CONGRATULATIONS! You now have been accepted to Bellevue College, (BC).
Please complete the following steps to prepare yourself and get ready to study at BC.
- Bellevue College (BC) is located in the beautiful, safe, and vibrant City of Bellevue, about 15-minute drive east from downtown Seattle.
- BC is the largest two-year public college in Washington State and transfers the most number of students to University of Washington Seattle every year.
- BC hosts about 900 international students from over 60 countries. Per the 2022/23 IIE’s Open Doors report, BC ranks 11th among the leading top 40 associate’s institutions in the US.
International Recruiters: Recruiters promote BC to recruit qualified students to BC. Recruiters also help “accepted” international students with their arrival in Bellevue.
International Admissions: Our admissions team reviews your application materials and admits you to BC by issuing an acceptance letter and an I-20 form. In addition, they also help students with changing the starting term, (i.e., defer admission), reviewing online new student check-in record, and assisting students with change of status to F-1.
International Student Advisors: Advisors help you choose the degree plan, recommend classes, assist you with applying to universities, and monitor your academic progress. In addition, International Student Advisors monitor your immigration status and approve/deny your F-1 visa related requests (e.g., a vacation term) throughout your stay at BC.
Three Systems & Multi-Factor Authenticator (MFA)
International Student Portal (ISP) – It manages all BC international students’ records. You use it to apply to BC, complete the “New Student Check-In” record, and submit requests to your IE advisors throughout your stay at BC. Only international students use it at BC.
Login and password:
- Use your personal email and password until your BC NetID is activated.
- Use your BC email and password after your BC NetID is activated.
ctcLink: It is an online student record management tool used by all 34 two-year colleges in Washington State. All BC students use it to sign up for classes, pay tuition and fees, check grades, and more.
ctcLink login & Password:
Type in your ctcLink ID number and set up a password.
Canvas: It is an online learning platform. Nearly all BC students and teachers use it to communicate, submit homework, take quizzes, exams, and more. You will use Canvas to take the ESL placement testing.
Canvas Login & Password: Use your BC email and password (i.e., NetID)
Starting from Nov. 15, ’23, new students are required to set up Multi-Factor Authenticator (MFA) to confirm their identity every time they access BC NetID and ctcLink systems.
How to set-up MFA for BC NetID. A quick video on why Bellevue College uses MFA.
- Have your laptop and mobile phone ready.
- Watch this short Microsoft 365 how to set up MFA video.
- Every time you login to your NetID, you will receive a number on your phone to enter the number on your NetID login screen.
How to set up MFA for ctcLInk
- Read the Okta – Multi-Factor Authentication and follow the instructions.
For more info, read the Knowledge Base article on MFA for NetID and ctcLink
Trouble shooting MFA common problems
Student Visa Basics
- Passport: Issued by your home government. Always keep it valid.
- Student (F-1) Visa: Issued by the U.S. embassy or consulate. Visa may be valid for anywhere from 1 month to 5 years. You must have a valid passport, F-1 visa, and BC’s I-20 to enter the U.S.
- I-20 form: Issued by BC International Admissions upon acceptance. BC’s I-20 is normally issued for 2 to 2.5 years. You must get I-20 from BC before you can apply for an F-1 visa.
Important: Do not use ESTA (visa waiver) and B1/B2 (tourist) visa to enter the USA if you plan to become a full-time student in the USA.
Basic F-1 visa rules:
- Maintaining Status: After you enter the U.S. on an F-1 visa with BC’s I-20, you must follow ALL these rules:
- 1) Attend the school for which your I-20 was issued.
- 2) Complete a full course of status every term.
- 3) Make a normal progress.
- 4) Work (Ex: CPT and OPT) only with IE advisor’s approval.
- 5) Keep all immigration documents valid.
- 6) Follow the federal, state, and local rules.
- 7) Report your address update to IE advisor within 10-days.
Apply for F-1 (student) visa
Student visas are issued by US Embassies and Consulates located outside the United States.
- Find a US Embassy or Consulate near you
- Go to this website: http://www.usembassy.gov/
- Click on your area of the world.
- Click on your country.
- Click on Visas.
- Follow the instructions to sign up for a visa appointment.
- You must contact your local U.S. Embassy or Consulate for the required documents for your visa interview.
- For more information about F-1 visas, please see this website: http://studyinthestates.dhs.gov/students
Visa interview: A visa officer will interview you briefly to decide if you are qualified to receive a visa. Prepare yourself to be able to give concise answers in English.
