, or be sent to the address stated below.  We do not accept unofficial Test Report Forms from students.  An institutional code is NOT required.


*Exception: Test requirement is waived if your native language is English, or if you have completed the equivalent of college-level English composition at a US college or university.


  • Official Transcripts evaluated and translated

    Official transcripts must be evaluated and translated into English by a verified evaluation company.  Cuesta recommends SpanTran (reduced cost for Cuesta applicants), ACEI - Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (choose "Comprehensive Report"), or other NACES members (choose Academic/Course-by-Course evaluations).  Students must provide certified transcripts of academic records achieved during all prior high school or college attendance. Transcripts submitted must bear the school seal and be signed by the registrar or another appropriate official.

NOTE: Scanned or photo copies as email attachments are not official and will not be accepted. Evaluations must be sent to Cuesta in a sealed envelope or submitted to Cuesta electronically by evaluation company.

  • Tuberculosis Clearance

    Applicants must provide a physician's certificate of negative skin test or a chest X-ray for tuberculosis completed within one year.  Do not send X-ray film.

  • Copy of Valid Passport and Visa (if applicable)

Applicants must submit a legible copy of their passport and and issued Visa.

  • $100.00 Application Fee

Check/Money Order: payable to Cuesta College
Credit Card: payable in myCuesta portal.  

Submit the required items by the following methods:

Postal mail: Cuesta College, Attn: Admissions, PO Box 8106, San Luis Obispo CA 93403-8106
Shipping address: Highway One, Building 7400, San Luis Obispo CA 93405
Fax:  (805) 546-3975


International students in courtyard


Once all of the above items are received and processed by our International Student Office, if admission criteria is met, students will be issued an I-20.  This document will be necessary to pay the SEVIS fee and to apply for the F-1 Visa at the appropriate U.S. Embassy.

  • Health Insurance
    F-1 students will be automatically enrolled in an international insurance plan each semester.  Fee will be billed in student's portal.


USCIS Special Instructions for B-1 (Temporary Business) and/or B-2 (Tourist) Visitors Who Want to Enroll in School.