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International Education


South Mountain Community College (SMCC) welcomes your application as an international student, and our staff will make every effort to assist you.

SMCC is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, which also accredits Arizona State University, University of Arizona, and Northern Arizona University, as well as more than 1,100 other colleges and universities.

SMCC is one of the ten Maricopa Community Colleges, which offer a wide variety of degree and certificate programs. We have transfer articulation agreements with public and private colleges and universities that enable seamless transfer to four-year institutions.

Why study in the United States at South Mountain Community College?

  • Easy, open admission policies
  • Wide selection of academic and technical programs
  • Basic skill courses, including English as a Second Language
  • Supportive learning environment with small classes
  • Low-cost tuition
  • Personal campus environment and family life atmosphere
  • Excellent transfer record to four-year universities, such as nearby Arizona State University
  • Free tutoring services

F-1 Student Visa

Once admitted to SMCC, our International Education office will mail you your acceptance letter and SEVIS I-20 Form (Certificate of Eligibility). You will then need to apply for an F-1 Student Visa at the U.S. Consulate in your home country. You will also need your unexpired passport, your receipt for the SEVIS I-901 Fee, and evidence of financial support.

Note: If you do not receive the I-20 Form, do NOT enter the U.S. on a B-1/B-2 visitor visa. You will not be permitted to begin a course of study and will be required to leave the United States to change your status.

Canadian citizens are not required to visit the U.S. Consulate for an F-1 visa stamp. However, they must still follow the F-1 admission procedures, pay the SEVIS I-901 Fee, and present the I-20 Form at the point of entry to the U.S. All F-1 visa regulations apply to Canadians in F-1 student status.

Here are four key things to remember when you enroll as an international student:

Pay the SEVIS I-901 Fee BEFORE you apply for your visa.

As soon as you receive your I-20 document from SMCC, you need to pay this fee.

The easiest and fastest way to do this is online:

– Pay your SEVIS I-901 Fee ($200 USD*) online at – Complete your I-901 form online. – Pay the fee online by credit or debit card – Print a copy of your receipt, and bring it to your visa interview. You will not receive the visa if you have not first paid the SEVIS I-901 fee.

You can also pay the SEVIS fee locally using the Western Union QuickPay service, using local currency. The payment will be electronically transmitted to SEVP. The Western Union receipt will serve as immediate proof-of-payment for a visa interview at a U.S. Consulate and for admission to the U.S. Port of Entry.

You must pay this fee at least 3 business days before applying for a visa. More information about the SEVIS I-901 Fee is available here.

Make an appointment at the U.S. Consulate in your home country.

Visa delays are very common, so make your appointment as soon as possible. You can find the U.S. Consulate closest to you here.

Prepare your documents for the F-1 visa application and interview.

Remember to bring your unexpired passport, I-20 Form issued by South Mountain Community College, evidence of financial support, and receipt for the SEVIS I-901 Fee. Some consulates may accept an official letter from your bank, others will require several months of original monthly bank statements to demonstrate a stable account history.

Some will want to see your diplomas and other academic records. All consulates will require you to prove your “ties to your home country”; they want to be sure that you intend to return to your home country when you have finished your studies.

Be sure to read the “Non-Immigrant Visa” information on the website for the US Consulate in your home country. For advice about preparing for your visa interview, please read the document 10 Points to Remember When Applying for a Non-Immigrant Visa.

Buy your airline ticket (if needed) and plan for your arrival at SMCC.

Note that you will not be issued your F-1 visa until 120 days (or less) before the start date on your I-20 (in August for the Fall semester, or in January for the Spring semester). You will not be permitted to enter the United States with your F-1 visa until 30 days before the start date on your I-20. To find the start date, see line #5 on your I-20 Form: “The student is expected to report to the school no later than (date).”

Please notify us of any delays by emailing or by calling 602-243-8305.

Thank you for your interest in South Mountain Community College! We greatly enjoy having international students on our campus, and we look forward to welcoming you in person.

Community College

What is a community college?

A community college is a two-year college (sometimes referred to as a junior college) that a student may attend in order to complete general education requirements. Once completed, they can either transfer to a university or receive occupational training and go directly into their chosen job field.

In the U.S., if students are interested in going to a university, they have one of two choices. The first choice is to go directly to a four-year college, most commonly referred to as a university, to obtain a bachelor’s degree.

The second choice is to complete classes at a community college for the general education requirements of their bachelor’s degree program and then transfer to a university to complete the final two years of upper-division courses.

Why would a student choose to study at a community college?

  • Community colleges are considerably smaller than universities. Students receive more personalized attention from their instructors, as class sizes are generally smaller. This is often more appealing to international students because it can be easier to learn in an environment that is more personalized—especially when dealing with learning in a new environment in what may be a new educational system.
  • The cost of tuition and fees are considerably less than a university.
  • The community colleges in Maricopa County have transfer agreements with the three main Arizona universities (Arizona State University, University of Arizona, and Northern Arizona University). Students can receive assistance from academic advisors during their two years at SMCC in designing a schedule of classes that will easily transfer and be accepted at the three main Arizona universities. Students planning to attend a university outside the state of Arizona may also receive assistance finding a degree program that will apply to their career goals or transfer needs.

To help you learn more about the International Student resources available at each of the three main Arizona universities, links are provided below:

Travel Resources

Budget Travel

  • Frommer’s – Travel guides for worldwide exploration.
  • ISIC Student ID Cards - International Student Identity Cards (ISIC) offers links to ID cards, discount travel and remote assistance.

Currency Information


Government and State Websites

Minority Information

  • AllAbroad - A resource designed for students of diverse backgrounds, their parents, and administrators.



  • Department of State Fulbright Program – Since 1946, the Department of State Fulbright Program has funded U.S. students and faculty to study and/or conduct research in other countries, in order to foster mutual understanding between nations
  • National Security Education Program - The National Security Education Program (NSEP) funds U.S. students to study and/or conduct research in other countries, to educate Americans in cross-cultural and global issues and strengthen U.S. economic competitiveness and national security


  • Airlines - Complete listing of all U.S. airlines, including scheduling and booking.
  • U.S. Transportation - The official website of U.S. Department of Transportation.


Have a Question?

Edith Megui
Phone: 602-243-8305
Fax: 602-243-8199