Check the estimated wait time for a nonimmigrant visa (e.g., F-1) interview appointment at a U.S. embassy/consulate.
Click here to view useful tips. on how to prepare for your F-1 Visa interview
Important: All accepted international students need to apply and secure their own housing BEFORE arriving in Bellevue. BC International Education (IE) does not arrange housing for you. Go to IE’s Housing site to learn more about three housing options:
Bellevue College offers comfortable living quarters for up to 400 students, with a range of suites and apartments to choose from. All units come with a full kitchen and a bathroom. There is a café located on the first floor, but there is no cafeteria inside the building as this is an apartment style housing.
Rooms fill up quickly, so apply for housing as soon as you are admitted to BC and created your NetID. We suggest you remain flexible with room types to increase your chance of receiving a room offer.
If you are interested in living with a host family, choose one of the homestay companies and submit the homestay application form and fee to the company directly. Finding a suitable homestay often takes a long time, we recommend you contact the homestay company about 2-3 months before your expected arrival date.
- USA International, Inc.
9614 NE 201st Street – Bothell, WA 98011 – U.S.A.
Main Contact: Ms. Emi Khosraw
Tel: 425-483-5974 * Fax: 425-485-1891
- Intercultural Homestays & Services, Inc.
P.O. Box 27184 – Seattle, WA 98165-1584 – U.S.A.
Main Contact: Ms. Eileen Beaupre
Tel: 206-367-5332 * Fax: 206-367-5320
There are several apartments near the campus within walking distance of the college or a short bus ride away. Tenants must be at least 18 years old and may need to provide employment history and/or credit history reports to be able to sign the lease agreement. Most apartments are unfurnished, and monthly rent does not include the utilities, water and sewage, garbage, and internet service. The average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Bellevue is $2,577.
Start online research before you arrive in Bellevue and visit several places after you arrive in Bellevue. You may need to stay in a hotel at your expense until you secure an apartment space.
Read the lease agreement carefully before you sign. Many lease agreements are for six months or one year. In addition, you may need to pay a cleaning and damage deposit and first and last month rent at the time of move-in.
Some apartment search sites:
Mandatory Enrollment in BC-Foundation Arranged Accident and Sickness Medical Benefit Plan: As a condition of participating in the international student program, F-1 visa holders on BC’s I-20 are required to join the BC-Foundation arranged accident and sickness medical benefit plan every quarter. Read more at IE’s insurance site.
See the 2023-2024 Student Accident & Sickness Medical Benefit Plan for International Students Booklet for more details.
Dental & Vision Check-Up: BC-Foundation arranged accident and injury insurance plan does NOT cover dental and vision. Fix all dental and vision problems before arriving in Bellevue. Bring an extra pair of glasses and/or contact lens with you.
Payment due dates: Your quarterly tuition and fees must be paid in full by the established due dates, which is normally about a month before the quarter beginning date. All your classes may be dropped for non-payment if you miss your deadline.
Arrange a credit card and some cash: BC accepts VISA and MasterCard. Having a VISA or MasterCard is not only convenient but also safer than carrying cash. If you can get a VISA or MasterCard from your home country, bring one with you.
Cash/US currency: How much cash to bring differs based on each individual. A recommended amount is about $300 to $500 in smaller bills like $1, $5, $10 or $20. Exchange money in your home country or at the airport before arriving in Bellevue.
Open a bank account in the U.S.: If you plan to stay in the U.S. to earn a degree, having a bank account in the U.S. may be convenient and secure to handle your money. Banks will ask you for a social security number, and most international students do not have it. Most banks will accept two government issued identification (e.g., passport and F-1 visa) and a major credit card (e.g., VISA) to open an account. You may also get a debit card from your bank.
Bank wire to BC: IE staff can help you with a bank wire payment directly to BC’s bank. Banks charge fees, but wire payment is one of the most secure way to pay a large amount to BC, especially if you need to pay tuition, fees, and housing altogether. Note: BC accepts international bank wire payments for your educational expenses only. Money BC receives from overseas must be used for your educational expenses at BC only.
Cellular Phones: The four most popular cell phone companies are Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile. All these companies offer a variety of services at a different price range.
Two ways to get your cell phone working in the U.S are: 1) a prepaid plan, or 2) a contract plan with a cell phone service provider. The pre-paid plans are convenient, offer the same services and the network and do not require a social security number (SSN). Contract plans require a two-year commitment and require a SSN for a credit check.
