International Student Services: FAQs

Admission questions

Why do I need to provide a bank statement indicating $26,411? Will it cost me that much to attend your school?
  • Answer: This is an estimate of how much it will cost for an academic year including tuition, fees, health insurance, books, living expenses, travel and misc. If you are frugal, it may not cost you the full amount, but this is a fair estimate of what most students will need.

I am from an English speaking country, do I still need to take the TOEFL or IELTS exam?
  • Answer: No students from English speaking countries are not required to submit TOEFL or IETLS scores, but you may benefit from studying the TOEFL or IELTS because you will be required to take college placement tests in English after you arrive on campus. These tests examine your ability to use standard American English.

When does school start and when should I arrive on campus?
  • Answer: Please check the academic calendar. Students should report to International Student Services as soon as possible, but no later than 15 days before classes begin. You will need this time to complete assessment tests, register for classes, settle into living accommodations, purchase books and attend orientation.

Class registration questions

How many classes must I take?
  • Answer: A minimum of 12 billable/credit hours per semester each spring and fall; winter and summer classes are optional. Twelve credit hours is usually 3-4 classes.

Can I take online classes?
  • Answer: Yes, international students may take up to one course or up to 3 credits online each semester. Please keep in mind that online classes usually require you to have excellent reading and writing abilities in English.

Can I take classes from another institution with the same I-20?
  • Answer: Yes, international students can enroll at CCBC and another institution during the same semester. This is called “concurrent enrollment.” Students are requested to enroll for at least half of their full-time course load at CCBC. To discuss this option, please meet with an international counselor before enrolling at another institution.

I know all the material in the class I’m required to take. Is there any way I can get credit without taking the class?
  • Answer: Yes, the CLEP test is a nationally accepted test that gives you credit for subjects you already know.

Do I need to enroll full-time during my last semester if I have less than 12 credits required for my degree?
  • Answer: No, if you need less than 12 credits to complete your degree requirements, you will be allowed to enroll part-time in your last semester. You will need to apply and pay for graduation, obtain a graduation review and meet with an international counselor to authorize the reduced course load.

I’m struggling in a class. Can I withdraw or take an incomplete?
  • Answer: As soon as you feel that you are having difficulty in a course, we recommend that you talk to the instructor and ask for advice. Some instructors may allow you to earn extra credit, revise previous work, or take an incomplete. An incomplete allows you more time to complete work not done and is usually only granted due to special and unexpected circumstances. We also recommend that you go to the Student Success Center to request a free tutor and information on the Supplemental Instruction Program. This is important because international students cannot withdraw from a class if it would cause them to drop below 12 credits. Occasionally, you can adjust your schedule by registering for a late start class and dropping a class in which you are doing poorly. However, we urge you to not rely on late start classes because only a few of them are offered and those offered may be canceled. To discuss these options, please visit the International Student Services office.

I’m sick and I can’t take classes, what can I do?
  • Answer: If you are ill or have a medical condition that prevents you from attending classes, you must speak with an international counselor as soon as possible to discuss your situation. If you need to reduce your course load or take a semester off, you will need to provide documentation from a medical doctor, doctor of osteopathy or a licensed clinical psychologist. Remember your health insurance will help cover the cost of seeing a doctor when you are ill. If you are too sick to come in, please contact us so we can help


Do I need a car?
  • Answer: Probably not. Life in the U.S. is much easier with a car, but if you plan to attend all of your classes at one campus, you should be able to do quite well without a car. If you are thinking about buying a car, please keep in mind that automobile insurance is required in the State of Maryland and it can be quite expensive, up to $250 a month.
What type of public transportation is available?
  • Answer: When you are considering transportation, it is important to know that public transportation in the U.S. is not as well developed as it is in many other countries. However, all of the campuses are served by buses operated by MTA and of course, there are taxis. Learn more about your transportation options at CCBC »
How can I get to campus from the airport and how much does it cost? How do I get a driver’s license?
  • Answer: To obtain a Maryland State Driver’s License, you will need to visit an MVA office. Before you go, please check the MVA website to find out about the requirements. If you are required to provide a Social Security Number and you do not qualify for a Social Security Number, please visit International Student Services to request a letter explaining you are a full-time international student with a student visa and therefore exempt from this requirement.

Work and Social Security numbers

Can international students work?
  • Answer: Yes, after the second semester, international students can work part-time (less than 20 hours a week) on campus. However, the number of on-campus positions is limited and very competitive. Most positions require native-like English speaking ability. International students cannot work off campus without permission from the U.S. Department of Citizenship and Immigration Service.
People keep asking for my Social Security Number. How can I get one?
  • Answer: Most international students do not qualify for a Social Security Number. Social Security Numbers are used for acquiring a job. However, banks, phone companies and landlords are in the practice of using Social Security Numbers to identify people and organize customer data. Learn what to do if someone asks you for a Social Security number »

Miscellaneous questions

Why is there a hold on my CCBC account?
  • Answer: A “hold” is on your account to assist you in maintaining your F-1 status throughout your enrollment at CCBC. The “hold” informs the international counselor when you add or drop a class and when you change your address or program of study. The hold is removed at the beginning of the spring and fall enrollment periods to allow students to enroll online.

When and how do I file taxes?
  • Answer: All F-1 and F-2 visa holders are required to complete and file tax forms with the U.S. federal government, whether or not they earned income in the U.S. Students who are considered non-residents for tax purposes must complete Form 8843, in addition to attaching supporting documentation (notarized copies of I-20s, passport identity page, visa, and I-94). Students who are considered residents for tax purposes do not need to complete Form 8843, but must complete other domestic tax forms, if needed. To find out if you are considered a resident or non-resident for tax purposes, refer to the IRS Substantial Presence Test.

    Most tax forms must be filed between January 1 and April 15. Students and their dependents who file only Form 8843 must file before June 15. Most international student employees will be able to use a 1040-NR EZ or 1040 NR for federal taxes. You may also be required to file Maryland state tax forms. For more information on filing federal and Maryland state tax forms, attend one of the tax workshops presented by ISS or review the IRS information for Foreign Students and Scholars and the Maryland Comptroller’s website.

What documents do I need to travel?
  • Answer: Please read preparing for travel within the U.S. and abroad

What do I do if my passport will expire?
  • Answer: You should have a valid passport at all times, unless you are exempt from passport requirements. You should begin the process of renewing your passport six (6) months before it expires. Check with your embassy in Washington, D.C. for processing information.

What do I do if my visa will expire?
  • Answer: Don’t worry. As long as you remain in the U.S. there is no problem. If you plan to travel you will need to go to the U.S. Embassy and renew your visa. Please come to the ISS office for more information.

In case of emergency, can I travel during the semester?
  • Answer: Yes, international students can travel during the semester for emergency situations. You will need to discuss your need for travel with your instructors and meet with an international counselor as soon as possible before traveling to ensure you take the necessary travel documents with you.

Can my family come visit me here?
  • Answer: The decision to allow your family members to visit you in the U.S. is made when they meet with the U.S. Embassy or Consulate staff member in their home country. Contact the embassy or consulate to learn about requirements, time frames for visa interviews, how to pay fees, and other issues. If you need a letter from CCBC, complete a written request and submit it to ISS.

I’m interested in transferring to another college or university. How do I find out which classes I should take at CCBC so that all of my credits transfer?
  • Answer: First, read the information on Transfer Advising. You should make an appointment to see an adviser in person, so you can discuss your specific goals and create a transfer plan. We also recommend you review the information on ARTSYS, an electronic tool for transfer students planning to attend a college or university in Maryland.