The California State University has 23 campuses. All CSU campuses welcome applications from international students who hold a U.S. student visa, exchange visitors, and other nonimmigrant classifications. Check with the campus admissions office (es) you're interested in to learn more about their requirements.
International Students with F-1 or J-1 visas
Most nonimmigrant visa holders, such as an F-1 or J-1, are not eligible to establish California residency for tuition purposes.
The Immigration and Nationality Act allows individuals of certain nonimmigrant statuses to establish permanent residency in the United States. Therefore, they are entitled to establish California residency for tuition purposes. Students must hold an eligible immigration status at least one year before the Residence Determination Date to be eligible to establish California residency for tuition purposes. Review the Nonimmigrant list for a complete list of eligible visas and other eligible categories.
Students with a visa or without an immigration status should contact the campus Admissions Office.
B-1/B-2 Visitors Who Want to Enroll in a CSU Campus
According to federal regulations
8 CFR § 214.2(b), B-1 and B-2 visas are "visitors" visas. Nonimmigrant visas temporarily permit individuals to enter the United States for business (B-1), pleasure, or medical treatment (B-2). These nonimmigrant visas generally allow an individual to enter the US for a short period of time, generally no longer than six months.
B-1 and B-2 visa holders
are prohibited from enrolling in the course of study at a US Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)-certified school. Enrolling in the course of study constitutes a violation of the individual's B-1 or B-2 status and has severe consequences for the individual, even including possible deportation/removal.
If you are a B visa holder interested in attending a California State University campus, you should consult with an immigration attorney to discuss your specific situation and the options available to you.
The following providers may be able to provide you with a consultation,
Immigrant Legal Defense,
Central American Resource Center,
The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights, and
Jewish Family Service of San Diego.
Students with Expired Visas
A student who was a lawful nonimmigrant individual during their high school attendance but who is no longer a nonimmigrant (e.g., a student whose valid nonimmigrant visa has expired and who has not applied for any other nonimmigrant status or a student who has applied for permanent residence, asylum, or another immigration classification other than as a nonimmigrant), is entitled to the AB 540 exemption provided the student has met all other requirements (attendance and graduation) for the exemption.
Resources for undocumented students, including free immigration legal services, please refer to Resources for Undocumented Students.
Free Immigration Services
The CSU offers free immigration services for students, faculty, staff, their immediate family (spouses, parents, siblings, and children), and alumni (up to 2 years after graduating) from a CSU campus; please refer to the campus
Dream Center to make your appointment.