Laptop, earphone/earbuds: A light-weight laptop (or a tablet) and earphones (or earbuds) are must-have items for a college student in the USA. At BC, you will learn to use Canvas, an online learning platform for nearly all your classes you take at BC. Your instructors may require you to submit your homework, post comments on the discussion boards, and take quizzes and exams via Canvas.
BC’s eLearning department provides free Canvas training during the first week of the quarter either via online or in-person. Be sure to sign up if you have never used Canvas before.
Health items: If you wear glasses or contact lens, bring an extra pair. BC Foundation arranged medical insurance plan does not cover vision (and dental).
Carry-on items on your way to the U.S.: Pack your valid passport, F-1 visa, BC’s I-20 in your carry-on bag, not in your checked luggage.
We recommend you keep important contact information both in your cellphone and in your notebook. Write down BC IE’s contact information in your notebook.
Arriving in Bellevue, WA
Air Travels: Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) is the nearest airport to the Bellevue College’s main campus.
Ground Transportation from the SeaTac airport to BC’s main campus: Distance between the Sea-Tac airport and BC’s main campus is 27 km (or 18.6 miles), and typical driving time is 25-minutes. There are a few methods to get to the BC’s main campus:
Door-to-door shuttle van services (recommended): Go to the Ground Transportation floor (3rd floor of the garage) of the Sea-Tac airport to find the Door-to-Door shared van ride desk. A one-way shared-van ride ticket from the airport to BC’s main campus is about $55.00 USD (plus a tip). https://www.portseattle.org/sea-tac/ground-transportation/doortodoor
App Based Rideshares (e.g., Uber or Lyft): If you already have an account with Uber or Lyft, go to the Ground Transportation floor (3rd floor of the garage) to catch your ride. https://www.portseattle.org/sea-tac/ground-transportation/app-based-rideshare
Taxis: Go to the Ground Transportation floor (3rd floor of the garage) to catch a taxi.
A typical one-way ride may be anywhere between $45 to $60 USD (and a tip). https://www.portseattle.org/sea-tac/ground-transportation/taxis
Public Transportation: Use Google Maps to identify the Link Light Rail and/or buses to get to BC’s main campus. Typical travel time is about 1.5 hours. Using public transportation may be more challenging if you have large and heavy luggage.
BC’s physical address: 3000 Landerholm Cr. S.E., Bellevue, WA 98007 USA
BC’s on-campus housing: 3000 Landerholm Cr. S.E. Building H, Bellevue, WA 98007
How to get your State Drivers License, Identification Card, and Social Security Number
Getting a Washington State Driver’s License as an experienced driver: If you are an experienced driver in your home country or in other state within the U.S., submit the online Department of Licensing request via International Student Portal and wait until your IE advisor registers you into the SEVIS immigration system, which normally happens from around 3rd week of the quarter. You must bring required documents in a sealed envelope to DMV to be able to apply for a driver’s license.
Getting a Washington State Driver’s License as a brand-new driver: If you have never driven a car before in your home country or in other state within the U.S., we recommend you wait until you become more familiar with the local geography and improve your English communication skills. You may benefit from joining a reputable driving school program at your own expense to learn basic WA driving rules and gain practical driving lessons with a professional instructor.
Washington State Identification Card: This is a good government issued ID to carry with you instead of your passport. First, submit the online Department of Licensing request via International Student Portal for your IE advisor to prepare the required documents. Second, bring the required documents in a sealed envelope to the Department of Licensing.
- Process for a new F-1 visa student may take up to 15-20 business days, because your IE advisor needs to register you into SEVIS immigration system to activate your SEVIS status. To do, you must first complete the online new student check-in by updating a complete physical address in the U.S. and must be enrolled in full-time in your first term.
- Washington State requires all motor vehicle drivers to carry at least liability auto coverage and have proof of insurance at all times.
- BC requires all students and employees to purchase valid parking permit to be able to park on-campus throughout the year, 24/7.
Obtaining a Social Security Number: Generally, F-1 visa students are ineligible to apply for a social security number at least until they find an on-campus job. Complete the “On-campus employment” form signed by you, your hiring manager to your IE advisor to prepare required documents for you to apply for a Social Security Number at the Social Security Administration.
