International Student Exchange
Harbor Light Christian School is pleased to have you consider us as you pursue your high school education. We have welcomed international students in the past, and both the school and the students have greatly profited from their experience here. We hope that your experience in Northern Michigan at Harbor Light is a great experience for you.
Harbor Light Christian School is recognized by the Student Exchange and Visitor Program (SEVP) as a Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) approved school with the ability to issue I-20 Forms. An I-20 Form from Harbor Light will allow you to obtain a United States F-type student visa. Harbor Light is able to accept international students who are proficient in English in grades 9-12. Harbor Light Christian School is listed on the SEVIS website.
We can help you to continue or start your education in the United States. Our Administrator and Counselor are ready to talk with you when you decide if Harbor Light Christian is the best place for you. They will discuss with you the academic, spiritual, financial, and conduct requirements and determine acceptance to our school. Once the proper paperwork is filled out and returned to our school office, it will be reviewed and then an I-20 will be issued. This process can take several weeks, so please plan ahead and make contact as soon as you decide. Keep in mind that some of your consulate appointments cannot be made until you receive your I-20 number.
For admission, interested students should follow all instructions for admission to HLCS. See the downloads and forms available on our website under the “About HLCS” menu.
In addition please supply us with:
- Copy of current visa (if they have one)
- Copy of Passport (if they have one)
- Teacher Letter of Recommendation including English proficiency or TOEFL results
- Proof of Academic Eligibility: Academic requirements considered for acceptance are:
- Minimum US equivalent of a 3.0 high school (secondary school) grade point average (GPA).
- Official high school (secondary school) and/or university transcripts must be sent directly from the school or institution. Original documents must be in English.
Send/email or FAX completed application materials to:
Harbor Light Christian School
8333 Clayton Road
Harbor Springs, MI 49740
ALL paperwork is required to be at our office before an I-20 will be issued. Upon review of the required documents, an I-20 will be issued.
Non-Immigrant Visa and SEVIS:
To legally enter the United States as a non-immigrant visitor, most foreign nationals must obtain a visa from the Bureau of Consular Affairs at the U.S. Department of State (DOS). DOS issues different types of visas according to the purpose of the person's visit. SEVIS tracks non-immigrants in three classes of admission (visa types).
Harbor Light Christian School currently issues I-20's for one of these classes, F1 students. We may accept students that have an F2 or J1 visa, even though we do not issue those forms.
A visa allows the foreign national to apply for admission to the United States at a Port of Entry (POE). Customs and Border Protection Officer at the POE will issue Form I-94. The Form I-94 is an extremely important document - it shows that the foreign national entered the United States legally; the class of admission (F, M, J, etc.) and the length of time the foreign national is allowed to remain in the United States.
F-1 non-immigrants are admitted for duration of status (for as long as the non-immigrant student remains enrolled in a SEVIS approved school full-time and otherwise maintains status).
SEVIS is a web-based system for collecting, managing, and reporting information on foreign students, exchange visitors, and their dependents temporarily in the United States in a non-immigrant status. SEVP manages SEVIS and provides policy support and program administration for F and M non-immigrants. The reporting and tracking of these non-immigrants is:
- Mandated by U.S. law
- An important part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) mission
- A way for U.S. authorities to differentiate between individuals who are in the United States for legitimate academic pursuits and those who may not be.
If your application is approved and IF a host family is available:
- You will be put in touch with your host family.
- Harbor Light Christian School will sendletters of acceptance and an I-20 form.
- You must pay the SEVIS I-20/DS-2019 fee through www.fmjfee.com, or see your country's U.S. Consulate or Embassy website. (Be sure to keep the receipt for payment of this fee to take to your interview appointment!)
- Gather all necessary documents to take with you to the interview. Use the following checklist!
- Form I-20 (be sure to sign item #11) or DS-2019 (be sure to sign at the bottom)
- Completed visa applications (DS-156, DS-158, and, if applicable, DS- 157).
- Receipt for visa application fee
- Receipt for SEVIS I-20/DS-2019 Fee
- Two 2"x 2" photographs in the prescribed format
- Valid passport
- Documentary evidence of financial support (such as a sponsor or school scholarship letter)
- F-1 Students: Certified, original bank statement or statement of income
- Admission acceptance letter from Harbor Light Christian School
- Any information that proves that you will return to your home country after finishing your studies in the U.S. This may include proof of property, family, or other ties to your community.
Relax, and get ready for a great interview!
If you are granted your visa, keep all the above documents plus your visa to show when you enter the United States.
When you obtain an F-1 student Visa:
- Purchase International Accident and Health/Medical Insurance. We recommend ACE American Insurance, through ISM Insurance at www.ISMINC.com. Submit proof of insurance to Harbor Light Christian School.
- Prepare to travel to your host family. Make your travel arrangements at least two months in advance. Fly to either Traverse City, Michigan or Pellston, Michigan. Send arrival information (including Airline, flight # and arrival time) to both harbor Light Christian School (231-347-7859) and your host family. You are responsible to update your host family if there is an arrival time change. arrangements will be made to pick you up.
- All foreign exchange students are responsible for all expenses incurred and should arrange to have money for these expenses.
Harbor Light Christian School follows the rules and regulations of the Department of Home Land Security (DHS). With doing so we are required to follow certain guidelines when accepting students and termination of students.
SEVIS record terminations are made when non-immigrant students are:
- No longer participating in a SEVIS-approved program of study
- Does not report change of address within the 10 day requirement
- Potentially out of status
- No longer an F non-immigrant
- Out of the country for more than 5 months and are not enrolled full-time
There are many reasons a student may be terminated. These reasons are not necessarily negative. For example, an F student might need to return home before completing his or her program. The student would no longer need a non-immigrant status so his or her SEVIS record would be terminated, even though the student might continue to study at our school in the future.
Other reasons for termination revolve around a student's failure to meet the requirements of an F-1 non-immigrant status. Some examples of this are:
- Failure to enroll in a full course of study
- Being expelled from the school or program of study
Criteria for expulsion from Harbor Light Christian School are outlined in our Handbook. Expulsion may also occur if the host family determines that the student is not in compliance with the family’s guidelines or if the family has a sudden change in status. The student’s parents will be notified of any problems, and the school will make an effort to find a replacement host family. If this is not possible, or if the student is expelled, the student’s family must incur all expenses for the student’s return home.
Processing Fee: One time $200. This needs to be either a Cashier’s Check or Money Order in U.S. dollars outside of the U.S., if in the U.S., a personal check is accepted. Money may also be wired. Contact us for wiring information.
Living Expenses: The host family fee is $5550/10 months. If a student desires to stay during the summer, this may only be done with the permission of the host family, and additional monthly expenses will apply. The host family fee covers room and board. All additional expenses including clothing, toiletries, recreation, school supplies, cell phone, etc., are the responsibility of the student. If a student begins mid-year, the tuition is pro-rated.
Tuition Fees: Please be advised a semester of tuition is due upon registration. Second semester tuition is due January 5. International Student tuition is $6175/year. If you are going to be in a sport, the Sports Fees are $65 per sport. There will be additional fees for field trips, mission trips, etc.
Each student is placed in a home with one of our school families. The families are screened and approved by the school. Each adult in the household has had a criminal background check for the students’ safety. Students are expected to engage in family life, attend church regularly, follow all local laws and customs, communicate to host families or school staff when problems arise, do family chores, be respectful to host family members, and pay the monthly host family fee.