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Arrival and Orientation

Congratulations on your admission to Silicon Valley Intensive English Program! Prior to attending SVIEP, you will receive an admission packet that includes:

  • Your acceptance letter
  • Sample English assessment test
  • Short-term Hotels/Housing and airport transportation information
  • Conditional transfer admission guarantee letter (if you were a Conditional Admission applicant)
  • Orientation information
  • I-20 for your F-1 student visa*
  • Departure checklist

Remember, your application and all admission requirements must be complete and submitted before an admission decision will be made.

*Transfer students who are not traveling outside the U.S. will receive their I-20 after they complete the required new student seminar. Transfer students who are traveling outside the U.S. will be required to upload proof of travel to their application to receive their I-20 mailed with their admissions packet.

Admitted students must complete the following steps:

Apply for a Student Visa (F-1) with the I-20 form that you received in your admission packet.

Schedule a visa interview at the nearest United States Embassy/Consulate.

Please view the Required Fees and Payment Options on the Dates and Fees webpage.

SVIEP does not offer on-campus housing. Listed below are some private and independently-owned housing options for international students to consider:

  1. Short-term Temporary Housing

    Cañada College is located 15 minutes from downtown Redwood City and is accessible by SamTrans Bus #274. View a listing of hotels located in downtown Redwood City  .

    Skyline College is located 25 minutes from downtown San Bruno BART or the Tanforan Shopping Center. You may take SamTrans Bus #140 from the San Bruno BART station to Skyline College. View a listing of hotels located near San Bruno BART  .

  2. Homestay

    Host homes are located within a reasonable distance to the student's school, typically within a 5-mile radius. Hosts are a variety of families and come from a variety of ethnic backgrounds that matches the interest and needs of international students.

    Please contact SVIEP for homestay options.

  3. Housing Board

    The Cañada College Housing Board allows students and community members to list available rooms for rent or students seeking roommates. Other housing resources can also be found on the Housing Board that is located next to the Center for Student Life & Leadership Development in Building 5, Room 354. View the Housing Board website and request to add a listing

  4. Other Resources
    • Universal Student Housing: a homestay provider for colleges and universities in California.
    • has a list of housing available in the Bay Area with detailed neighborhood information
    • SFGate lists housing in the San Francisco Bay Area.
    • San Mateo County Times focuses primarily on San Mateo County and is a good source for housing on the Peninsula.
    • CORT provides furniture rental packages and housing information for students living off-campus. Most apartments in the U.S. are not furnished. CORT offers furniture rental, with additional packages for cookware, towels and linens, a TV, and more.

New students should plan to arrange for their housing prior to arrival. New students should plan to arrive at least two weeks before registration. Early arrival is necessary to provide adequate time to adjust and become familiar with the area.

The closest airports to Silicon Valley Intensive English Program are San Francisco (SFO), Oakland (OAK), and San Jose (SJC).

Transfer students who are not traveling outside the US will receive their I-20 after they complete the mandatory orientation. Transfer students who are traveling outside the US will be required to upload proof of travel to their application to receive their I-20 mailed with their admissions packet.

In general, we encourage newly admitted students to arrive in the Bay Area at least one month prior to the beginning of the semester or session they have been admitted to. For the students admitted to our Intensive English Program we encourage students to arrive at least two weeks prior in order to arrange their housing accommodations. The SVIEP will present a special orientation seminar scheduled for the first day of classes of each session.

You will need to arrive in the US prior to your orientation date in order to provide your housing information.

We recommend that you plan ahead before your arrival at Cañada College/Skyline College. Securing housing can take time. Please plan on securing temporary housing (hotel, motel, youth hostels, etc.) and your transportation from the airport before you arrive at Cañada College/Skyline College. Remember, SVIEP is closed on the weekends (Saturday and Sunday).

If you haven't secured permanent housing after arriving at Cañada College/Skyline College, please visit the SVIEP office to review a listing of available apartments, roommates wanted, and rooms for rent.

Upon arrival at SVIEP, new students need to report to the SVIEP Office for Check-In. Students who have attended a US institution as a F-1 student must bring copies of all pervious I-20s. Students also must provide the SVIEP office with current contact information and emergency contacts. Students who do not arrive in time for their orientation program may be required to return to your home country and be deferred to the following session at Silicon Valley Intensive English Program.

All students accepted into the Silicon Valley Intensive English Program (SVIEP) must participate in a Mandatory Orientation prior to the start of classes.

At the Orientation you will receive more in-depth information about campus resources and the academic program. You will also meet the staff members who will assist you in becoming a successful student at SVIEP.

SVIEP uses the Cambridge Michigan Language Assessments (CaLMA) English Placement Test to assess how well you can understand written and spoken English.

You can prepare for the CaLMA test by taking a sample test.