BC NetID (Student email address): Find your 9-digit BC student ID number (aka ctcLink ID number) on your acceptance letter. Create your BC NetID (student email) and wait for about 24-hours.
- Write down or take a screenshot of the login and password and keep them securely.
- Start using your BC email to communicate with us.
- BC requires all students and employees to set up Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) for NetID and ctcLink.
- After your NetID is activated, use your BC email and password to login as the “current student login” to your International Student Portal (ISP).
Activate ctcLink account: Follow the “how to activate” instructions to activate your ctcLink account. Note: Remember your answer to your security question.
Next, follow the “Update Biographic Information” instructions to update your biographic information.
BC requires all students and employees to set up Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) for NetID and ctcLink.
Online Placement Testing & Prerequisite Clearance
Online Placement Testing for the Intensive English program: BC’s Intensive English program has five levels (level 5 = highest). You need to take the online ESL placement test via Canvas to get your placement level.
Step 1: Activate your BC NetID and check your BC email daily.
Step 2: IE will send you an invitation to your BC email to take the online ESL placement testing. Check your inbox, clutters, and junk folders.
Step 3: Take the test and email the IE staff know that you are done.
Step 4: Enroll in the ESL classes.
Step 5: Pay your tuition and fees via ctcLink.
IE recommends accepted Intensive English students complete the online ESL placement testing, enrollment, and payment before they arrive in Bellevue, WA.
Online Writeplacer Testing for the Bridge Pathway program: Accepted Bridge Pathway students need to take the Writeplacer (WP) exam online or on-campus at the BC Testing Center. The WP exam determines if you need to take the ELIUP 96 (3cr) class. After you take the WP exam, wait for about 2-3 business days for the result. Students who choose not to take the WP exam must keep the ELIUP 96.
College-Level English and Math Placement Testing: Nearly all accepted college-level students need to take the English and Math placement testing administered by the BC Testing Center before (or during) their first term at BC. Use your BC NetID to sign up for the placement testing.
English placement testing: You may already have the English placement if you have met below external exam scores.
|Internet-based TOEFL (IBT)
|IBT 61-64 with 13-14 on writing
|IBT 65+ with 16+ on writing
|Overall 6.0 with
5.5 on writing
|Overall 6.0 with
6.0 on writing
|Duolingo English Test (DET)*
|Overall 95 with 75 on production
|Overall 95 with 85 on production
Math placement testing: Nearly all accepted college-level students need to take the math placement testing at BC.
International Education (IE) recommends you finish the placement testing as soon as you activate your NetID before arriving in Bellevue, WA.
Prerequisite clearance Process: Some college classes require prerequisites before you can enroll in classes. Returning, transfer, or concurrent students who have already satisfied the prerequisite(s) must submit the transcript to the Prerequisite clearance process to waive the requirements. This process may take 3-5 business days so plan accordingly.
Nearly all international applicants submit transcript(s) as part of international admission requirements to BC. Upon acceptance, you need to initiate the prerequisite clearance process if you plan to take a class with enforced prerequisites. This process may take 3-5 business days, so plan ahead.
Transfer credits to BC: If you have attended a college or university in the U.S. or in your home country, please follow the instructions on “How to Transfer Credits to BC”. This process may take up to 8-10 weeks.
Your International Student Advisor: All BC’s international students have an assigned international student advisor. Find your advisor at IE Advising team members. All IE advisors are located in room U-202 on BC’s main campus.
The online appointment booking shows the next two-week’s availabilities only. First, select the service at the top and choose a date and time.
Two Types of Associate Degrees; BC awards two different types of associate’s degree based on your educational and career goals.
1) Transfer Associate Degrees: If you wish to transfer to a four-year university after graduating from BC, you’d follow one of the nine transfer associate’s degrees from below. Transfer associate’s degree covers a wide range of general education subjects such as English, math, humanities, social sciences, natural sciences and electives. It requires a minimum of 90 credits and a cumulative grade point average of 2.0.
2) Professional and Technical (prof/tech) Associate Degrees: If you are interested in gaining practical skills more closely related to your field of career interest, BC offers a broad selection of professional/technical associate degree. Generally, prof/tech associate degrees do not transfer to traditional four-year university in the US; however, student may apply to BC’s applied bachelor’s degree in the similar field. See the complete list of BC’s professional and technical associate degree and certificate programs.
BC’s Applied Bachelor’s Degrees: BC is accredited to award 13 bachelor’s degrees in specialized fields to F-1 visa students. Nearly all BC’s bachelor’s programs have their own admission requirements, deadlines, and admission is competitive. See the complete list of BC’s bachelor’s degrees.
