Frequently Asked Questions


New Students

What immigration paperwork do I need to bring with me on my flight to the U.S.?

Upon arrival in the U.S., international students must pass through immigration. You will be required to demonstrate you are entering the USA for study purposes. Be sure to carry the following documentation in your carry-on luggage: 

  • Passport
  • F-1 Visa
  • Form I-20
  • I-901 SEVIS fee receipt
  • U.S. address of where you will stay when arriving in Sacramento
  • The welcome letter included with your pre-arrival packet
  • Cash and travelers checks in U.S. dollars (we don’t recommend bringing more than $200-400 in cash)

When do I start my program?

You are required to report to school on the program start date noted on your current I-20. 

Do I have to attend orientation?

Yes, orientation is mandatory for all new ELI students. 

Current Students

Can I take a vacation?

ELI observes the same holidays and school breaks that Sacramento State observes for the spring and fall sessions.  Please review the Sacramento State calendar and IEP program dates for the most up to date program schedule.  In addition, IEP students may be eligible for a session break if they have spent an equivalent of one (1) academic year (nine (9) months or four (4) sessions), studying continuously in the U.S. 

How long can I stay in the U.S. after my program end date?

Once you have reached your program end date found on your form I-20,  you have 60 days to depart the country or initiate a transfer to another school.

If you have been granted an authorized withdrawal by your school DSO, you may remain in the U.S. for up to 15 days following the withdrawal noted in SEVIS. This time is to help you to prepare for your departure from the U.S. This 15-day grace period does not allow for preparation to transfer.

Please note: If you are an F1 student and you fail to maintain status, or if you withdraw from school or otherwise terminate or interrupt your studies without first obtaining approval from your school DSO, you will NOT be eligible for any grace period, and you will be considered ”out of status” in SEVIS. Students that are out of status should leave the U.S. immediately or consider applying for reinstatement, depending on their situation. 

How do I stay in status?

To stay in status, you must make regular academic progress as a condition of enrollment. Making progress is dependent upon completing assignments, passing tests, and attending classes. While absences are allowed, the ELI attendance policy requires students attend at least 85% of each course (or miss no more than five hours per course, per session enrolled). This standard is applied to all students regardless of immigration status, residency, or citizenship.

Students in violation of this policy will be dismissed, regardless of visa type.

What does it mean to be a full time student?

F-1 students must be enrolled full time.  A full-time course load for students in ELI’s IEP course is 20 hours per week.  If you are here on an F1 visa, you must maintain your full time status throughout the duration of your study. No more than five absences are allowed for each session.

Transfer Students

Can I transfer to your school?  When do I have to start?

Yes, you can transfer to the English Language Institute. You must have completed your transfer to our school within the 60-day grace period that begins after your last day of study at your current school.  Please note you will need to enroll in the next available session.

If I get an acceptance letter to another school, can I stop attending the English Language Institute?

No, you must continue attending the English Language Institute and finish the session in good standing in order to transfer out at the end of the session.

Applying to the University 

How do I apply directly to California State University, Sacramento?

If you would like to attend California State University, Sacramento as an undergraduate or graduate student, you will need to complete the Cal State Apply online application form.

Click here to access Cal State Apply.

How do I learn more about the application process?

Visit the International Programs and Global Engagement web page for more information on how to apply to California State University, Sacramento.

Conditional Admission

What does “conditional admission” mean?

Sacramento State offers conditional admission to students who have applied for an undergraduate or graduate program(s) and who are academically qualified, but have not met Sacramento State’s English proficiency requirement at the time of application. In this case, the university issues a conditional admission letter  that requires the student to attend the Intensive English Program (IEP) offered through Sacramento State’s English Language Institute (or another Sacramento State-approved English Program), until they meet the language requirement (IELTS or TOEFL).  For the English Language Institute’s IEP, the requirement is to pass level 7 or 8 with B’s and above.

How do I apply for conditional admission?

Please contact International Programs and Global Engagement to learn more about the conditional admission process for California State University, Sacramento.


Please visit the Program Fees page for more information.