International Students

Bergen Community College is enriched by the diverse population it serves. The College is authorized by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to host those who have obtained the F-1 visa, a special document used by foreign born students to study full time in the US.  On average, Bergen Community College hosts 520 F-1 visa holders.  As of Spring 2015, the top ten countries represented by the F-1 population were(*):

Korea, Turkey, China, Columbia, Poland, Brazil, India, Peru, Albania, Syria, Venezuela, and Kenya.”

(*)Please note that the list above represents only the international students studying full time at Bergen with F-1 status, this data is not reflective of all non US citizens enrolled at BCC.

International Student Center

The International Student Center (ISC) assists international students with admission to the College, immigration and academic counseling, and visa compliance. The ISC also promotes intercultural learning through workshops and quality programming. The ISC strives to serve as a “home away from home” for those international students who have chosen to earn a degree/certificate or study English at Bergen Community College.

Bergen Community College is a Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) approved school.  The College is authorized by the USCIS to endorse I-20 forms, travel documents, and other immigration documents related to F-1 student employment.  The form I-20 will be issued by a Designated School Official (DSO) at the College for those international applicants seeking admission to the College or a change of status/ reinstatement to F-1 status only when all requirements are fulfilled by the applicant.

The International Student Center is located in the Pitkin Education Center in Room C-102 on the College’s main campus in Paramus.

International Student Admissions

Applicants residing outside of the U.S. may apply for admission to Bergen Community College. For those who must obtain an F-1 student visa to study full time in the US, documentation proving completion of high school and sufficient financial sponsorship ($22,000 USD to cover tuition, housing, food, books and incidentals for the first year) is required. All required documentation must be translated into English by a certified translator. Although not required, F-1 students are encouraged to travel to the US with their own health insurance to cover any US hospital or doctor visits. The complete list of items necessary for admission as an F-1 student is available in the International Student Center or at

Depending upon the applicant’s present immigration status, certain forms may need to be completed and submitted to USCIS. Upon admission to Bergen Community College, the applicant will be issued the proper immigration documents necessary for obtaining or maintaining F-1 visa status. Local F-1 visa holders (those studying at other US institutions) are welcome to visit the International Student Center to meet with an international admissions counselor to discuss the process of transferring to Bergen Community College.

In general, non-immigrants maintaining legal status can apply for the change of status to F-1, but there are some exceptions which should be discussed with an International admissions counselor. Prospective international students may contact the International Student Center to make an appointment with an International Student Counselor at (201) 689-7601.

The ISC also handles the admission process for other non-immigrant visa holders including J-1 visa holders (au pairs).

Recommended deadlines for submitting applications and supporting documents:

For the Fall (September – December) semester, the recommended deadline is July 1; for the Spring semester (January- May) the recommended deadline is November 1. 

The change of status deadline for Fall is July 1 and October 1 for the Spring semester.

The deadline for transfer F-1 students is generally three weeks before the semester start date. However, all deadlines (except for a change of status) are flexible.

International Student Counseling

An International Student Counselor is available to assist current F-1 visa holders with academic advisement, cultural adjustment and orientation to Bergen Community College. The International Counselors and ISC staff facilitates an orientation program for all incoming international students in F-1 visa status. Students must attend this mandatory orientation to receive valuable information about the College as well as their immigration status and life in the U.S.  Students are required to submit copies of their immigration documents before orientation to satisfy reporting regulations implemented by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. Current international students may contact the International Student Center to inquire about walk-in counseling hours or to make an appointment with the International Student Counselor at (201) 689-7601.

Special Notes/International Students

International applicants cannot apply for Health Professions and/or Nursing upon initial application to the college. They can later apply for these programs once they are enrolled at Bergen Community College through a change of curriculum. There are some prerequisites that must be completed prior to admissions to these curricula. Note: F-1 students should contact the International Student Center prior to applying for a health profession to discuss requirements, such as a Social Security Number.

Students placed in the American Language Program (ESL courses) cannot take college-level courses until they have successfully completed all the required levels of the program as well as having passed the required exit examination. Certain exceptions apply for students in Level 3. After completion of the American Language Program, students must take a mathematics placement test or be granted a waiver.