- Not all BC’s bachelor’s programs meet the F-1 visa requirements, because they are 100% online. Consult with both bachelor’s program manager and your IE advisor before choosing your program.
- Nearly all international students need to start from the associate’s level before they are eligible to apply to BC’s bachelor’s program directly.
Class search and enrollment: Now that you have met with your IE advisor to discuss your education plan, chose which associate’s degree and have your English and math placement test results, you should proceed with class enrollment via ctcLink.
Step 1: Login to your ctcLink
Step 2: Follow the “how to search classes” instruction to find classes
Step 3: Follow the “how to enroll” instructions to enroll in classes
Permission code: Most classes do not require a permission code, and you can bypass the “permission code” to enroll. However, you may need to contact the instructor to get a code when the class has enforced prerequisite(s), requires the department/instructor’s consent, or you are asking to add the class late up to the 5th day of the quarter except in summer.
Remember, you should submit the online cleared prerequisites request as soon as you are admitted, especially if you plan to take courses that have enforced prerequisites.
Waitlist: Many classes get full quickly. You may need to find a different class or add yourself to the waitlist. You may have one waitlisted class per quarter.
- Enroll in at least 12 credits excluding the waitlisted class and pay the tuition and fees in full. In case you do not get into the waitlisted class, you have met the minimum credit requirement as an F-1 student.
- Pay attention to the quarterly enrollment deadlines and know when waitlist stops running every quarter.
- Monitor your waitlist status by checking your ctcLink and emails frequently. Pay the additional tuition and fees immediately if you get into the class.
- Nearly all classes require Instructor permission from the 4th and 5th of the quarter (except summer) even if seats are still available.
- Not all instructors approve late enrollment and/or overloading the course. If they do not respond, it normally means “no”.
- Always register for classes on your enrollment appointment date/time. Pay tuition and fees in full to secure seats even if you are still adding classes.
Tuition and Fee Payment
Quarterly Tuition Due Dates: Your classes are not secured until you pay your tuition and fees in full every quarter. Know the quarterly payment due date to avoid your classes to be dropped for non-payment.
Payment Methods: There are a few payment methods at BC.
1) Online payment via ctcLink: Follow the “how to pay” instructions to pay your tuition and fees in full using a VISA or MasterCard. You must use the ctcLink “Full Site” when you make an online payment first time.
2) Go to the Student Financial Services (SFS) office in the U-bldg. to pay in-person. You may use a VISA or MasterCard, personal check or cash to make a payment in-person during the SFS’s office hours.
3) Bank wire payment to BC: Contact your IE advisor for an invoice with BC’s banking information. A typical international bank wire takes about 3-5 business days and the sender (i.e., you) are responsible for all banking fees.
- Money BC receives via international wire must be used for educational expenses at BC only. Leftover will be kept on the student’s account for future tuition.
BC’s international students may join the STEPP pre-payment plan through the Student Financial Services (SFS) office with a non-refundable fee. International students cannot use the Nelnet installment payment plan.
Contact us at email@example.com if you need a short payment extension.
New International Student Orientation (NSO): IE office will send several announcements about the new student orientation to your BC and/or personal emails. Plan your arrival in Bellevue accordingly. Important information such as F-1 visa rules, academic and enrollment rules, insurance, and more will be covered.
See the scheduled new student orientation date for your accepted term.
Complete online new student check-in record via International Student Portal (ISP): Use your BC email to login to your ISP to complete the new student check-in records. You will need to upload your latest I-94, F-1 visa, signed I-20 and your local contact information including your local emergency contact.
Academic Advisor vs. International Student Advisor: You will have an International Student Advisor after you are admitted to BC. (See section 3a)
Your International Student Advisor guides you with ongoing academic advising and F-1 regulations to help you achieve your goals at BC. Work closely with your advisor throughout your stay at BC.
BC’s Academic Advising office has advisors who specialize in certain academic fields (e.g., STEM). Academic advisors advise all BC’s students so you may need to wait for weeks to get an appointment. IE recommends you work with both IE and academic advisor, especially if you are interested in the STEM and health science fields.
Education Plan: In addition to the degree plan sheet (see 3b above), make a follow-up appointment with your IE advisor to develop and modify your education plan throughout your stay at BC.
Last Updated December 18, 2023