ELP students


Frequently Asked Questions for Incoming Students

Below are some of the common questions that applicants ask about.

If your question is not answered here, please contact the ELP Admissions Coordinator for help.

Application Process

Q: How long will it take for my I-20 to be processed?
A: The I-20 will be processed within 1-2 weeks after all of the required documents have been received. Applicants that are missing required documents will be notified using the email address provided on the application.

Q: What is the difference between my permanent address and my mailing address?
A: Your mailing address is the address where you would like for VCU to send your acceptance letter and I-20 after it has been processed. Your permanent address is the address where you presently live.
If you are an international student applying for an F-1 visa, you should put your address in your country as a permanent address. This information is required to issue your immigration documents.

Q: I already have a university degree. Is it still necessary for me to provide my high school transcripts or diploma?
A: One of the requirements for study is that the applicant must complete a minimum of high school before enrolling in ELP. Therefore, if you already have a university degree, you can provide a copy of your university transcript or degree instead of your high school documents.

Q: How will I know if I am accepted to study in ELP?
A: Once your application has been processed, you will receive an email notifying you of your acceptance and confirming the shipment of your documents.

Q: Is it possible to receive a copy of my I-20 form by email?
A: No. The university is not allowed to send electronic copies of the I-20 form per United States Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS) regulations. All documents will be sent to the applicant by UPS express mail unless other arrangements are made.

Student Visa

Q: How soon can I travel to the United States after I receive my student visa?
A: You are allowed to enter the country up to 30 days before the start date on your I-20 form. If you arrive before that, it is possible that the immigration officials in the airport may not allow you to enter the United States, so please plan your travels carefully.

Q: Can my parents or siblings travel with me to the United States on an F-2 visa as my dependents?
A: No. Only your spouse (husband or wife) or your children are eligible to apply for an F-2 visa.

Q: Can I travel to the United States after the start date on my I-20 form?
A: If you will arrive late, you must request permission from the ELP Admissions Coordinator. If your request is approved, she will send you a letter of permission for late arrival by email. You must keep this letter with your I-20 when you travel to avoid any issues at your port of entry.

Q: Do I need to check in with ELP after I arrive?
A: If you would like to visit us after you first arrive, you can, but it is not required. Formal immigration check-in will be completed on the day of New Student Orientation, so please make sure to attend!

My Arrival at VCU

Q: Why do I need to take the placement test?
A: We use the placement test results to determine which classes you should take in order to achieve your goal of English proficiency. It is required before you can register for classes.

Q: How will I know my placement test results and class schedule?
A: You will receive your results and schedule on the day of New Student Orientation.

Q: Do I need to purchase any textbooks or supplies for my classes?
A: Yes. Your teachers will give you instructions about which books and materials to purchase on your first day of classes. It is not necessary to buy the books ahead of time.

Q: When should I pay for my classes? Do I need to make a tuition deposit before I arrive?
A: ELP does not require a tuition deposit for new students. You will receive a bill by email after you arrive and have registered for classes. This bill will be sent to your VCU email, so it is important to check it regularly.
For more information on how to pay for your classes, please see the Course fees page.

Q: After I finish ELP, can I start an academic (undergraduate or graduate) program?
A: Admission to an academic program at VCU requires a separate application process. If you are interested in joining an undergraduate or graduate program at the university, please contact the Office of International Admissions for more information.

Q: Am I required to live on campus? A: No, it is not required. However, if you would like more information on-campus housing, please contact Ms. Nichole Dorton (nldorton@vcu.edu).