Arrival and Orientation


Congratulations on your acceptance to the Silicon Valley Intensive English Program! To make your transition to the United States as smooth as possible, please review the important steps outlined on this page.  

Calvin's Success Story: From SVIEP to BUSINESS MAJOR at College of San Mateo

Calvin"I had valuable experiences during the SVIEP program. All my professors and the coordinator are amazing and helpful to students. They are happy to help students in any circumstances to achieve their goals. In my personal experience, taking the SVIEP program before applying to college or university is very essential to improve your confidence and they [SVIEP] will motivate students and push you to develop strong communication skills. If you want to prepare your English skills before applying to university and college, this is the right place for you!” 

Calvin (Sai Saing Lai)

Admissions Packet

Congratulations on being accepted to the Silicon Valley Intensive English Program (SVIEP). Prior to attending SVIEP, you will receive an admission packet that includes:

  • Your acceptance letter (also includes information about your placement test, orientation, housing, and more)
  • Information about your major
  • I-20 for your F-1 student visa
sviep students in class   sviep students in class

Next Steps for Admitted Students

  1. Apply for a Student Visa (F-1):  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.  A SEVIS fee is required by the U.S. Government and is payable to the Department of Homeland Security. It is currently set at $350 and can be paid online with a credit card, by mail, or at a U.S. consulate by filing the Form I-901. In general, the SEVIS fee is a one-time payment that applies to students and exchange visitors who wish to begin an “initial” program of study or research. The fee must be paid before a visa will be issued. For more detailed information and payment instructions, please refer to the SEVIS website (

  2. Make Travel Arrangements: The closest airports to Silicon Valley Intensive English Program are San Francisco (SFO), Oakland (OAK), and San Jose (SJC). In general, we encourage newly admitted students to arrive in the Bay Area 4 to 5 days before the assessment date written on the acceptance letter. Students who intend to secure their own housing should plan to arrive at least two weeks prior in order to arrange their housing accommodations.

  3. Make Housing Arrangements: Like most Community College-based Intensive English Programs, SVIEP does not have on-campus dormitories and does not directly arrange housing for students. However, SVIEP does provide information regarding private and independently-owned housing options and recommends that students stay in homestays. Please see our housing page for more information:

    1. Homestay: Refer to your homestay packet for instructions.
    2. Renting an apartment: Please plan on securing temporary housing (hotel, motel, youth hostels, etc.) and your transportation from the airport before you arrive at Cañada College. If you haven't secured permanent housing after arriving at Cañada College, please visit the SVIEP office to review a listing of available apartments, roommates wanted, and rooms for rent.

  4. Check-In at SVIEP: 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 previous I-20s. Students also must provide the SVIEP office with current contact information and emergency contacts. Please remember that SVIEP is closed on the weekends (Saturday and Sunday).

  5. Assessment Testing: SVIEP uses the Cambridge Michigan Language Assessments (CaMLA) English Placement Test to assess how well you can understand written and spoken English. You can prepare for the CaMLA test by taking a sample test.

  6. Mandatory Orientation: 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.

  7. Pay Tuition and Purchase Health Insurance: Please view the Required Fees and Payment Options on the Dates and Fees webpage.

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