International Students

    Please visit the International Student Services office on the first floor of the Keating Center.  It is very important that you register with the International Student Advisor within the first few weeks of your arrival. You will need to bring your passport, I-20 and visa with you and know your campus address.  It is also important to meet your International Student Advisor regularly during the school year (at least once a semester), as she needs to make sure you remain in good status.  NEVER leave the country without first meeting with your Advisor.  Your International Student Advisor can help you with such issues as employment, filing tax forms with the IRS, maintaining status and much more.


    Immigration Forms/Documents:

    I-20AB: The I-20AB form indicates that you have been accepted (or are enrolled) as a full-time student (F-1) at Ringling College of Art and Design. The I-20AB is presented with your passport to the American Consulate abroad to obtain a visa. The I-20AB and evidence of financial support must be presented at your port of entry each time you enter the United States.

    Passport: The passport is issued by your government.  Your passport must be valid for a minimum of six months longer than your entire planned stay in the United States.  Your passport and visa should be valid if you plan to leave and re-enter the United States. If you find it necessary to renew your passport while in the United States, the International Student Adviser can help.

    Visa: At the American Consulate abroad, you will be issued an F-1 (student) visa which will be stamped in your passport. This shows the number of entries you may have into the United States and an expiration date after which you cannot re-enter the United States without renewing your visa.


    Temporary Departure from the United States:

    Each time you leave the United States (e.g., Canada, Mexico, return home for vacation), you must confirm that you have a valid signature (within the past 12 months) on your I-20 to present at your port of entry when you return to the United States. Please plan ahead; if you need your I-20 signed, please request a signature in advance using the relevant form available in the office of International Student Services.

    Note: Students visiting Canada may need a special Canadian Visitors Visa to enter Canada. Canadian citizens do not need a visa to enter the United States and will receive their I-94 Arrival/Departure Card at the U.S. port of entry.  An I-20 is still required.


    Special Note to Canadian Students:

    Canadian citizens do not require an entry visa to enter the U.S. from Canada, but DO require an I-20. All Canadian citizens entering the U.S. by air will be required to show a passport to enter the United States.


    Additionally, your passport may be required for other purposes in the U.S. such as completing a form for employment on campus, or applying for a Social Security number. If you enter the U.S. from a country other than Canada, you are required to present a passport at the port of entry.


    To enter the U.S. in F-1 status, Canadians DO require an I-20 and proof of payment of the SEVIS fee. To pay the SEVIS fee, go to  and follow the instructions. Be sure to make a copy of the receipt for your own records. 


    At the point of entry, Canadian students must present the Form I-20 and supporting financial documentation to the immigration inspector to be admitted into the U.S. in F-1 status.

    It is especially important for Canadian students to be vigilant about entering the United States in proper student status, as immigration inspectors are accustomed to admitting Canadian citizens as visitors. Because Canadian citizens do not require application to a U.S. consulate for an entry visa some Canadians think that other regulations that apply to international students may also not apply to them. Canadians are subject to the same regulations regarding employment in the United States, requirement for full-time study, and other provisions for maintaining status.


    Other than applying for a visa, it important that you read about and abide by all other provisions relating to F-1 status.


    If you have any questions regarding your student status at Ringling College, please email Amy Pettengill at; 941-893-2051


    Have a safe trip to Sarasota! We are pleased that you are coming to Ringling College in the Fall and are looking forward to meeting you!



    Tammy S. Walsh, Ed.D.

    Dean of Students