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Office of International Studies and Programs


Contact Us

Office of International Studies and Programs
Central Washington University
400 E. University Way
Ellensburg, WA 98926-7408
Phone: (509) 963-3612
Fax: (509) 963-1558

F-1 Frequently Asked Questions

What is the I-20 and when will I receive it?

The I-20 is a "Certificate of Eligibility" document that is issued to international students who have been accepted to Central Washington University. The I-20 allows you to apply for an F-1 visa if you are outside the U.S., apply for F-1 status within the U.S. and enter and reenter the U.S. in F-1 status.

The I-20 indicates the institution in which you are allowed to study and your program and duration of study. The I-20 must remain valid at all times during your studies in the U.S.

After you have been fully admitted into CWU, the SEVIS Coordinator will create your I-20. Once created, your I-20 and acceptance letter will be mailed out to you.

New students must pay the SEVIS fee before applying for their F-1 visa. This fee is charged by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Please keep in mind that you will not be able to pay the fee until you have your I-20 in your possession. For more information about how to pay the fee, visit

Can I be Conditionally Admitted without the required TOEFL score?

Yes, if all the other requirements are complete you can receive conditional admission through the UESL Program.

I’m from Canada do I still need to apply for an F-1 visa?

No, Canadian citizens are eligible to enter the United States without obtaining an entry visa in their passport. However, Canadian citizens must obtain an I-20 and pay the SEVIS fee before entering the U.S.

Upon entry, you must present to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer your passport, I-20, proof of financial support for at least one year, your admission letter, and receipt of SEVIS fee payment.

What do I do if I am already an F-1 student at a different U.S. institution?

You will need to have your SEVIS file transferred to CWU before an updated I-20 can be created for you. You will need to complete the transfer release form; which is sent to you by the SEVIS Coordinator following your acceptance to CWU.

Who will my advisor be?

After you receive your acceptance letter and I-20, you will be sent a admission packet of information from the Office of International Studies and Programs. The packet will include important information about registration and orientation. As an incoming freshman you will meet with your International Student Advisor to register for classes. Once you are on campus you can contact your major department to find out who your advisor will be.

When will I hear if I am accepted or not?

It usually takes three to four weeks to process your application materials. Once an admissions decision is made, it can take up to four weeks to receive your acceptance letter and I-20 depending on the country. For this reason, it is extremely important to get your application materials submitted as soon as possible before the quarter starts to allow plenty of time for the I-20 to reach you.

How do I apply for housing?

There are numerous options for on-campus housing.  You can find out more information and apply for campus housing by contacting The Office of University Housing and New Student Programs, or visiting their web site at

Where is Ellensburg and what is it like?

Ellensburg is located at the geographical center of the state of Washington. Located just east of the majestic Cascade Mountain range, Ellensburg is less than two hours from Seattle. The mountains block much of the rain from the wet "westside" of the state, producing a dry climate with less than 10 inches of rainfall a year and over 320 days of sunshine. Ellensburg has four distinct seasons including very warm summers, a mild spring and fall, and snow in the winter.

Ellensburg is a small college town with a population of about 19,000 (including CWU students). It is a friendly, fun, and safe place to live, and CWU students are welcomed as valued members of the community.

The rural area provides many outdoor activities for students including hiking, fishing, mountain biking, boating, and horseback riding. Many students enjoy rafting down the Yakima River during the warmer months. During the winter months, students enjoy snow skiing at one of the four ski resorts in the surrounding area.

For more information about the city of Ellensburg, visit

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