When you receive the I-20 you should take the following actions:

1. Pay the SEVIS Fee *

  • You will need your SEVIS ID number our school code to pay the fee. Both can be found on your I-20.

2. Read the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement FAQ for F and J Students

3. Contact a U.S. Embassy or Consulate to apply your student visa. Individuals from countries that are visa exempt (Canada, Mexico and some of the adjacent islands) do not need a visa but they still need to pay the SEVIS fee.

4. Plan to arrive no more than 30 days prior to the start of your program or you may be turned away at the border. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security excludes students from entering the country more than 30 days prior to the start date listed on item #5 of your I-20.

5. Read about the U.S. VISIT program.

6. Read about Arrival and Maintaining Status in the US

7. Make sure you have housing from your first night in the U.S.

8. If you have on-campus housing, you must confirm the move in date. You will have to make alternative arrangements if you plan on arriving before you can move into the dorms.

9. If you still need off campus housing, you can check with the Office of Off Campus Living

10. Have a medical and dental check up. Health care is expensive in the U.S. Many U.S. policies do not cover dental check ups

11. Have your immigration documents readily accessible so that you have them in hand when you arrive in the US as you need to present them at customs when you arrive. This includes your passport, I-20/DS-2019, financial documentation, and SEVIS payment receipt.

12. All incoming international students and scholars must attend the mandatory orientation.

*You must pay the SEVIS fee if:

  • you are a first-time applicant for an F-1 or J-1 visa
  • you have been out of status or out of the U. S. for more than 5 months
  • you are applying for a different entry visa. For example, you were in the U.S. in J status and are applying for F-1 entry visa.